EF25 Show Notes

(EF25) BTP-EF7: The Power of Propaganda and Rhetoric to Divide Us and the Quest for a Better World Behind the Podcast of Episode EF7


Looking to play or download the episode? Click here…EF25 (BTP-EF7): The Power of Propaganda and Rhetoric to Divide Us and the Quest for a Better World — Behind the Podcast of Episode EF7


Spoiler alert: EF25 is a Behind The Podcast (BTP) looking back at Episode EF7 (Sleight of Mind: The Black Magic of Rhetoric). The driving question of this episode is … can we trust reason? Since perfected by the ancient Greeks, rhetoric has slowly devolved from a respected art into a manipulative tool used in marketing, politics and any other walk of life where mental and verbal coercion pays. Rhetoric, propaganda and the strategic use of logical fallacies are mental and verbal manipulations similar to the dark arts of black magic, in that they create smoke and mirrors to change minds to believe mistruths. And unlike a magician who deceives to entertain, these dark wizards act maliciously in pursuit of profit and power over others.

As a reminder about Episode EF7: Edward, a marketing master and spokesperson for the dark arts of rhetoric and propaganda, is hired to educate a controversial businessman running for an important public office.  It’s Edward’s job to bestow the black magic of verbal and written manipulation on the businessman to win the election. Where the tongue is quicker than the mind—and the pen sharp enough to cut—are these skills a well-respected art? Or are they just cheap mental tricks wielded by insincere charlatans?

The fifth episode of the first season of the Evolve Faster Podcast Episode is driven by the big question Can we trust reason. Reason should be our main defense against anything wrong in this world. So what should we do now that the defense is obviously getting cracked?

To peek behind the curtain of Episode EF7, we’ll dissect the following submitted questions:

  • Why the question “Can we trust reason”?
  • Did you write this episode before or after Trump’s election?
  • Are these mental black arts really this much like black magic? What are some direct parallels?
  • Is rhetoric the same as propaganda?
  • Is Edward written around anyone real?
  • Is Arding supposed to be like a Trump?
  • What did Elliot do? This is the same Elliott from A5, correct?
  • And more…


DEDICATION: Episode EF7 is dedicated to George Orwell. This episode builds off of the investigation started in Episode EF5 of what is the truth. Here, however, we add in the complex reality that important facts and truths are both manipulated by the organizations which dominate our lives — like governments, corporations and other institutions. Few have explored this particular art of mental manipulation better than George Orwell in books like1984  and Animal Farm.

Orwell worked in a literal propaganda department of the BBC during WWII called the Ministry of Information. His job was to send slanted views about the war to India and, in a hilarious twist of fate, almost no one he was targeting (college-age adults) got the fake messaging because they didn’t have radios! Oops. But thankfully that job existed for Orwell because it led him to create the four Ministries (Love, Peace, Plenty and Truth) in the fictitious dystopia of 1984.

HOW George Orwell INSPIRES EF7

Episode EF7 goes a step deeper into the dark arts beneath the end products of things like propaganda. That is to say, the unsavory but powerful characters of EF7 are learning how to wield ancient techniques of rhetoric to weaponize their words and manipulate the masses via political elections. If Orwell had lived to see the power of rhetoric and propaganda leveraged up by the laser-targeting of fake social media marketing — leading, for example, to the election of Trump in 2016 — he’d probably have another book to write, possibly called 2061?

Politics is a game played with gloves off no matter in what corner you prefer to be. Episode EF7 tries to provide a backstage insight into the training for the fight. Orwell wrote in his diaries after his BBC work that “All propaganda is lies, even when one is telling the truth.” Have a listen to Episode EF7 if you’d like to imagine how deceptive the lies are when one is also not telling the truth.

To learn more about George Orwell, please check out the following resources:


INSPIRATIONS: Leo Strauss, known as Sage of Princeton, a silent political philosopher who could turn even Hitler into a logical fallacy. Aristotle and Isocrates, two philosophers who first saw rhetoric as the art that shapes societies and individuals for the better. Edward Bernays, the father of modern propaganda and the crazy idea that you can sell cancer if you sprinkle it with happy emotions. Solomon E. Asch, a psychologist whose experiments showed how we can unconsciously break under the pressure of majority. Episode EF7 was further inspired by Warren G. Harding, Madsen Pirie, Stephen Toulmin, Richard Vatz, Gertrude Buck, LemmingsCarrotsPythia. For a full list of data and references please see Episode EF7 Show Notes.


Arthur Schopenhauer, The Art of Being Right. Gibson Square Books, 2004.

Kevin Charles Fleming, FAKE NEWS IS OUR FAULT, psmag.com. https://psmag.com/news/fake-news-is-our-fault  (Accessed: Feb 19, 2019).

Tony Walker, Why the world should be worried about the rise of strongman politics, theconversation.com. https://theconversation.com/why-the-world-should-be-worried-about-the-rise-of-strongman-politics-100165   (Accessed: Feb 19, 2019).

Dan Noyes, The Top 20 Valuable Facebook Statistics, zephoria.com. https://zephoria.com/top-15-valuable-facebook-statistics/ (Accessed: Apr 15, 2019).

Ed Flahive, 36 Mind Blowing YouTube Facts, Figures and Statistics, videonitch.com. http://videonitch.com/2017/12/13/36-mind-blowing-youtube-facts-figures-statistics-2017-re-post/ (Accessed: Feb 19, 2019).

Evolve Faster Podcast EF8, https://evolvefaster.com/podcast/ef8-s1-e6-without-a-compass-all-who-sail-the-seas-of-identity-are-not-lost/
Evolve Faster Podcast EF9, https://evolvefaster.com/podcast/ef9-s1-e7-i-feel-therefore-i-am-capsized-on-the-river-emotion/

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