Précis for an action-oriented theory of language

What is a word, or message, or utterance? It is a move by an agent (~superorganism) undertaken in order to transform the environmental state, in a desired direction, by means of altering another agent’s information state. This transformation may occur directly, if the targeted slice of environment happens to be that agent whose informational state…… Continue reading Précis for an action-oriented theory of language

Detectives & Dramaturgy

1. There are two potential explanations for why Tana French’s “literary thriller” In The Woods portrays human interaction and detective work how it does. The first is that she read Erving Goffman’s microsociology work, internalizing its principles. Alternatively, she trained and worked for over a decade as an actor. Goffman is famous for the dramaturgical…… Continue reading Detectives & Dramaturgy

Language Games: Work, Play, Simulacra

Our speech may not be rational, but it is motivated. When we choose to speak, we speak for reasons.Our perceptions alter our models, alter our decisions, alter our actions. Our actions alter others’ perceptions alter models alter decisions (ad infinitum).Advertising is communication with specific, narrow motivations: envisioned ends which, in conjunction with player perceptions of…… Continue reading Language Games: Work, Play, Simulacra

Girls S2: Lip Service

“How can I be manipulating you if I don’t even know I’m being manipulative?” This, out of Hannah Horvath’s mouth after asking her father for a loan. This is the question of the Girls S2 finale. What does interpersonal manipulation really look like? Can we manipulate in a way that appears to be denying our…… Continue reading Girls S2: Lip Service

Epistemic Strategies pt. 2

There is probably no contrast more striking, in the comparison of the mixed-motive and the pure-conflict (zero-sum) game, than the significance of having one’s own strategy found out and appreciated by the opponent. Hardly anything captures the spirit of the zero-sum game quite so much as the importance of “not being found out” and of…… Continue reading Epistemic Strategies pt. 2

Short-term, long-term in selection games

Natural Hazard prompts in the Pfeilstorch server: “The biggest problem with misrepresenting who you are in dating is that you might succeed.” Generalized: “The biggest reason to not strategically misrepresent yourself in a selection game is that you might succeed.” What properties of a selection game determine if or when this is good advice? Selection…… Continue reading Short-term, long-term in selection games

All Is Well E28: “My hands are tied”

Previously, on communication as manipulation: “Consensual and Non-Consensual Manipulation,” “All Communication is Behavioral Manipulation,” “All Communication is Manipulation,” “Linguistic Fit,” “Is strategic interaction Machiavellian?,” “A Landscape of Communication,” and “ACiM is a Natural Extension of Cybernetic Theory.” Timestamped link to clip under discussion, beginning 16:05 in. Su Mingyu has recently been released from the hospital…… Continue reading All Is Well E28: “My hands are tied”

All Is Well E28: Functional Railroading

Previously, on communication as manipulation: “Consensual and Non-Consensual Manipulation,” “All Communication is Behavioral Manipulation,” “All Communication is Manipulation,” “Linguistic Fit,” “Is strategic interaction Machiavellian?,” “A Landscape of Communication,” and “ACiM is a Natural Extension of Cybernetic Theory.” Timestamped link to clip under discussion, beginning 5:30 in. Shi Tiandong, love interest of protagonist Su Mingyu, is…… Continue reading All Is Well E28: Functional Railroading

Baselines for the would-be strategist

There’s a set of strategy maxims that get passed around Pentagon powerpoints, Greek history textbooks, and business school seminars which can be considered platitudes of the field. I think they probably boil down to about a dozen guidelines—I’ve gotten them down to fifteen here, but think good synthetic work could manage single digits. Don’t tilt…… Continue reading Baselines for the would-be strategist

Response to Simpolism on ACiM

Simpolism has kindly written two posts in response to my own recent barrage—the first, “Is Communication ‘Manipulation’?” investigates his gut reaction to the idea that in communicating, he might manipulate others; the second, “On Behavioral Hermeneutics,” tries to figure out what kind of claim ACiM is. The posts make good points, and introduce a number…… Continue reading Response to Simpolism on ACiM

All Communication is Behavioral Manipulation

I want to establish, from the get-go, the uncontroversial, borderline tautological aspect of what I mean when I say “All communication is manipulation.” As a recap on what I mean by “manipulation,” I define the word as “the alteration of an agent’s behavior.” When we sum up these uncontroversial aspects, I think we’ll find that…… Continue reading All Communication is Behavioral Manipulation

All Communication is Manipulation

All communication is manipulation. Some manipulation is mutually advantageous. Alternatively phrased, the purpose of communication, broadly, is the alteration of others’ actions. Or, Communication is defined by its interest in altering the receiver’s actions. Actions, expressions, and speech that do not attempt to manipulate receivers’ behavior are not, properly considered, communication. It’s clear how this…… Continue reading All Communication is Manipulation