How language is used affects the ways people can perceive and purchase truth. Of course, all people use language to meet their own needs and ends, but sometimes, the way they use language belies malice that attacks truth. Bill Stierle and Tom investigate how language is used as a virus by people in power in a way that attacks truth. If you’re interested in the ways people in power deploy language, then Bill and Tom’s conversation is definitely for you.
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Fighting The Virus Of Language With The Truth
Bill, this virus has taken over, hasn’t it?
It’s not just lives, people’s need for safety and protection, but it’s taken over the president or presidency, hasn’t it?
It has. There’s no distractive, alternative narrative they can focus on because that’s what a crisis does. It’s a crisis that brings you to say, “We need to focus this. We can’t spin-off of this thing.” In a weird way, there’s no way to say, “I’m tired of this company. I’m going to file bankruptcy and let the attorneys take care of it from here on out.” I can’t get out of this and leave and say, “Trump Airlines didn’t work, I’m out. Trump Steaks didn’t work. Trump Vodka didn’t work.” You can’t get out of this because this is the marathon that the government needs to play. With the public servant, they’ve got to stay in it for a long period of time because the government doesn’t run like businesses. Stability is what government is for and you can run elements of it efficiently, but some elements you can’t run efficiently because you’re playing the marathon. You’re not running the sprint. Businesses are run on a quarter by quarter sprint. They do future projections but could any business have planned for a virus? No. A government’s job is to plan for a virus.
Regrettably, this administration did not take that seriously.
They didn’t take it seriously because their mindset was not in it for the marathon. It was in it for the sprint. There have been some that have said, “Donald Trump wasn’t expected to win.” You’re right, he wasn’t. We had the chance to have the person that had the resume to run the marathon. As soon as he says, “I don’t think you have any stamina,” she goes, “Stamina, have you ever sat eleven hours straight on anything? In a meeting with overhearing this, have you ever flown to 57 countries in a year? Have you ever done that?” It’s like, “I have the stamina to think down, but that didn’t stick.”We can’t spin our way out of the threat of the virus. Click To Tweet
One of the challenges with the truth here is that we only have our language to get an established truth. If you don’t want to get the truth, you can use your language as a virus. The virus of language is, “How do I get somebody to feel doubt about truth? The person gets sick, confused, numb, distracted and shut down.” I’m holding my hands up with both of my ears. They start arguing with themselves. You’d put the virus of language in and all of a sudden they feel doubt, skeptical, hesitant, nervous and scared. What does a person do when they’re scared? They shut down. They stop moving into action and that’s a little bit about what we’re experiencing.
It’s interesting that the language is being used as a virus to try to purchase truth. It’s what the president and the administration are doing. He’s doing it because the virus is something he can’t control but he’s trying to though. He’s trying to market his way out of it.
It’s his ultimate challenge.
It occurred to me that some of what he’s been doing, he’s tried to blame the Barack Obama administration for not preparing his administration for the virus. That’s one way that he’s putting out languaging and messages that are trying to purchase the truth saying, “It’s not my fault because the previous administration hadn’t prepared for this and didn’t have a plan.” The facts are not in alignment with it that’s come out. They had a 69-page playbook and they had a whole office to deal with that at The White House, which is in 2017 or 2018, the Donald Trump administration disbanded and disregarded. They ripped the playbook. They were not prepared. The president is trying to say that, “The number of cases you’re hearing in the news, they aren’t that many. The number of deaths, they aren’t that many.”
I feel saddened and disheartened because when a person says a sentence like that, they’re using a strategy of languages, a virus to paralyze, numb and getting the person to shut down, to not participate and not have the level of awareness. It’s a trick that language causes to take place and the trick causes the brain to shut down. Tom, you and I have done this a little bit that the back part of the brain is like an elephant and the front part of the brain is like a little rider on top of the elephant. Do you remember that metaphor? It was probably a long time ago that we did this. It’s worth our time and energy to revisit that. It’s like, “How is the language being used as a virus to shut a person down?”
It is worth revisiting. It did not have to do with the elephant brain maybe.
What winds up happening is that the back part of the brain and the front part of the brain communicate differently. A lot of our language centers generally speaking is a little more on the upper left part of the brain. Whereas our visual and creative parts of the brain light up a little bit more on the upper right stuff. We’ve got this logical, analytical language thing and we’ve got this visionary big picture thing. That’s like the rider, the little man sitting on top of the elephant, and that person has a stick that they tap the elephant a little bit on the right and on the left to get the herd of elephants to move in the same direction. What does the human being do though? If this part of the brain has 400,000 neuro connections per micron up in the front part of the brain, the back part of the brain has 4.3 million. Tom, it’s a 1 to 10 ratio. This gets ten times more evidence or action.
This is where both the emotion on the lower right and the safekeeping part of the brain on the lower left then says, “I’m going to put this in long-term memory that this is not safe. If it’s not safe then I am not going to go there.” Why that slogan one time come up is that you have the memory of an elephant. The elephant’s brain is remembering and putting an assigning emotion to it so it doesn’t move. What winds up happening is that the rider part of the brain works with these short, clear messages and it makes a specific ride and it needs direction and meaning.
A lot of the press conferences that we’re going through are people trying to tap the message right or left and then Donald Trump goes, “Why are you tapping the message that way? What you should be doing as reporters is helping me sell the message that I want to sell. We don’t want you to look at the truth of the danger. Your reporter’s job is to sell my message,” from his perspective. “Why don’t you tell a positive story? Why are you telling the negative story?” We’re asking questions to find out about the truth, whether it’s negative or positive is not much what we’re looking at. We’re not looking at that, we’re looking for factual accuracy, “When did you do this? How did this work? How did this thing take place?”
He’s going like, “You’re trying to get the herd of elephants that I’m trying to move in this direction to pay attention? I don’t want them to pay attention. I want them to keep marching to reopen the country. I want them to keep marching to like me and to buy things from me because that’s what I do as a person that markets and sells. I am only going to promote how great this thing is. Meanwhile, I am not going to look at how much money I’m losing. I am not going to look at the long-term cost. All I’m interested in is the short-term benefit that I’m going to get.”
In our narrative, we’ve got many people’s elephants sitting down. Tom, you might even have conversations with people that say, “Donald Trump is going to win again.” Why is he going to win again? He has done a great job of getting his herd to march in the same direction and then have a media instrument also walk in the same direction. Here’s what we’re doing and we’re taking cues. We’re all walking in the same direction because we are hijacking people’s elephant brain to follow us. We don’t want them to think gray. We want them to think black and white. That’s how you trick the elephant. Go in this one direction, “Nope, there’s a danger over here. Nope, I want you to look at this other thing, not at this dangerous thing.”
The dangerous thing is a virus that there’s no way that there is an ability to control or contain. They’re trying to shape the path not by creating meaningful changes or dealing with challenges in a meaningful way. I want us to firefight our way as the building is burning. We can get out of the building and go like, “So what if we filed bankruptcy? So what if our international respect is damaged? I got out okay. I fulfilled the term. I wasn’t reported accurately. I fulfilled my vision. I’ve got a lot of great things done. Look at all the judges I did.” All of a sudden, he gets to put the promotion hat back on. There’s ‘the conscious mind is the rider, the subconscious mind is the elephant’ that’s responding to emotions and safety, habit and imprinting, and the environment that we’re in shaping the path of the environment. Tom, we don’t have a clear path to reopen.Language is being used as a virus to get people to shut down. Click To Tweet
There’s a lot of uncertainty. What occurs to me though is that the elephant is being distracted from reality and facts to serve the rider. It occurs to me and what we’re seeing here is the president is continuing to try to distract from the facts to say, “I couldn’t have done a better job. It’s not my fault. It’s Barack Obama’s fault. There aren’t as many deaths. The media is reporting that wrong. Don’t pay attention to that. We’ve been doing a great job. Nobody could have done a better job.” It seems that it’s all about him and not about the people and their need for safety, security, economic security, health security and the whole thing.
I’m going to pick my identity narrative over truth, protection, safety and the ability to protect you. “People die all the time,” one person posted. I’m going like, “Not if it’s your person, not if it’s your mom or your dad.” Once they’re gone, they’re gone. In my case, my uncle. It’s like, “My uncle’s in a nursing home. He gets covered and he dies.” That’s not a good narrative for him. Unless somebody personally experiences it, then it’s not true or it’s true. It’s like, “No. You don’t have to do that.” You can extend trust, which most Americans are doing going like, “I might not have been affected by it, but I don’t want to be affected by it so I’m wearing a mask and I’m changing my work life.” That’s what people are doing. “I’m changing my behavior. I am staying home and helping my kids out more because what else am I going to do?” They’re doing that.
Truly, America is being changed in profound ways. I don’t know if you saw this, but it was reported in the news that the CEO of Twitter has announced that the vast majority of their workers can work from home forever saying, “They never have to come back into the office unless they’re a specific job that needs an office.” They’re not going to need as big an office anymore. Things are changing here significantly.
Commercial real estate, what’s that going to look like? Restaurants, what are those are going to look like? Our choices on where we’re going to spend our time and energy, all those things are starting to change. Do you travel beyond 10, 5-mile radius? What does that do to the car industry? What does that do to the fuel industry? The fuel industry, they’re sucking eggs. Why? No one’s driving and using their product.
No one’s flying.
Somebody had a report, one of his friends lives in India. They’re seeing clear skies again. They’re going like, “We like clear skies. We want more of those clear skies.”
I’m surprised we haven’t heard Donald Trump say, “You have me to thank for a cleaner environment now.” Maybe he’s trying to put a positive languaging on that.
That would be the best question that a reporter could ask him, “I want to let you know that I felt grateful for Mr. President because one of the things that I’ve been concerned about and I feel grateful for all the success that you’ve made in changing the environment. It’s done great that we’re not driving because we can breathe cleaner and I appreciate that.” It’s meeting the need for acknowledgment, which is a piece of bait in the water that he can take. Would he take it? Absolutely, he would take it. He’s going to backtrack and he’s going to go like, “Yeah, I said that but we don’t want to do it at an expense for the fossil industry.” All of sudden, he is going to like, “Yeah, we do. That’s okay.”
He would get calls from the CEO of ExxonMobil.
“What are you doing?” All of a sudden, he becomes more of a liability to them. He can’t handle it. He cannot handle praise and acknowledgment for things we don’t want him to say or do. The media is still missing that because they’re still trying to beat him up on truth. You can’t beat the guy up on truth because that’s not what marketing and salespeople do. They’re used to hearing noes. They’re tempered about having rejection. He is not interested in rejection. All he’s interested in is getting the sale. It’s a different way to think about it and that’s how truth gets purchased.
We are in a new place of rewriting our nation and rewriting our narrative about what the new normal is going to look like. As individuals and as a nation, we’ve got to go, “We are a world economy. We are a collaborative species when we want to be.” While we are looking at the values of going like, “Do I need to work overtime to buy stuff that I’m not going to use because I’m only staying in a 5-mile radius anyways? No, I don’t have to work that hard.” What are the vacations going to look like? This is the scariest thing I’m going to say, Tom. Donald Trump is a significant wound in capitalism. The thing that he’s promoting has got stab wounds in it. He’s bleeding.
This is the one situation that he hasn’t dealt with ever before and it may be out of his control, even using language as a virus to purchase truth. He may not be able to overcome it. If you’re the wizard behind the curtain pulling the lever, there is only so much you can do to keep Toto from peeling that curtain back.We are in a new place of rewriting our nation’s narrative. Click To Tweet
That’s the great metaphor of you’re making yourself big about this and you’re the guy that’s pulling the lever. You’re this meek, self-absorbed, little adult child that’s pulling these letters to use a little bit of judgmental language to go forward. What’s happening is there’s unawareness and then non-skill in the position he’s in. He’s not a public servant. He is a businessman that has had a lot of money to throw at various different business ventures. Some of them, the real estate part has been successful while others have not been successful.
Bill, what’s clear is his lack of empathy and in dealing with this is painfully obvious and sorely needed by a nation that has all of these needs of safety and protection.
I feel saddened and disheartened because of the need for protection, truth protection and safety to go under the bus. In the short-term, one elephant dies, people go, “That elephant died.” When 50 elephant dies, they go, “Isn’t that a tragedy that 50 elephant dies?” As soon as the number gets above that, our human brain struggles with believing the large number because it’s incomprehensible. We’ll fight for social justice for one person and meanwhile, we’ll put 1,000 people in jail that are in worst case because that’s a different category, “I want justice for this one person because I can identify and I can see and empathize with this one person.”
Empathizing with 85,000 people that have died in the United States, it’s not until I tell the story about my uncle that it becomes real and that people start listening to me. It was my uncle in a nursing home that was not protected. Yes, he was 85 years old. Does it mean that we get to protect only the strong people, not the feeble, the children and the older adults? We’ve got to do a check-in because if we’re that 85-year-old and one day hopefully we will be, wouldn’t it be great if we had somebody protecting us and that we could trust in the system of government that knew how to be a public servant? I think yeah.
Most of us would want that.
Tom, next time, let’s take a look at how can we get the elephant to restore the next economy? How can we get the rider to create a clear vision moving forward? How can we make some meaning out of these challenges that we’re in? How do we double down on the business or the vision of getting back to work as human beings that are living on this planet? Start creating those short messages that certain politicians can adopt, certain business leaders can adopt. Let’s go ahead and do that and get things to go better.
That sounds good, Bill. I look forward to that.
There are more to come. Thanks.
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