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The Groucho Marx Pattern


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One flexible source of meaning is any cause-effect.

Our brains seem to struggle with any kind of cause-effect.

If you are a scientist, and you need to PROVE that A causes B, it's not so easy.

A common phrase that illustrates this is the famous, "correlation doesn't imply causation."

Somebody, either in person or online, will mention that something causes something else.

Or they'll imply it with the many handy linguistic tools built in to our brain.

Then somebody will wisely say (or post):

"Well you know, correlation doesn't mean causation."

These can lead to some interesting discussions.

And some heated arguments.

But they can ALSO lead to some pretty funny statements.

Or purposeful "misinterpretations" of what people say.

Our language is FILLED with ambiguities.

If you were to learn to SPEAK in ambiguities, it would take a while.

But it would be INSANELY powerful, as speaking articulately and specifically in terms of ambiguities is what covert hypnosis is all about.

But if you can pluck out any of the ambiguities that we silly humans say all the time, and PURPOSELY misunderstand them, it can be VERY FUNNY.

Not just cause-effect statements, but something called "scope ambiguity."

A scope ambiguity is the driving force behind the famous Groucho Marx joke:

"Last night I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got into my pajamas I'll never know!"

Once you train your brain to SEE these, you'll see them EVERYWHERE.

For example, let's say you have a friend who said she went out to get the paper in her bathrobe, and her neighbor saw her.

"The other day I was getting my paper and my neighbor saw me in my bathrobe. It was pretty embarrassing!"

You COULD say:

"Your neighbor? In your bathrobe?"

To which your friend would say:


To which you'd reply in mock horror:

"What was your neighbor doing in your bathrobe?"

Obviously, this is pretty silly.

But it's also very EASY.

And it's also potentially very CATCHY.

Meaning if your friend is in a playful mood (if you're at a party or a bar and the drinks are flowing) she can play along with the "new reality."

This what happens when you build a party frame.

Somebody says something normal.

Which most people do most of the time.

Then YOU take it and REFRAME it into something goofy.

Since a fun, goofy frame is BETTER than a normal, boring frame, people will tend to join in.

And play along with the idea that your friend has a weird neighbor that is somehow sneaking into her house and getting her clothing.

And then standing outside wearing it like no big deal.

Once you train your brain to reframe cause-effect statements and scope ambiguities, you'll see them EVERYWHERE.

Giving you TONS of opportunities to make people laugh out loud.

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