Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Resplendent Noise

Dave Lakhani has received a link to an interesting article over at The Washington Post from Ben Mack, and he's generously shared it in his blog at Bold Approach.

Entitled Pearls Before Breakfast, Gene Weingarten, in the April 8th issue, says

"Can one of the nation's great musicians cut through the fog of a D.C. rush hour? Let's find out."

In the article the Post writer documents a social experiment in well-written detail, which was a marvel to behold.

His conclusions are powerful... and instructive. And the article... was a joy to read.

Dave suggested it is a "direct reflection of your audience and the reaction to your performance" - meaning, at least partly, a reference to its lesson for furthering our marketing efforts, I took it.

So, as a marketing noob, of course, I checked it out.

Then I felt compelled to weigh in, to expand the dialog, so to speak - so as to release my inner chatter!

And in case you don't already know, we wannabe writers like to kick this stuff out a lotta times anyway - which is why we live like hermits. :)


Dear Dave,

My hat's off to you and Ben for sharing this article.

I thoroughly enjoyed receiving the vibe - that's New Age-speak for telling me about the noise!

It's no wonder we tend to tune out noise - even the so-called good noise - as we have so much noise going on inside our own heads... we must necessarily filter out... the competition from outside... to be heard.

The article you and Ben cite is a perfect illustration of this phenomenon.

It seems much of what we employ as influence and persuasion tactics today must be focused on how it is we can appeal to people's finely-tuned sense of self-centeredness and conscious greed - as most of us are hell-bent on getting heard...

... By that selfish inner chatter... which resides within... all of us.

[Bottom line: Hey, it's still only about survival, baby!]

And so people wrapped up in themselves... with their problems... their seeking of everyday pleasure and fulfillment at every turn... is where we often begin.

Especially if our aim is to target them... to illustrate an object lesson... as is the case in the Post article.

However, another way might be to start by realizing this kind of epidemic behavior is actually a good thing... and the way to penetrate this mindset... is to reverse engineer our thoughts... of constantly thinking... in order to make a more valuable and calculating appeal... to this, our common affliction.

Though we instinctively know we must start with emotion and sensory perception, it's not always from a commonality of meaning or purpose.

Then we start to question whether appealing, objectifying, and targeting is really the best strategy in the first place.

So let's consider this beforehand.

"Children accumulate virtually no memory until they have language."

"Consciousness is self-awareness... characterized by language... which facilitates inner narration."

"Consciousness IS language. Like with certain words, images, feelings and perceptions... good music is thought to be useful good noise - as it supposedly emanates from the same natural vibratory impulse as sensory stimulation + conjured immediate thought = emotional desire, followed by the desperate want, then the perceived need to control."

History is replete with examples, ad infinitum, of all the ways we've put into place... and attempted to implement... control over others.

[And I wonder: Will this forever be so critical to our economic survival?]

When communication professionals become accomplished, then sullied by these many infectious words - marketers... admen, public relation, media and brand specialists... propaganda experts - are they put on this earth to zero in on those certain flaws in our human character, so all the others now become our targets?

And these many more others - likely referred to as informed consumers - really do eat up all this attention... because all of us, it turns out, really pine for these... same dirty words!

But we all have our crosses to bear, and someone has to dish out these dirty words we love so much... because burning desire, like for more money, or certain pleasures, has crept up on us all, hasn't it?

Earth + Air + Water + Fire = LIFE

It's part-and-parcel of our capitalist system... and T-I-N-A... THERE IS NO ALTERNATIVE (Margaret Thatcher)... still stands as our universally accepted credo.

[Though nothing has fundamentally changed... maybe we can at least be awakened to new possibilities... if it's true our survival hangs in the balance.]

So for the sake of our own amusement, disregarding for a moment all other motivating factors, let's assume we really are brainwashed.

Submitting ourselves... to conscious-driven... incessant... dissonant... inner chatter - right from the get-go!

Have we come to accept this observation to be a part of our basic instinct for survival and self-preservation - as evidenced by our common behavior patterns - to blithely be seen walking around... talking to ourselves?

Isn't this what is characteristic of hapless patients in insane asylums?

[Just wondering... if it's not okay... just say so. But can we be completely honest with ourselves?]

Anyway, without digressing further, let's make a determination.

Do we want to approach this issue as one of war, like what is studied at war colleges, or from what we learned in The Art of War (Sun Tzu)?

Or do we want to try a less aggressive, maybe more feminine, non-judgmental method instead?

Wherein might lie the clue... in our determination... for fresh and bold approach?

Should we tally up all our common emotional and sensory attributes... and begin redeployment? In preparation for another more all-encompassing assault on the senses?

Rather than... just one... of resplendent noise... shown, by example, in the Post's experiment?

Must we also consider bringing on some assorted jugglers, mimes, slapstick comedians, carnival barkers, town criers, unclothed bodies, compelling objets d'art, even free food and drink to add to the mix - just for teasers - in order to gain this promise of requisite attention?

Then tweak and test the mix for desired effect?

[Why the hell not? Sounds like a party to me! Can I come? Can I? Can I?]

Could it be if we stop to unthink... then re-create the conditions for a “stiller” serenity – uncluttered by foolish inner chatter... the falsely-perceived ravages of time... not spent in the here-and-now... and disparate stupid pursuits... always running to-and-fro – we might more easily cause the violinist gainful notice... to get the worthy gentleman... some damn attention please?

Or perhaps we should search for the single common thread of least resistance - at the very least - first?

Mind reading

For what useful purpose does it serve if we ill-consider empowerment and enrichment, the same energy which allows us all to be present... and so motivated to go on about our busy-ness?

And where might these conditions best be perfected – or exploited?

The public square (in the case of the author’s article you shared, L'Enfant Plaza, near the Metro, in Washington D.C.) – or in individual hearts and minds?

Where does critical thinking, preconceived notions about acculturative value equations, or propaganda fit into this scenario?

Are we not fighting a losing battle?

Have we thoroughly examined our assumptions – or questioned our motives for self-aggrandizement?

And what is the highest, most noble good we can derive from all this, our amusement and our chatter... our exquisite enrichment... and longing for ecstatic experience - even if the meaning of meaning is held over... for another day?

Finally, shouldn't we reconsider... an examination... of thoughtforms... egregores... s'more memes... to further explore?

Then determine if, by their alignment, we can be made to feel more useful... by virtue of our newfound purpose... after that?

Some innocent things... always beggar us for answers...

... Which is why... I'm glad to be... on your mailing list.

I know... like Ben... you entertain these foolish questions too!

All the best,


[Notes: Perhaps the social experiment described in the Post article would have drawn different conclusions from the author if the musician selected was a viola (more masculine tonality) player instead of a violinist (the violin being higher-pitched, with a more feminine tonality).

A lone youngish professional woman, Stacy Furukawa, was Joshua Bell’s most-attuned and active audience participant - and his best customer. (Is this what the author meant by "... cute elides into hott", an added impetus for Ms. Furukawa to notice his playing?) Near the end of his performance she cheerfully laid down a twenty... into his violin case... amazed by the scene around her!

Previously, John Picarello, "a smallish and baldish man" - and a true classical music fan - took no note of Joshua Bell's celebrity. After watching and listening appreciatively - for nearly ten whole minutes - he tossed a fiver in the case.

This is but one example of how we can learn more about ourselves by performing similar exercises.

See the plot details in Shakespeare’s comedy, Twelfth Night, or What You Will - particularly the antics of Feste, the resident fool! :)]