Life as an Amateur Con-Artist (and fucking for virginity)

This guy nails convincing deception, right here.

“Don’t just tell the lie, BE the lie.”

They say 90% of communication is nonverbal. People may not trust what you say, but they trust the vibe they get. (Yes, I’ve been hoodwinked by this. But also, on occaision, turned it against the liar.)

Therefore, the art of telling a convincing lie… lies in “channeling the right person.” Arranging your thoughts so you’re *thinking* what you should be thinking if you really were a member at that gym, really returning that book, etc.

(No, don’t actually do this. The guy points out at the end of the article even he learned it’s not worth it in the long run.)

Conversely, watching for someone else doing this is a pain. You have to break out of your usual “is the vibe right? ok, we’re good” mode, and instead look at the sum total of their actions.

They may be talking a good talk, but where are they going with it?

Do all their great-sounding actions and suggestions lead to situations where they have more control over you? (This is a GIGANTIC RED FLAG.)

A basic human skill. We’ve all known people that sounded good, but where it was easy to spot, “oh, he’s just looking to…” At least, easy to spot when you were watching. Not necessarily so easy to spot when you’re in the hot seat.

But that’s exactly what you gotta do. Watch not what they say, but what they (try to) produce. “By their fruits ye shall know them.”

Fucking for virginity: It’s amusing to see suggestions that Europe ought to build its own NSA to compete with the original. Someone ought to tell these pundits that spying for privacy is like, well…

To continue the appropriation of Bible quotes for security, “A spy for a spy will leave the whole world like 1984.” Always remember that spy agencies serve two roles, not one: they don’t just observe, they influence too.

Much better is the “Brothers Grimm” solution. Ever wondered why those gruesome, disturbing stories were told to children throughout the middle ages? Because the world was a gruesome, disturbing place — and this way everyone understood the threats and could take appropriate precautions.

One more on religion: “The greatest trick the devil ever played was convincing the world he didn’t exist.”

Evil’s life gets a hell of a lot tougher when everyone knows to watch out for it. But if you tell everyone, “there’s nothing to worry about, I’ll keep you safe, just keep doing what you’re doing…” you get the American military-intelligence complex after 9/11.

The main problem with self-responsibility and other vaguely libertarian philosophies is that most people utterly can’t handle them in practice. No modern educational system teaches you how to make money, for example, and that includes the business schools.

Security is kind of in the same boat. Just as most are trained not to make money but to rely on trading their soul to a large organization in exchange for a steady paycheck… so too with security. “Call a locksmith and an alarm company and an insurance company and get some anti-virus software and Tor and cross your fingers.” And that’s above average!

But I think SnowdenLeaks is changing this, slowly.

http://www.salon.com/2010/11/30/life_as_an_amateur_con/

“…what I really learned is that people will believe just about anything you tell them, if you channel the right persona.

I discovered just how susceptible people were to the right persona when, for over a year, I attended my local gym in California without becoming a member. I never knew what I was going to say to the worker at the front desk. This is because when you’re conning someone, you must always give the illusion that your mind is on something else. Affable indifference works well. For the gym, I used athletic focus. Never once did I approach the front desk walking. I was always running, always in the zone, always pumped. I’d have my earphones in, music blaring, and say that I’d just taken a run around the block (interval training); I’d have my basketball shoes in hand and feign anxiety as I approached: Did the game start already? I’d shake my head impatiently and say that I had to feed the parking meter, briefly criticizing the city’s parking regulations, and every time, the worker would sympathize, hand me a towel and tell me to have a good workout.

Yes, it was all about persona, and every encounter enabled me to tweak my persona — a regimen of creation and re-creation, a perpetual self-sharpening: Hi, I bought this book the other day and I got it home and found that there was writing inside! (Of course, beforehand, I’d go hide the remaining copies of said book so the cashier would be forced to give me a store credit); hi, I bought this shirt the other day and the cashier said that it wouldn’t shrink if I washed it, but it shrunk; hi, you know, I’m not really sure, I’m just making this return for my wife … my mother … my sister … my sick grandmother; hi, I got this as a graduation gift … a christening gift … a shower gift … a birthday gift; hi, I forgot my key card upstairs in my room, is it possible to get another one to get into the fitness center?; hi, no, I’m sorry, but I don’t have my receipt; hi, well I would like to speak to the manager, please.

And each one of these gambits required a follow-up if the situation didn’t go as planned:

So this is the kind of product you sell in your store? I don’t think I want to exchange it because it’ll just shrink again; ummm? I think it’ll probably be better if I just get them a store credit, that way they can pick out what they want; my name? Jack O’Brien. But the room may be under my mother’s name — oh, for some reason she kept her maiden name, I don’t know why … yeah, Burblonsky, that’s her; look, I’m not trying to pull one over on you (said with a laugh to underscore the absurdity of the idea), I would like to just return this item and pick out something else; I work hard for my money; THIS IS RIDICULOUS!”

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