(EF7) S1-E5: Sleight of Mind: The Black Magic of Rhetoric (Season One, Episode Five)PLAY
Evolution gifted humans with minds able to create complex abstractions like language. But what if this ability is manipulated to hold power over others like a spell cast with black magic? And can we trust reason and our ability to protect ourselves? More...
Can We Trust Reason?
The big question driving Episode EF7 is … Can we trust reason? In an online world now overcome with fake news, reason and rational thinking would seem to be an obvious bet for an antidote. But how many times did you find yourself in a situation where your reasoning was unreasonable to somebody else? Does this mean it’s not a consistent tool we can trust in all situations? Or are there other skills you need to develop in your critical thinking toolbelt in order to fight fire with rhetorical fire?
So you shouldn’t discard reason as a reliable tool in your existential arsenal, but it’s prudent to give it a regular and proper maintenance job ever. Reason didn’t create us but the other way around. So when’s the last time humanity created something that’s 100% perfect? Following reason blindly is same as blindly following emotions — and it gets even worse when these two are mixed up.
Episode EF7 Summary
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?
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.
But what are the real cornerstones of these dark arts of mental wordplay? And it possible to recognize—or even to fight back—when someone tries to sway you using mental magic tricks filled with lies?
Into The Rabbit Hole
SHOW NOTES: This episode is dedicated to George Orwell. See the EF7 Show Notes for details of the dedication, inspirations, references, selected quotes and more.
ABOUT THE EVOLVE FASTER PODCAST: Everything is changing, yet the questions that drive us remain the same. Will humanity face the absurdity of our collective existential crisis in time? Join Scott Ely as he takes us deep into the rabbit hole with philosophical tales to reboot your mind, upgrade your life and explore your soul. To Evolve Faster is to see the fact that you will die someday as a formidable challenge, instead of a source of immense fear. Create your reality…before it creates you. Isn’t it time for an upgrade? More episodes…
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Season One: The journey begins as we embark on 11 episodes on big questions relating to MIND. What is the truth? Can we trust reason? Why do we have emotions? Does happiness define the good? What is identity? What is creativity?
(EF1) Trailer: The Evolve Faster Podcast (Extended) Trailer
(EF2) Intro: Life is a Near Death Experience: Welcome to The Evolve Faster Podcast
(EF3) S1-E1: All Aboard the Experience Machine: Destination…Unknown (Season One, Episode One)
(EF4) S1-E2: The Decapitation of Reason: A Skeptic’s Guide (Season One, Episode Two)
(EF5) S1-E3: The Truth is Clay in the Hands of a Sculptor (Season One, Episode Three)
(EF6) S1-E4: Information Mainlining and the Folly of Modern Wisdom (Season One, Episode Four)
(EF7) S1-E5: Sleight of Mind: The Black Magic of Rhetoric (Season One, Episode Five)
(EF8) S1-E6: Without a Compass: All Who Sail the Seas of Identity Are Not Lost (Season One, Episode Six)
(EF9) S1-E7: I Feel Therefore I am: Capsized by the River Emotion (Season One, Episode Seven)
(EF10) S1-E8: The Road to Happiness is Inked in Suffering (Season One, Episode Eight)
(EF11) S1-E9: When the Lights Go Out: The Blinding Light of an Artificial Future (Season One, Episode Nine)
(EF12) S1-E10: Wired to Fail: Leveling Up in the Game of Life (Season One, Episode Ten)
(EF13) S1-E11: The Bloody Fingerprint of Creativity (Season One, Episode Eleven)
(EF14) BTP: Behind the Evolve Faster Podcast - The Making of a Speculative Fiction Meets Philosophical Nonfiction Podcast
(EF15) AMA: Ask Me Anything: About Scott Ely and Evolving a Philosophy for Life
(EF16) BTP: On Creative Writing, Video Games and the Future of the Evolve Faster Podcast (About Antonio Rozich)
(EF17) BTP-EF3: What Am I Supposed To Do Free Will and Other Everyday Problems Behind the Podcast of Episode EF3
(EF18) AMA-EF3: The Mystical Allure of Converting to Buddhism and Speculating about Quantum Mechanics Ask Me Anything for Episode EF3
(EF19) BTP-EF4: Head Transplantation and Finding Inspiration for Speculative Fiction - Behind the Podcast of Episode EF4
(EF20) AMA-EF4: The Declining Value of Information and Taking Risks to Determine What is the Truth Ask Me Anything of Episode EF4
(EF21) BTP-EF5: Should Lying be Made Illegal and the Importance of Figuring Out Why You Believe What you Believe --Behind the Podcast of Episode EF5
(EF22) AMA-EF5: Defeating Fake News and Critical Thinking as the Superpower the World Needs Most Ask Me Anything of Episode EF5
(EF23) BTP-EF6: Scaling Mount Wisdom Without Suffocating Under an Avalanche of Ego Behind The Podcast of Episode EF6
(EF24) AMA-EF6: Is Less Really More When it Comes to the Pursuit of Wisdom or is Ignorance Bliss - Ask Me Anything of Episode EF6
(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
(EF26) AMA-EF7: The Impossibility of Honest Politicians and Protecting Our Kids from The Most Insidious Fake News Ask Me Anything for Episode EF3
(EF27) BTP-EF8: Who are You and is it Possible to Upgrade Your Identity as an Adult? - Behind the Podcast of Episode EF8
(EF28) AMA-EF8: Drugs, Consciousness Manipulation and Cheating Your Way To a Better You - Ask Me Anything for Episode EF8
(EF29) BTP-EF9: Waging War Between Reason and Emotions and the Importance of Leaving Things Unresolved Behind the Podcast of Episode EF9
(EF30) AMA-EF9: Emotional Manipulation Tribalism and Using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to Think Before you Feel - Ask Me Anything for Episode EF9
(EF31) BTP-EF10: Dharma Modifying Negative Thinking and the Never-Ending Pursuit of Happiness by Embracing Suffering - Behind the Podcast of Episode EF10
(EF32) AMA-EF10: Mind Control Through a Well Chosen Tattoo and the Unlikely Case of Being Happy Enough - Ask Me Anything for Episode EF3
(EF33) BTP-EF11: The Evolution of Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Creativity - Behind the Podcast of Episode EF11
(EF34) AMA-EF11: On Perfection, the AI Alignment Problem, and the Possibility of Quantum Leaps of Creativity - Ask Me Anything for Episode EF11
(EF35) BTP-EF12: Cryptocurrencies Gaming and Leveraging Failure to Help Us Define Who We Are - Behind the Podcast of Episode EF12
(EF36) AMA-EF12: Pyrrhic Victory and Finding the 10% of Your Mind that Defines Who You Are - Ask Me Anything for Episode EF12
(EF37) BTP-EF13: Where Creativity Comes From and How to Find Your Uniquely Bloody Fingerprint - Behind the Podcast of Episode EF13
(EF38) AMA-EF13: Flow, Creative Improvisation and Other Altered States of Consciousness Ask Me Anything for Episode EF13
(EF39) S2-E0: LIFE, UPGRADED: Welcome to Season Two of the Evolve Faster Podcast
(EF40) S2-E1: Dehumanized: The Search for Self in the Devil’s Looking Glass
(EF41) S2-E2: Transhuman Fallibility: The Existential Risk of a Superhuman Future
(EF42) S2-E3: Civil Individualism: Loneliness Atop Mount Empowerment
(EF43) S2-E4: Evil Urges: The Fiery Duality of Human Nature
(EF44) S2-E5: Reality Unchained: Smashing the Icons of Social Delusion
(EF45) S2-E6: Weaving Society’s Web: Purpose in a Future Without Work
(EF46) S2-E7: Empathetic Distortion: Rigging the Scales of Justice
(EF47) S2-E8: Infinite Regress: Drawing Back The Veil of Perception
(EF48) S2-E9: Checkmate: A Child’s Guide to the Good Life
(EF49) S2-E10: The Domino Effect: The Momentum of an Unstoppable Future