Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Of myth and mystique

I've always held that the key to power and influence is to have and maintain a certain mystique that provides some remoteness ( think: access control ), unpredictability, and mystery about the leader. (Too much familiarity reveals too many weaknesses, etc)

Now comes myth, to add to the mystique:
"In theory, if some holy book [perhaps the body-of-knowledge of the PMO] misrepresented reality, its disciples would sooner or later discover this, and the text’s authority would be undermined. Abraham Lincoln said you cannot deceive everybody all the time.

Well, that’s wishful thinking. In practice, the power of human cooperation networks depends on a delicate balance between truth and fiction. If you distort reality too much, it will weaken you, and you will not be able to compete against more clear-sighted rivals.

On the other hand, you cannot organise masses of people effectively without relying on some fictional myths. So if you stick to unalloyed reality, without mixing any fiction with it, few people will follow you. "
"Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow" 
by Yuval Noah Harari

Hmmm -- sounds like he's talking about the messaging required to motivate; the justification for certain means to achieve ends; and the fact that the truth -- unvarnished -- maybe unattractive. But, beware: as Harari says it's a delicate balance, with risk as the balancing element. Too much fiction, and you're not credible

But, consider this also from Mr Harari:
"... creating stable human hierarchies and mass-cooperation networks [is possible] as long as people believe [in the myth]

All large-scale human cooperation is ultimately based on our belief in imagined orders.

These are sets of rules that, despite existing only in our imagination, we believe to be as real and inviolable as gravity ..... making it easy to predict the behaviour of strangers and to organise mass-cooperation networks."

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