Several times in my Christian life, I noticed that certain members of the church were very adept at changing the opinion/view of a member of the congregation.  In my working career I've occasionally notice people with such an ability.  It always amazes me to see someone who believed 'A' change their belief to 'Not A' after a single conversation with such a person.

I've read about this effect a few times, involving Lyndon Johnson.  Wikipedia even has an entry about it:

"The Treatment could last ten minutes or four hours. It came, enveloping its target, at the Johnson Ranch swimming pool, in one of Johnson's offices, in the Senate cloakroom, on the floor of the Senate itself — wherever Johnson might find a fellow Senator within his reach.Its tone could be supplication, accusation, cajolery, exuberance, scorn, tears, complaint and the hint of threat. It was all of these together. It ran the gamut of human emotions. Its velocity was breathtaking, and it was all in one direction. Interjections from the target were rare. Johnson anticipated them before they could be spoken. He moved in close, his face a scant millimeter from his target, his eyes widening and narrowing, his eyebrows rising and falling. From his pockets poured clippings, memos, statistics. Mimicry, humor, and the genius of analogy made The Treatment an almost hypnotic experience and rendered the target stunned and helpless."

Has anyone else ever witnessed this?  Does anyone have any theories about this sort of 'power'?

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No, really, I'm reading it and some of the stuff is reminding me of what I've read about LBJ.  Some of their techniques are so obvious, but they do allow those idiots to generate revenue.  Mostly they create the environment for pushing the sale.  Good stuff.

Sadly the last time I 'needed' to encounter a used car sales person, was about 1982. I was interested in a used station wagon and I found one that looked ok, from the out side. I asked to take a test drive, and just as we started the engine, he turned on the radio. This felt a little odd, since our drive was about the actual worth of the vehicle. and less about the radio. So I asked the sales person to turn off the radio. At this point I heard the tell tail sound of a needed valve job! At this point I suggested that his sale skills were a little rusty, and getting a sale from me was not in the cards.

Last time I bought a car was 92 - and I'm still driving it.  A couple places used high pressure sales tactics on me, but the worst was a guy who talked me into buying a brand new jeep (I eventually bought a year old one) based on the payments being lower.

We got into the little room where he started moving numbers around on paper, phoning his sales manager, etc - but before I would sign, I wanted to know the total sales price, including taxes and fees, and I wanted a calculator so I could figure out what I would be paying, grand total.

The guy refuse to supply either - absolutely refused.  I told him I would walk out if he wouldn't give me the grand total, and I walked out without him telling me.  I couldn't believe it.

Since I was very young, I watched my father nearly draw blood on a few sales folks. I learned what I could from him, even inspite of our alienation from each other.

As I have had to deal with sales people it has become clear that 'claims of value' need to be logically evaluated in light of our personal needs and and the deeper questions of value that are ours alone to determine. More than once, during my employment with some operations, I have been asked to make sales on the basis of my needs as a sales person, and to make claims of value that are at odds with my personal values.

As a lab technician, I have been exposed to situations where I must determine my loyality and personal integrity to stay employed.

My science and analytical skills have caused me to be at odds with business claims, and representations.

A few times I have been confronted by folks that use psycholinguistics as a short cut to making a sale. One young man that was a friend our family, and otherwise well received by our aquintences, saw nothing wrong with making a sale based only upon suttle manipulations and emotional head games. After a few experiences, which I saw as basically insulting to my good intelligence, I cut him off from my further involvement.

During my viewing of recent House and Senate debates, it became clear that an honest debate was impossible. That 'making a sale' had become more important, than determining the nature of an important truth or policy.

I fear for our republic if we can not recover or relearn how to think without dogmatic crud poisening the process.     

When it comes to the senate, like the Canadian parliament, I am always disturbed by how many members are lawyers - especially given that the trade, when it comes to crime, is not at all devoted to investigating the truth but, rather, entirely about winning the debate regardless of the truth.


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