Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Stealing Your Attention, Or Your Wallet

A Pickpocket’s Tale - The New Yorker:

One of the regular themes I return to is that one of the most dangerous of human  weaknesses is that ALL OF US look at things from a human perspective! It is a weakness that shows the old "how stupid could people be to assume the earth was the center of the universe" hubris ding to be an even worse hubris ding at a higher level!

Well, they used their natural brains, just as you are using yours now! What is it that you expected them to do?

Case in point, pickpockets. I love the opening of the linked article:

A few years ago, at a Las Vegas convention for magicians, Penn Jillette, of the act Penn and Teller, was introduced to a soft-spoken young man named Apollo Robbins, who has a reputation as a pickpocket of almost supernatural ability. Jillette, who ranks pickpockets, he says, “a few notches below hypnotists on the show-biz totem pole,” was holding court at a table of colleagues, and he asked Robbins for a demonstration, ready to be unimpressed. Robbins demurred, claiming that he felt uncomfortable working in front of other magicians. He pointed out that, since Jillette was wearing only shorts and a sports shirt, he wouldn’t have much to work with. 
“Come on,” Jillette said. “Steal something from me.” 
Again, Robbins begged off, but he offered to do a trick instead. He instructed Jillette to place a ring that he was wearing on a piece of paper and trace its outline with a pen. By now, a small crowd had gathered. Jillette removed his ring, put it down on the paper, unclipped a pen from his shirt, and leaned forward, preparing to draw. After a moment, he froze and looked up. His face was pale. 
“Fuck. You,” he said, and slumped into a chair.
Robbins held up a thin, cylindrical object: the cartridge from Jillette’s pen.
The whole deal is worth a read, but the bottom line is that our attention can be controlled -- advertisers know it, politicians know it, the media REALLY knows it, magicians obviously know it, and a world class pickpocket will take what he wants EVEN IF YOU KNOW WHAT HE IS DOING!

The absolute dumbest thing any of us have is confidence! It is true that we can't live without SOME, but it is also critical that we know our limitations! 

Those that are manipulating you know that your attention can be manipulated. You can't stop them ALL, but you can do MUCH better if you are aware!

"But physical technique, Robbins pointed out, is merely a tool. “It’s all about the choreography of people’s attention,” he said. “Attention is like water. It flows. It’s liquid. You create channels to divert it, and you hope that it flows the right way.”"
'via Blog this'

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