On the biomechanics of charisma
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This post is part of a new section in The Wonderland Rules, called “Dance Class.” It will consist of explicit lessons on social dynamics theory and technique. All posts in this section will be paywalled.
Picking someone’s brain and picking a lock aren’t, conceptually, wildly distinct. In fact, if you know how to open locks without using a key, the reality underlying the metaphor of “picking” runs much, much deeper than the superficial linguistic similarity.
I learned to pick locks from a licensed, bonded locksmith in the course of a lengthy but informal apprenticeship. Procedurally, picking a pin tumbler lock or Yale lock, which is the kind of lock used to secure 90% of doors in America, is not complex. A turning tool, or “tension wrench” is gently wedged into the keyway and twisted so as to make the pins inside the cylinder bind, or stick in such a way that they are under tension that holds them in place. A lockpick is then inserted into the keyway. While tension is maintained, the tiny springs that drive the pins cannot move the pins freely, and the locksmith can use the pick to manipulate each pin individually, gently lifting it to the shear line. Once all pins are moved clear of the shear line, the cylinder can turn freely. At that point, when the cylinder is twisted in the appropriate direction, the lock will open.
People tend to be vague when they talk about charisma, as if it’s ineffable and mysterious. I’m here to tell you it’s neither. Charisma is mechanical. This is true whether you’re a “natural” or whether you learn it in a studied, deliberate way. Charisma is a generalizable technique. I think of it as “Autopicking.”
What I mean by Autopicking is…
…a process of effectively picking the lock on a person’s brain that unlocks a specific reaction, automatically. In the case of The Shimmy, that reaction is panic. But any Autopicking technique, once learned, quickly becomes second nature, and each reaction you learn makes learning subsequent reactions easier. You don’t have to go through all the rigamarole of shrinking your motions down until you get the result you want. You just want people to feel a certain way, and they do.
Learning to Autopick people’s reactions, in other words, is like cutting the master key to their physiological emotional responses, and that key is extremely consistent between humans. If you want someone to be horny, or delighted, or inspired, or excited, or sad, getting them there is not hard. Here’s the secret:
Every emotion set is associated with various Fixed Action Patterns, physical behavioral responses that do not vary significantly from one member of a species to another. The brain and body are a two-way feedback mechanism. In other words, if you can evoke the appropriate physical response, you can by definition automatically evoke the corresponding emotional response. Learn how to evoke any FAP once, and it’s yours. With practice, you can evoke any FAP you’ve learned, anytime, in anyone.
The techniques by which you can evoke FAPs are linguistic. Some are verbal, but most are physical and behavioral. I advocate for men, especially, to learn body and facial language. It’s communication, a dance, and FAPs are the dance steps.
Being able to evoke specific emotional responses more or less at will sounds like being able to do real magic. It is and it isn’t. I describe the process as “evoking a reaction,” but that’s only true while you’re learning. Once you have some understanding of the process, you start to see that it is a dance, The Dance, and that you’ve merely learned the steps. It is then up to you to string them together in a social tango and integrate that behavior into your life. You will see the emotional responses you have to the manner and behavior of others, as well, and you can learn to modify those in the same way. This leads inevitably and inexorably to a deeper emotional understanding of how the world works.
There are many dances and categories of interaction within The Dance. I’ll be discussing specifics in future posts.
A word of caution: If you think of this process as “things you are making others do,” you will fail. If you think of it as “inviting others to dance,” you will succeed. On the level that this is magic, the rules are karmic. Don’t put in energy you don’t want returned to you.
Does this mean I can’t do it just to get laid? Joke.