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Social Alchemy and Magic Words


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A very common desire among would-be persuaders is a secret collection of magic words that would work on anybody.

The idea is very compelling.

It's as old as written language itself.

Ever since the dawn of time, humans have struggled to survive.

The idea of conjuring magic to shortcut the necessary work is therefore very compelling.

For the longest time, people sought out alchemy.

Isaac Newton, the guy who invented calculus and physics, was an alchemist.

Not in the modern sense of the word.

But back then, BEFORE they figured out chemistry and the structure of atoms and molecules, they really had no idea what the difference between dirt and gold was.

So the idea was compelling.

To figure out a way to turn dirt into gold.

Of course, to the modern brain, this sounds silly.

Like it should only happen in fantasy cartoons.

But this idea is the source of ALL human invention.

To always be dreaming of an EASIER way of doing something.

When they discover it, it seems like magic.

Then they figure it out, explain it, refine it, etc.

And it's no longer magic.

But you can't take something that SEEMS like magic, and then explain it scientifically, unless you BELIEVE in magic.

At least some type of science that hasn't been discovered yet.

Which is essentially what the famous quote is all about.

Science, when it's far above our level of understanding, IS magic.

Modern desires for conversational alchemy are similar.

In the movies, it's pretty easy.

If you remember McFly from back to the future, he had a memorize line that was SUPPOSED to make his future wife fall in love with him.

But he mispronounced it.

He MEANT to say, "You are my destiny."

But instead, he said, "You are my density."

But he recovered, said it correctly, and it worked.

Like magic.

This is the core idea of a magic spell.

You say it correctly, and it works.

You say it incorrectly, and it doesn't work.

But is there modern magic?

Linguistic alchemy?

Yes, but not in the way most people are looking.

People are looking for memorized statements.

Phrases and patterns.

Like in the movies.

The trick is not in SAYING the right things, in the right order.

But asking the right questions in the right order.

This makes this type of magic much more flexible.

Much more applicable.

Friends, strangers, lovers and everybody in between.

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