Public Perception, Reality, and Narratives: Elegant Segments

In part 3 of this series, we laid out the basic checklist used to design and test the segments of a project. Once the individual segments have been tested, the project design team will construct as elegant a model of the system as possible. Elegance, in this case is a scientific/mathematical principle–it means for those who may not use the term in this context, the simplest path from point A to point B.

Elegance is a necessary attribute in any project dealing with more than a handful of known people, or any project that has an extended time frame, unless you have nearly unlimited resources. There are a few reasons for this:

  • An elegant solution involves the least amount of tweaking, and provides the widest range of acceptable outcomes. it’s a nearly one size fits all model.
  • When unexpected events impact the project, or unexpected variables appear, they are quickly spotted and can be dealt with before they become a big problem. When you’re working in a technologically advanced society where information propagation is orders of magnitude faster than word of mouth, a small issue can become a project wrecking problem in a matter of days or even hours.
  • An elegant solution also has few or no viable counter solutions. If you’ve seen the Karate Kid, you might remember the “Crane” move–it had no defense, no counter.

How elegant a project has to be is dependent on a large number of variables. For instance, if you’re running a psy-op in a primitive country, in a hostile situation, you won’t be focusing on elegance, you’ll be working for brute force and heavy impact.

If you’re running a longer term project in an advanced society that has a specific goal, and you don’t particularly care what happens on the way to that goal (or you have high resource limits), elegance becomes something of an issue, but typically only from the perspective of carefully designed segments that are meant to serve as inflection points, stressors, or analysis triggers.

The Effective Use of Elegant Segments

On a long term project, there will be times when you want to set off a specific event, or a series of events, or use an event to test how the project is proceeding. In these cases, you use the most elegant segment you have on hand. So if you wanted to test the resistance factor to militarized police, for instance, you would introduce a narrative through mainstream media, where cases that involved militarized police would be sensationalized or kept in the news cycle longer than they would have been in the past. You would them monitor social media for public reaction, along with the news, to see what (if anything) people would do.

Or if a part of your project was to effectively label a particular segment of the population in a particular way–for example, the “domestic terrorist” narrative, then when specific news stories surfaced that involved specific elements, you would use those to further your narrative, and analyse the public perception.

Enter The Western “Land Grab”/Domestic Terrorist Narrative

This narrative is a good example of an elegant segment, for quite a few reasons:

  • It involves issues that only impact a a very small part of the population–people who lease land from the government. This gives you a very large pool of uninformed/disinterested observers to study, and involves minimal active players.
  • The government has spent decades implanting a very specific perception of BLM land, and leases, into the national perception; that these are public lands that belong to all, that the government manages for the benefit of the people. And the government leases these lands at rock bottom prices as well, to benefit lease holders, specifically–this created over time a visceral, subconscious resentment of those who lease the land. Ask the next 10,000 people you meet “what do you think of people who lease BLM land, like ranchers and logging companies?”
  • The government has also suppressed information regarding how those lands were acquired by BLM in the first place, and the fact that the government  is not authorized to hold those lands to begin with.
  • The government and the media have also furthered the narrative for years that those who lease such land are, for the most part, people who try to cheat on their leases. This has been done by making sure the public remains ignorant of how the leasing system works, and how many conflicting regulations are in place that can’t be met without violating others.
  • The public in general has little to no understanding of the details of land leases from the government, or the Homestead Act, or grandfather clauses. Frankly, land deals just aren’t interesting news–until a standoff happens. And because so little is brought to the public’s attention, the media is able to leave out a lot of pertinent facts that would impact the desired narrative.
  • The government also chooses its “victims” carefully. If you think they don’t have a good idea which lease holders are most likely to further the “domestic terrorist” narrative–THINK AGAIN. Just as the IRS chooses the people they will lean on carefully, using the services of the home team, Booz Allen.

Enter The Elegant Segment…

When the project designers need to check on the progress of a particular narrative and project, whatever that project may be, they throw in this all purpose segment. In the case of the “Land Grab”, the government had been involved in adversarial conflicts with families in two states that fit the profile of subjects who were likely to react in a manner that would satisfy the project outcomes, and provide a very good measurement of a wide range of public perception points.

In other words, these people were a good fit for the “domestic terrorist” perception model the government had been creating as part of other ongoing projects. So, the government plugged in the elegant segment, and dropped the regulatory hammer on the first case.

Then, the project team analysed the results (and is still monitoring the persistence of the first test trigger, BTW). And not too long after, encouraged by the results of trigger one, they dropped another hammer, a trigger two, on a second family in a second state, and analysed the results.

The Results…

Because this was a quite elegant segment, the optimal counters to it were limited, but there were still at minimum 24 counters that would have at least diffused the narrative and a handful of those would have caused significant issues for the design team and the project.

Sadly, because the people involved were not familiar with how mass perception management works or were too emotionally involved to care, both triggers were highly successful from the project point of view, when they could have seriously damaged the project instead. In both of these cases, had someone with experience in the field been on hand, and the people involved had been willing to follow counter project guidelines, there would have been a serious interruption in the ongoing project.

In the next part, we’ll look at some common elegant segments and their uses

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One thought on “Public Perception, Reality, and Narratives: Elegant Segments

  1. Pingback: Public Perception, Reality, and Narratives: Basic Elegant Segment Types – fortunesthoughts

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