On the Tangent Stack

(Epistemic Status: Perfectly normal advice, practical, I literally use it, not even dangerous.)

Talking with me in person, one on one, is a bit of an experience, to put it mildly. When both myself and my conversation partner are comfortable, a strange thing happens; we go way over our intended time frame. There’s a sensation that the conversation will never end and this is ok. In fact, this is good and the correct state of affairs. Unfortunately, this leads to situations where I am trying to catch my train but just can’t…stop…the conversation; we’re just having too much fun. Today I will be telling you the secret to keeping a conversation going like that – the tangent stack.

So, as mentioned in my post on script breakers, I strive to generate a response that gives me things to hook into. Those things are often tangents, little asides in my conversation partner’s story. Rather than immediately cut in with the tangent though, I will store it in memory. When the story winds down or things get a little quiet, I usually have a question that I can just smoothly ask to bring the conversation back into flow.

To illustrate, let’s say I’m talking to someone and ask them their most bizarre experience – let’s say this hypothetical person relates a time when she got onto the wrong train and fell asleep. She ended up in a completely different state, let’s say North Carolina when they meant to go to Maine (my hypothetical friend is not very clever). She tells me about how they got off the train, completely lost and despairing, went to a Waffle House to collect themselves. She tells me about how there was a man in a trenchcoat who sees her looking distraught and frantically typing on their phone. The man walks over and offers her train tickets to exactly where they were supposed to go, at a discount. It’s sketch but my hypothetical friend is desperate so she goes for it. The train comes as planned, the tickets are real, and my friend is only a day late to her weeklong convention in Bangor.

It’s a great story, I’m getting super excited…and I have five tangents. I can ask her how the hell she learned to sleep on trains that deeply. I can ask her what part of North Carolina and how she found the Waffle House so fast. I can ask her about how trenchcoat man made her feel (or really, anything about trenchcoat man). I can ask her how exactly she thought buying train tickets from trenchcoat man was at all a good idea. I can ask her about her convention in Bangor. Odds are, I will ask her about all these things in the course of the conversation. The answers to these questions will generate more questions and the conversation will more or less maintain itself. This is the power of the tangent stack – it is your conversational midgame.

Overall, the tangent stack is a simple concept based on holding objects in working memory. It is likely particularly accessible for people with good math and programming skills (but I don’t know for sure, I’m not skilled at either of these things). The drawback to the conversation stack is you need to be mindful of time. You also need to be open to having the flow reversed on you – most conversations are not just going to consist of you asking questions; people like hearing stories as much, if not more, than telling them. Your tangent stack will help a lot less when the topic becomes you. Lastly, you need to have a conversational endgame – if you can’t wrap up your stack with a good winddown period, things will feel kind of abrupt when you need to part ways. Still, if you find your problem is keeping conversations going, this is worth a shot – it’s generally good practice to hold questions.

Discussion: How much of a tangent stack do you think you can maintain? What does it feel like to have a tangent stack applied to you (to be asked the questions on the stack?) Do you ever have problems with having too much conversational flow?

On Breaking the Script

(Epistemic status:  Meant to be practical and cover the actual criteria of a thing, rather than allude to it.  Not used to writing in this style so I’d appreciate feedback.)

As you might remember, I introduced a concept called script breakers for frame control as well as to cut to middle conversational space quickly.  What those posts didn’t do was tell you what you’re looking for in a good script breaker. It’s difficult to make formulaic but there are at least several fuzzy criteria to bear in mind when breaking the script.  These criteria are fairly simple:  Goal, Unusualness, Accessibility, Specificity, Audience, and Playfulness.  There’s more to it than filling off a checklist but the goal is to increase intuitive data rather than create a step by step process.

Goal:  What are you actually after by asking a weird question and controlling the frame?  This is the most important thing to bear in mind when you’re trying to do something conversationally; what do you actually want?  In my case, I often want access to conversational flow as well as get quickly past small talk.  Other people might consider attempting to feed the other person something to say while they don’t have words per the initial script breaker post (seriously don’t do this it’s kind of mean).  So, using my technique, the goal is always generating information.  The “what’s the most bizarre thing that’s happened to you this week?” question that I often ask is a figure-ground problem.  It lets the conversational partner tell a story, a figure, while the implied details are fertile ground for elaboration on someone’s life.  The “what is your 5 word life story?” script breaker is a move to fill my “tangent stack” (I’ll elaborate this in another post because it really deserves it, but essentially it’s keeping track of what open avenues of inquiry are available as one conversation comes to an end.  I store 5 tangents and generally can keep a conversation going forever.)  As I store 5 tangents, 5 words is exactly enough to fill that up.  The way a person organizes their 5 words also tells you a little bit about how they think; whether it’s a phrase, 5 disparate words, 2-4 concepts, chronological, whether they answer personally or give you something that could apply to anyone, a focus on group, individual, or place…overall, there’s a lot of information compressed into those words (to not even get into the body language accompanying them).  By knowing my Goal, I can turn this information into a very enjoyable conversation because I know what I’m looking for.

Unusualness:  How do you make your question a little weird? The thing is a script breaker.  Overall, people you meet have a limited possibility space.  This is least limited when meeting someone new; however, you can’t honestly prepared for every weird ass questions.  Straightforwardly, a script breaker should be unusual enough to not map to an existing question with a cached answer.  It’s difficult to really pin this down further; the best heuristic is, if you had your question asked of you at a party, would you be able to answer it instantly or would you have to think about it?

Accessibility:  Could also be called usualness.  How do you make sure that the person can answer the question in an informative way?  You might think this is directly contradictory to the previous point since you want to be unusual, but a good script breaker isn’t asking someone their favorite manifestation of social reality epiphenomena (well, maybe in some circles).  The goal is something most people understand and can access intuitively but really need to think about it.  Also, going to esoteric is trying too hard; you want to seem playful and fun, not look like a smartass.

Specificity: Is your question specific enough to be answerable?  When you ask someone a very general question like “Tell me a story” or “Who are you?”  or “What do you do?” people will either spit out something they’ve rehearsed or outright freeze up and mumble something about how they don’t know.  Conversation over, and you look like an asshole.  So, specificity allows you to narrow the thought space; I find constraints help:

What is your 5 word life story?

What’s the most bizarre thing that’s happened to you in the past week?

Another one I’m considering is “If you could have any three items on Amazon for free, what would they be?”

“What is a cool thing you aren’t doing today?”

The constraints are all in bold and they prevent the question from getting out of hand, looking for the Very Best Answer.  So specificity is important to bear in mind unless you want someone to freeze up and think you’re kinda a jerk.

Audience:  Where exactly are you trying to apply this sort of frame control?  Knowing who you are talking to changes which questions you want to ask.  If you’re talking a to a 9-5 bean counter, maybe the question about bizarre things over the past week won’t tell you much.  If the person you’re talking to is a little less fond of obvious gimmicks, the 5 word life story question and things like it might be too blatant.  I’m sure you can think of other mismatches of audience and script breaker.  When you create your own, consider what you yourself would find most fun as if you were in the role of a person in social group X, assuming the target is also in that group.

Playfulness:  Above all, do not forget to have fun and seem fun.  Being out of context and without a script is a really vulnerable position! There are people that will outright refuse the question for that reason.  More will refuse it if you seem like you’re trying to be strategic about it.  The point is to be fun, stupid, and spontaneous.  This advice generalizes outside of script breakers.

Overall, script breakers are not hard to design but good script breakers rely on not only these ingredients.  You need to pay attention to your delivery and context.  This is a social strategy and one that signals a certain outlook to coversation.  Copying everything verbatim will lead to sadness (which is why I don’t usually write social advice in this style).  The best advice I have is to consider these as guidelines while trying to find your voice but ditch them as soon as you feel like they might be a liability.

Discussion:  Meta- Should I write more how-tos in this style?

Object – Design a script breaker with these guidelines and point out how each of them fits in.

 

On Integration, Narrative, and Rewriting Yourself and Others

(Epistemic status: Rephrasing a thing most people know to sound more sinister and sexy. Possibly actionable advice.)

There is a process that often takes place, especially after novel experiences, where we figure out how we relate to the new things we have felt and thought and sensed. This is a process some people refer to as processing, though others call it integration. When an experience is integrated, it is compressed to fit the current self-consistent narrative (which is a concept that deserves its own post, but roughly rounds to “the current story you think you’re living”) for the frame of the self that is accessing the memory of the experience. More plainly, integration rewrites the memory into words, packaging it into a story that fits the thing you think of yourself as, so that it can be delivered to others with the “right details” emphasized. This same process is accessed every time you tell a story; your experiences update into whatever frame you are recounting them from…and this process can be used by others, trivially.

Conversation is generally framed as a way of relating information to one another. What’s not mentioned is conversation is a way of changing the way two people not only see each other but themselves as well. Every time someone gets past the canned answers of small talk, they are accessing the other person’s experiences, their stories, and rewriting them into whatever frame the conversation is taking place it. If you ask someone to tell you about a fun experience at a party and they do so, the story they tell is going to emphasize aspects most relevant to you; the story I tell about the pick up artist has gone from emphasizing the specifics of his technique and my counter-technique to the overarching arc of the power struggle, mostly alluding to details I have repeated countlessly, because the frames I have been telling it in emphasize brevity. I don’t even really remember the specifics of the things I noticed. Were I asked to fill them in, I would likely start making up details that are close to what happened but optimized for the listener’s preferences. I’m sure most are aware of false memories; overall, most memories are false and become falser the more they are accessed. Interaction with people literally rewrites you, bit by bit.

One might be wondering how to defend against this, because people are generally attached to a certain version of themselves. The truth is, you don’t, it’s an inevitable result of being humans that use words to experience each other. It’s not actually a bad thing to change a little every time you talk to someone, but it is a good thing to be aware of which people you’re allowing to change you more. All this said, I consider professionalism and workplace distancing to be an expression of the desire/necessity of insulating oneself from being altered by outside forces (such as customers or coworkers). A lot of professionalism discourages things like risky disclosures or deviating from script. No one is really allowed to relate to each other in ways that are sociologically optimized for close/personal relationships, because this increases variance and favoritism in a place that is supposed to have the illusion of meritocracy and egalitarianism. Of course, what is really happening is the corporation is hijacking most of the rewriting and integration process to make you more like the corporation. Having so many of your experiences be Work, you can’t help but have it become your identity. Still, the techniques used to isolate you from those around you can provide some insulation from the rewrite process if you are very protective of your Self socially.

The question I find more interesting than defense is offense, of course. How can this be used aggressively to get people to be more like the way you want them. The answer is fairly simple; frame control. The experiences you guide people towards relating to you will change the valence of their relationship with you, as well as the memories of those experiences. The frame you use will determine whether it is a serious, dramatic disclosure that is difficult to share or perhaps if it is no big deal, or even comedic to the person sharing. Place context is also very key. A story shared in a public place about a very personal experience is going to lack a lot of detail and likely rub out some of those details in future retellings; if you are able to draw such a story out, it does create blanks you can then use priming to fill in later to change the relation of the experience. A story shared in a private place, with no time pressure, is likely to be more disjoint and detail rich. Here, the frame for the story is what will determine what aspects seem salient; some of this is controllable, such as the specific thing you ask for (an example would be, I like asking for stories in a genre sometimes, and that very heavy frame of genre means that the information I get is emphasized for hitting the notes common to the genre). Some of this is not controllable; a friend that has known you for years already knows which buttons to press when relating a deep experience. Someone you’ve met twice is going to tell the story to the glamour you’ve presented them with. Who you are to the person you’re speaking with is also a frame. If you consider all factors and aim, you have a possible chance of guiding someone in a very helpful (or hurtful, but seriously please don’t be like that) direction. Rewriting memory and experience is far from an exact science but it is more controllable than simple conversation would make it seem.

Overall, integration is an inevitable process; information and people will invoke the process by pure accident just by the very nature of words. Knowledge of this process allows you to screen, at least a little, who you allow you change you. Knowledge of this process also allows you to use it with intention, for good or ill.

Discussion: Is integration a process you have noticed in your life; is rewriting? Can you recall when a friend has accidentally rewritten the way you relate to an experience? In retrospect, do you think it was accidental? Can you think of a time you’ve rewritten others? Did it feel like it was for therapeutic purposes? Would it be helpful if I wrote a post more specifically on how a conversation with intentional rewriting might go?

On the Seelie and Unseelie Courts

(Epistemic status: Metaphorical bullshit. Seeing trees where there’s a forest. Narrative infiltration.)

The Unseelie court, or Winter court is where I call my home. A porcelain avatar, with hair blown by a cold wind. Knives, displayed openly, brazenly, so obvious that they could never be used…until the lights go out. The Seelie court, Summer court, finds these vulgar. You do not talk about the game. You do not acknowledge the poisoned flower in daylight. This can lead to interesting conflicts.

There seem to be two types of social reality people (that’s a story, but it’s the one I am telling). The type that fixates on the dark, manipulative aspects, explicating all the darkness in humanity’s soul, rolling in the filth as if they like it. The type that fixates on the light, positive, conversational flow aspects, politely ignoring the fetid swamp they’re perpetuating. The Unseelie place their bets on brazenness, manipulation, and acceptance of the cesspool of human communication. They are blind to the concept of a genuinely nice person. The Seelie place their bets on niceness, community, and civilization. They are willfully blind to the concept that their passive moves have consequences. Neither court contains good people, just a bunch of good intentions and frail hopes.

When the Seelie and Unseelie meet, it is not something explicitly recognized, yet somehow there is a change in the social atmosphere. There is a struggle that is won before either enters the room. The two play by different rules and the stronger will suffocate or stab the weaker. No one else notices and yet the dynamic is clearly there. An off feeling, a sudden sensation of tongue tiedness, a change in conversational flow that cannot be reframed.

I am Unseelie. I display my daggers for all to see and use as they will. Beware, as I will do exactly as I say. I invite a meeting of my bare blades with your courtly graces; together we can make a new story in this old play.

Discussion: Do you feel as if you are Seelie or Unseelie? What are the advantages of your court loyalties? If you are outside the courts, do you think it worth the cost to join one?

On The Meaning Gap

(Epistemic status: Speculative, moreso than usual, sweeping statements about society, possibly readable as pro-religion. Also better writers have totally written about this.)

There is a sense these days, felt by my bubble and alluded to outside of it, that the world is wrong in some way. That we live in a uniquely crazy time. This probably isn’t true, humans are just generally bad at perspective. However, if I do accept the premise that we live in a uniquely crazy time, I would like to offer my own just-so story to explain why, complete with a lack of palatable solutions.

So, if you’ve been reading along, you should understand the basic concept of narrative and how the world runs on it, at least socially. To go a bit further, every individual is attempting to write their own story, especially in Western society. Our culture memes don’t really allow other outcomes to feel meaningful. It’s your story or nothing. The drawbacks and tradeoffs of individualism are well traversed insight porn. So, instead, I’m going to illustrate a different point.

Most individuals want their own story, and there is a shortage.

The concept of a shortage of stories is pretty hard to comprehend. We live in probably the highest output society to have ever existed on earth. Not only do more people write more things all the time, but more of these things spread across the entire world. This isn’t a shortage, it’s a glut. There’s one problem. Few of those stories are particularly compelling, and the ones that were are being attacked. A single word is to blame for this trend.

Analysis.

Greek for up + break. Break up, release, loosen. Unravel. Our current society, even civilization to a degree, is built on the concept of analysis. This has been an incredible advance in systems, governance, knowledge, and tools. There is, of course, a cost. When you break the stories, the narratives that drive monkey brain 1.0, we end up out of context. Everyone wants a story and there aren’t any believable ones left. There’s nothing to be sure of, no role to embody. There is only a gap that screams “YOU ARE FUNDAMENTALLY ON YOUR OWN.”

This is the meaning gap, filled by tradition, religion, narrative, whatever you want to call it. People with the mantle of destiny are no longer taught how to wield it. Support characters more rarely accept their role. There are no more higher powers and therefore no meaning…and it is making. Us. Crazy.

There is a concept that there is a hole “meant to be filled by religion”, that people turn to drugs, sex, rock and roll to fill. I think it’s a very specific framing of the meaning gap, the part of us that strives to find our place in a story, not just a system. I also think this framing is surprisingly compelling and has lead several interesting people to pick up religious frames. I can see a future in which I do the same, but I am trying to avoid that. I think there’s more to the meaning gap than submitting to a god or gods, than taking part in myth to cure the madness. I hope to find other people who see it and feel the same way.

Discussion: Do you feel the meaning gap in your life? How do you try to fill it? Do the roles in your life help, or do they feel hollow? Does meaning even matter; is it best to just excise the idea that you even need meaning, filling in the gap with cement?

On The Fae and Things That Are Not Metaphors

(Epistemic status: Potentially a memetic hazard. This is a narrative about actualizing as a member of society.)

There are stories, faerie tales we call them. I don’t mean Disney, I mean the real faerie tales. The ones with the Seelie, the Unseelie, where the outcome is uncertain, almost arbitrary. The ones where the viewpoint character breaks The Rules and maybe they get out of it…or maybe they don’t.

A faerie tale is a story about tradition. A story about people doing bizarre things to appease an indirectly named force. A story where people don’t acknowledge the bizarreness of what they’re doing, or even that they are doing anything. It’s just…done, and not doing it is Bad. Usually, what happens, is someone slips up. They don’t understand why the things are done and question them (they never get a straight answer). They forget one day to put out the offerings (how could one possibly forget, on some level it MUST have been intentional, to break a habit like that). Sometimes? They even actively try to find the indirectly named force behind the traditions. These are the least likely to survive.

The story goes on, this one person, this FOOL (pause here, think a moment), gets Taken, or loses something precious, or something. They are Punished for their indiscretion. They are brought to the Court and see what’s happening firsthand…after a fashion. There are always glamours. There are new, different, more arcane rules to follow and even less guidance. The Fool is out of their depth. It goes a couple ways. They try to play the game, and they lose, and something worse than death happens to them. Even worse though? Sometimes they win. Sometimes they are Good Enough. Sometimes they get away, and they come back Changed, with a special power. The worst outcome, though? They’re The Best. They become part of the Court. The new rules become their rules. The Fool reverses.

The Fae are not a metaphor for many, many things. If you read the above story and understood the frame I was placing, you are likely already finding a path to the Court. If you didn’t, then the next paragraph might help…but I’m already infiltrating your narrative. It may be harder to go back.

Social reality is a construct about tradition. A construct that causes people to do bizarre things to appease Moloch. A construct where people don’t acknowledge the bizarreness of what they’re doing or even that they are doing anything. It’s just…done, and not doing it means you do not advance in social reality. However, people slip up. They don’t understand why the things are done and question them (they usually get an answer involving the words “collaboration” or “profit margins” or “human nature”). They forget one day to put out the offerings (how could one forget they are weak and have their place, a cog in the construct? On some level it MUST have been intentional). Sometimes? They even actively try to see what’s behind social reality. These are the least likely to survive.

The construct initially places high costs on this type of person, this FOOL (pause here, think a moment). They get fired, they lose their house, family, friends, they are Weird now. They are Punished for their indiscretion. They are banished from social reality and are allowed to see what’s happening from the outside…after a fashion. There are always masks. There are new, different, more arcane rules to follow and even less guidance. The Fool is out of their depth. It goes a couple ways. They try to play the game, and they lose. They stay banished from social reality. They go crazy, they end up on the street, the know what’s happening and cannot cope with it. Even worse though? Sometimes they win. Sometimes they are Good Enough to carve a new path into social reality, they get back in Changed, with a special power. Perception, the ability to conduct social interaction on a meta level above most people except the more powerful in the social reality game, a willingness to play for different prizes, something. The worst outcome though? They’re The Best. They become powerful outside the landscape of social reality, and draw other people into their Court. The new rules become their rules, and The Fool’s journey ends solipsisticly.

Not everything here is true, or the only way it can go. This is, however, the 101 of getting involved in higher level social games. Use this knowledge however you wish; it might be best to forget it.

No discussion this time.

 

 

 

 

On The Demon Queen

(Epistemic status:  Part of the Archetypal Filter series, actual pragmatic thing I am doing with my life, probably the only post in this series that will interest anyone, slight dissociative risk herein, possibly NSFW I filter sexual dominance this way; manipulation cw, amorality cw, glamourizing being a shitty person cw)

The highest risk archetype that I have is, predictably, The Demon Queen.  It started becoming a comfortable archetype when it was pointed out to me that I can, on occasion, exhibit Dark Triad traits (Machiavellianism, narcissism, and psychopathy).  So there are three things about this:  One, those traits are actually useful in some instances.  Two:  It feels good to indulge those traits.  And three, those traits are a great way to really do cool things in the short term and then be really confused why your long run involves a lot of burned bridges.  This is not a nice archetype, it is not a good archetype.  The utility function of this archetype is quite simple.

To win.

The Demon Queen is an archetype meant to be deployed as social offense.  It is not really meant for friendly interaction except for those that want to be treated with this level of selfish disregard.  It is a high dominance archetype, focused on maximizing the aforementioned Dark Triad traits.  Machiavellianism makes winning feel like winning because it’s intricate, planned, manipulative; it feels like being the player at a chess board, with other people as pieces.

Narcissism mostly means that self interest is the core principle which tends to weight other people’s concerns as less relevant.  Turns out this expands the space you can work in quite a bit.  Lastly, psychopathy means not having to be concerned about collateral damage or feeling guilty.  These aren’t traits that are sustainable interaction wise but they can give a short term boost in one off situations where I’m in zero sum social conflict. 

The other fun thing about The Demon Queen is that I am extremely sadomasochistic in that state.  Suffering is just good.  It’s good to personally experience, it’s good to inflict on others, it’s good to just see others suffering it.  This actually is a huge drawback to the social advantages but very helpful in the bedroom, so to speak.  It can be kept in check but sometimes it’s nice to know how a move executed by The Demon Queen has ruined someone’s day.  The suffering aspect also helps with pain management considerably.  If I am in pain and it won’t go away, I can usually specifically notice it and just…focus on it, upcycle on it by filtering it through The Demon Queen.  I legitimately recommend doing this for anyone able to do any reframing whatsoever to deal with pain, because even without a Demon Queen, you can often find really fascinating aspects of pain space.

The Demon Queen is very, very sensitive to a concept I call “power on the table.”  Even in zero state, I sort of have a feel for hierarchy; who listens to who, who has the most status in a room, etc.  I think most people do.  The Demon Queen has this up to 11.  I can see almost visually exchanges of power, and see when “power is on the table” in a conversation I’m having.  The Demon Queen is very, very happy when there is power on the table, because it will take it.  After all, if someone is leaving power on the table for whatever reason, that’s like consenting to letting the Demon Queen do whatever it likes, right?  If someone is showing that weakness, it’s an invite to react with strength and to take what’s on the table so it’s no longer their responsibility.  It is, in fact, a sign I’m slipping into this archetype if I start talking about “power on the table.”  If you notice that, please feel free to ask if I am filtering that way.

The Demon Queen generally assumes she is operating from a position of strength and uses presence and social manipulation to make sure that is generally true.  Using The Demon Queen from a position of weakness would generally be unwise; people generally will not put up with her shit if they think they can punish it.  I suppose if one were trying to counter The Demon Queen socially, it would be displaying more strength/social carry than she can bring to bear.  

In D/s, the Demon Queen basically gets off on suffering.  Like, once you consent to be dominated by the Demon Queen, she basically wants you to cry and literally suffer.  Sometimes it’s good pain, sometimes it’s bad, she doesn’t really care.  I will always, always respect a safe word, even in this state.  I also am not entirely The Demon Queen, so I usually zero state afterward to provide aftercare.  The Demon Queen is very intense, dominance wise, but she’s not unsafe because it’s not my default mode.  I need to work with this more in real life play rather than online play; being bound by reality and having to watch out for the health of the other person may make things more difficult but more satisfying.

The Demon Queen is addicting because social dominance is generally rewarded if executed well.  It can easily be too much and lose a lot of face but if applied elegantly, it generally commands respect.  In addition, feeling like you are powerful is fairly rewarding.  In instances I have indulged the Demon Queen and gained a lot of control over someone, it’s been almost euphoric.  It’s just also a little morally hazardous.

If it’s not obvious, The Demon Queen is an archetype that needs to be controlled to be effective.  I am still working on that control mechanism, but it likely will involve subtly weaving the utility function of The Doll or The Professional into the general operating parameters of The Demon Queen, in the sense that if those utility functions are violated, then The Demon Queen is forced to turn off and I go into zero state and hope like hell I can fix whatever I broke or whatever I was about to break.  I may perhaps need more controls in the future (I also intend to ask the question “Will I not want to tell people about what I did when this is over” when I’m engaging The Demon Queen as another control.)

Overall, I like The Demon Queen, a lot.  PUA’s would probably call it “state,” the feeling I have when I’m filtering the world through that archetype.  Unfortunately, it turns out, social anxiety is just a hyperactive expression of an important concept of social risk, and The Demon Queen often ignores social risk to an unhealthy degree.  It’s overcorrecting in the opposite direction. 

Discussion:  Does The Demon Queen resonate with anyone?  In what ways?  Does it feel different to you to be socially cooperative and successful versus social adversarial and successful?  Do you think The Demon Queen is too dangerous to actively use?  Why or why not?

On The Professional

(Epistemic status:  Part of the Archetypal Filter series, actual pragmatic thing I am doing with my life, slight dissociative risk herein, boring as fuck I am so sorry)

With archetypes, some come naturally to a given person.  Others have to be constructed in response to social stress.  The Professional is an archetype I have had to construct and still do not fully inhabit well.  The concept is reservation, politeness, professional distance without being cold, and most importantly getting a high from doing a job competently within a system (working outside the system actually feels Wrong in this archetype, even if the job gets done, because it’s not replicable without increased risk.)

To break these factors down, reservation is the concept of muting my natural expressiveness to socially acceptable levels.  This is surprisingly hard, but more or less vital, especially given the paradigm I work in is not always the most pleasant to me in terms of my intuitions on how well it serves our clients.  This might be an issue of not being particularly good at big picture thinking.
Politeness is in the same vein as reservedness; in other contexts I usually am a lot more present and big and sparkly.  This is not really a thing I can do at work.

This part is an analytical sense of who knows who and says what and basically trying to avoid saying things that set these connections aimed at oneself.  The difficult part is that politeness is both a wall and also a gate.  You have to let people in but you have to do it carefully; it’s a middle ground concept.  I’m slightly better at the walling than the gating appropriately.

Professional distance is more applicable to clients.  Clients do not want to feel rushed or as if they are talking to a task focused robot but they also don’t want to, like, actually hear about your life most of the time.  There’s a lot of scripting here but it’s much higher variance than most scripting I’m used to.  I’m pretty damn good at minimal encouragers but after a certain point, people can tell and that kind of reverses all the rapport you built.  Professional distance is annoying because I like caring.

This last bit is probably the highest utility function of The Professional.  Each of my archetypes has a reward function, a goal that will light up those dopamine receptors when achieved.  The Seeker gets this from novel experience; The Professional gets this from a job well done within the system.  It’s actually amazing how important working on the systematic level is to this archetype.  This wasn’t an intentional construct but I think it’s a fairly logical one.  This reward function is based off a function I think most people have, the satisfaction of a job well done.  I intentionally intensify it to make The Professional at least somewhat worthwhile to slip into.  

Overall, The Professional is not a great archetype for me but it’s a useful archetype.  It beats the alternatives of trying to approach my role with my other archetypes; The Analyst might be all right, except the social aspects of the office overwhelm that archetype and cause anxiety.  

Discussion:  What does The Professional look like for you in your work?  What would you add to the construct of The Professional to enhance productivity and work outcomes?  How different does an example of a “constructed” archetype feel from a “natural” archetype?

On The Seeker

(Epistemic status:  Part of the Archetypal Filter series, actual pragmatic thing I am doing with my life, slight dissociative risk)

In the archetypal filter system, there is a filter I really revel in called The Seeker.  This state actually splits off from a lot of the more extroversion positive things The Oracle state was bringing me before I developed my intuitions here further.  The basic concept of The Seeker is I max extroversion, novelty seeking, impulsivity, and general willingness to spend weirdness points.  I don’t exactly look for insight, intuition, or Right Things, I just try to have fun and keep life novel and interesting.

The Seeker is good at benign script breaking and largely the filter I use when I ask one of my favorite questions, “What is the most bizarre thing that has happened to
you in the last few days?”  It primes me to really, really pay attention to the other person and what they’re saying and ask more and more questions.  It is a high perception filter that prioritizes experience to a possibly unhealthy degree.  It is The Seeker that can be
accosted by a stranger and proceed to think that further engagement
would be delightful.

The point of The Seeker, if it wasn’t obvious, is to experience and learn.  To play.  The Seeker is the filter that allows TRANSCENDENT JOY.  The Seeker is the filter that allows
qualialgia.  Overall, The Seeker is the filter where I can accept my emotions are big and full and regardless of what they are, accept them. I tend to spend a lot of my free time with The Seeker filter because it’s extremely adaptive to social situations and generally being a more mindful, perceptive person.  It feels like a very important key to self
discovery and self improvement.

The drawbacks of The Seeker is I can get overwhelmed at times in ways that aren’t terribly great to experience.  The Seeker is also kind of impulsive and possibly reckless
in ways that are inconsiderate to other people; the difference between The Seeker and The Demon Queen here is that The Seeker is not intentionally selfish, it’s just a natural result of an experience optimizing viewpoint.   The Seeker is extremely unrestrained and blunt, which is unacceptable in more delicate social situations.  The Seeker is also very much at a manipulative disadvantage; in this filter I want to think the best motives of everyone because the world is a wonderful place.

Overall, The Seeker is a very pleasant headspace but somewhat lower in self preservation than may be wise.  I am curious, does anyone identify with The Seeker strongly?  How impacted are you by the disadvantages compared to the advantages?  If you don’t identify with The Seeker, does this sort of person seem attractive/interesting or
just really annoying?