Saturday, May 26, 2007

Deception Detection

To me most of Bob’s work focuses on communication. He discusses what we might understand by clear communication (with different levels or degrees of certainty in the transmission) and ambiguous communication (with multiple possible meanings, or noise and randomness).

He studies and discusses accuracy, truth and proof – but also uncertainty and deception (conscious or unconscious, of self or others, intentional or accidental).

Studies of channels of communication lead to an examination of consciousness and awareness, and the use of tools to improve what and how you communicate with others, (and your self!) As this involves feedback it also means we have to study how alert and astute we feel when on the receiving end of communications (from authority figures, peers, pressure groups, advertising propaganda, etc).

So Bob’s interest in the psychology of perception, magick, neuro-linguistics, drugs, brain-training machines, poetry, etc all seem like the tools he used to explore these realms.

Even his apparent interest in conspiracy, for instance, seems more an example of looking at material you could use to test your own gullibility, or rigour, or desire to believe. You could investigate one of these rumoured cover-ups yourself, and set your own targets for evidence that might convince you, either way. You might also come to realise how easily people adopt beliefs on the flimsiest of evidence, and how strongly they stick to such beliefs, once chosen (not only beliefs in God, or UFOs, but (say) ‘the scientific method’). And then go back and look at your own ‘certainties’ again.

As one of his favourite references he offered Orson Welles’ film ‘F For Fake’ as an example of how difficult it is for us to make accurate assessments and reality checks, particularly in the hands of a magician. To avoid getting cheated you need to know a little about how cheats work; to avoid getting hypnotised and manipulated you need to understand something of how that works, too. An effective policeman can think like a criminal.

Some of the most intensive study of communications occurs in wartime – both how to transmit clear and unambiguous orders and information (securely) and how to intercept your opponent’s attempts to communicate securely. This takes us into the area of codes, and code-breaking – disinformation, misinformation, scams, cons and magic tricks.

I have expanded these notes into a piece for MQ#11 - called The Mind Playing Tricks On Itself - which will come out (unlike the sun in the UK) for The Solstice.

[Later] This edition now available online...also see permanent link top right of the blog.


The Purple Gooroo said...

Cool! Can't wait to check it out - and, as another synchronicity - I only just watched "F For Fake" for the first time the other night.

I'll post about it here at OM.

Bogus Magus said...

Excellent! I love a synch.

Funnily enough I only published this (today, the Solstice) to see if it kept the date stamp from when I wrote it, or jumped to most recent post. As you can see, it stuck to the date when I wrote it (and saved it in Draft)...quite odd really, if I save some draft material backstage I could keep messing with the timelines. heh heh.

As contributor, you should have access to reading draft contributions anyway (?) or do you have to have Admin status (?) I can't remember. I think of it as one way we can give each other feedback before publishing (say) and why I prefer this format to the hard-wired magazine. Having said that, I (as usual) look forward to MQ#11 appearing. (Today, with any luck).

I kinda like messing with timelines myself, not feeling terribly linear when working on the web...but some people get real angry if stuff appears 'behind them'... "That wasn't there last time I read it!"

The Purple Gooroo said...

Yeah - I've noticed that with Blogger - it keeps the date of when you *start* the post, not finish and publish it.

Ha Ha Ha - yeah, that whole "double-take" thing..wait a minnit - I didn't *see* that before..

Bogus Magus said...

I like all that. Although going back and editing or deleting posts to confuse a thread seemed like the greatest heresy I committed when I went to visit the Principia Discordia forum. They started saying "how can you have a conversation like this?" Precisely my point of course, because I was trying to say "how can I have an intelligent conversation when everybody jumps in jeering and snarling at every word?"

I started doing 'cut-ups' stuff in MLA a while back (when you could still delete posts!) and the users all seemed tolerant of my eccentric approach to time. I can't help it if I like cut-ups, and WS Burroughs, and all that disruptive "cut the timeline" stuff. By nature and temperament I feel far too linear and logical and rational. I guess my attempts to break out of that trap also break all the 'rules' of netiquette...

hey ho


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