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Guide to getting through to fence sitters, skeptics, the uninformed


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#1 brokenportal

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Posted 06 August 2010 - 01:17 AM


-Guide to Getting Through to the Fence Sitters, the Skeptics, the Uninformed, and the Pro-Aging Trancists-

One of a causes main jobs is persuasion, changing the rhetorical climate, cutting through the status quo, the way it is, the tradition. It is done as they say with "persuasion that is pervasive". The best way to persuade somebody is to let them persuade themselves. This is mainly done through informing rather than trying to debate them, and it works the same for almost everybody.

It works the same way for the fence sitters who are uncommitted and go back and forth on supporting and ignoring this cause. It works the same way for the skeptics and the uninformed who just need some more information. Pro aging trancists are, as Aubrey de Grey defines, a group of people that have conditioned themselves to use fallacy to excuse death even if it is ridiculous, so they don't have to face the horrors of death. A pro aging transist is really just an uninformed person that has tried to solve the pain that death brings them by compensating with erroneous solutions. These techniques work on them too.

This section includes a list of tips and techniques to keep in mind when working to effectively inform someone, with a few other bonus techniques added in. To begin with we will start this off with a crash course in what it takes to change a person's mind.


Crash Course on How and Why People Change Their Minds - Every person in the world filters everything they think about through their current traditions, attitudes and beliefs. It is hard to get a person to accept something all at once, even if it is true, urgent and extremely important, even if it is life or death. These people are in comfort zones. We are all in comfort zones. It is not easy to get a person to step outside of their comfort zones. It is uncomfortable, and it causes cognitive dissonance.

Cognitive dissonance means that a person cannot hold two conflicting views at the same time. If a person thinks Chevy is better, they cant also think that Ford is better. If for example they think that talking to people about this, reading and giving out books, petitioning, talking on the radio, to coworkers, etc.. is uncomfortable and socially awkward, then they are unlikely to step outside of their comfort zone and do those things, like hold up a sign at an intersection full of people, because it is cognizantly dissonant to them. They just don't like it, so holding up a sign does not match up with what they think about holding up signs. If for example they think death is fine then they can not also think that death is horrible. This can be changed in a different way though, because everybody succumbs to gradual and incremental change.

Gradually and incrementally a person gets used to anything, especially the truth, and when they see that it is the truth that they want and need to participate then it will start to become much easier for them to step outside of those comfort zones and do things like hold up those metaphorical signs, and all the other big and small things involved. For example even people in WWII concentration camps were known to sing songs and play cards. People have gotten into these comfort zones in the same kind of way that buggies in the old days would get into ruts in the road. Sometimes a buggy would get into a rut and it would be unable to change its course for 50 miles even though it needed to go in another direction. After a while they gradually and incrementally got used to their new rut. "I was going to Albuquerque, I guess we can catch up with Houston and see what's going on there." Keep this in mind, you, and everybody need to choose their ruts carefully, and through informing people we help them make the right choice. By telling them about indefinite life extension we are starting to effect that change, we gradually and incrementally build up the potential for a new set of attitudes and beliefs to emerge. We open their reticular activating systems to this cause.

The reticular activating system is that part of your brain that notices all the other people that are driving the kind of car you drive. It is the system that causes you to catch that commercial about life insurance on TV because you have been thinking about it. It is that system that makes it so that when you read about something in a news paper it later causes a book in the book store about the same kind of concept to catch your eye. By activating your reticular activating system you begin to notice it more and more, and soon it has gradually and incrementally begun to present itself as an option for that next time a rut change comes up, whether that rut be the slew of science fiction books you've been reading switching to indefinite life extension books, or that insurance job you've had for 15 years starting to seem like something you might consider switching to full time indefinite life extension activism work for the 5 years of its crucial plan.

Soon, the truth in the cause wins out in their cognitive dissonance match ups and the borders of their comfort zones gradually and incrementally loosen and allow them to move more freely in their expanded indefinite life extension comfort zones. So the more people we begin in on getting the word out to, into the ears of, the more people will eventually be able to move through their current limiting beliefs and attitudes and march forward with us in this final part of the path to the world stage.

These techniques then can help you move people through this course.

When to inform, when to debate – We all need to spend most of our outreach informing, but most of us also have to know when to spot out key opportunities to debate, especially if we are good at debating.

If you try to debate when you should be informing then it's going to wear you out – and many times it leaves most people in the vicinity less convinced, or polarized against you. If you debate rather than inform, at the right times, it will create contrast between the realities of indefinite life extensions imminence and the status quo and demonstrate the intensity and urgency in the situation. We will spell out the differences between when to do which here.

a. Informing - Situations where you want to inform include places where you're outnumbered by people that don't support this yet and everybody that is hearing you has the ability to chime in. These places include most places that we interact, on the internet; email, forums, chat rooms, skype, with friends, acquaintances, co-workers and other similar situations. When you inform them, you take away their natural ins for saying "yes, but" or "what about". When you inform them, you are coming from more of a place of authority, saying, "This is how it is," not, "What do you think about this?" Tell them; don't ask them to accept it. Most of us need to spend most to all of our time informing. When you inform them that you greatly diminish their ability to overwhelm you with crowd mentality, devils advocates responses, ad hominems, and objections. When you allow that to happen, then what happens is the people in the crowd convince each other more and more against your case, they become more and more polarized against whatever it is that your saying. They begin to shut you out and embed opinions against what your saying into their reticular activiating systems.

When Informing it is many people's natural inclination to take the devil's advocate side, most of us do with almost any discussion. Try it, tell somebody they are cool and you'll likely find them arguing against you. Keep this in mind so you can stay the heck away from it when you're working to inform people. A good tactic in informing people about indefinite life extension is the opposite of the devil's advocate: show the other person how much you have in common and work from there. Concede any valid points the other person makes and build off of them, working them into the indefinite life extension message. Persuasive informing includes the more conciliatory approaches found in this list.

b. Debating – Situations where you want to debate include places where many people that don't yet support this can listen but not respond. These places include most media: radio, newspaper, tv, etc…; speeches, arranged debates, articles, a lecture, a YouTube video, other similar places and unique occasions. These forums give you a position of authority; use it to get your audience informed about the issue. When you debate in these types of situations then you also avoid over whelming crowd mentality, excessive devil's advocate, ad hominem, crowd effect and objections. Avoiding those is very important. Only your target can, and that's good. You want your target to play the biggest devil's advocate that they can. It helps you to be a practiced debater, but you don't even have to be good. Significant emotional appeal and contrast are your main tools here. The message end of things is the main tool in informing. Now that everyone else is only able to listen without those factors, they are able to become aware of the difference in the popular vs this new rhetorical picture you are presenting.

This lively contrast in these situations is key. Everybody who is listening is being informed about the schism that exists between this information and the current state of societies status quo. This opens their reticular activating system and helps them begin stacking, which we'll go over a little further down this list. Those that we have already gotten to on the information side of things already have their reticular activating systems open and are doing more stacking.

People also love to be able to claim they came up with the idea on their own, and this allows them to do that. This also puts the crowd mentality on your side. When they see you talking about it on these stages they think there must be groups of people backing you, and the odds of them investigating joining your perceived group of many, rather than your perceived group of a few in a one on one or small groups cases, increases.

Ask them – This is simple yet important concept. You must first ask them if they support indefinite life extension. If you approach it wrong, you might spend all your time unconvincing somebody that was already on the fence or considering it. If you ask them and they kind of do, then you can get them to commit to that position up front which is important. Whatever you can get them to say themselves they are much more likely to accept and not haggle over.

If they say they don't support indefinite life extension then ask them what could hypothetically change their mind. This will give you an idea of where to move with further techniques. In some cases they will flatly come out and tell you what would convince them, and this makes your job a whole lot easier. Many people for example will tell you that if they could only see how it would be biologically possible then they would support it. Many people just need to be reassured that all of their friends and family will have these same options for indefinite life extension. You can then many times completely win them over by explaining the "Our bodies are machines, not magical and otherworldly," section, or others, of this guide to them, and "Yes, these therapies will be equally available to everybody."

Know the basics of influence - Be sure that you know How to Win Friends and Influence People by knowing the book of the same name. It is world renowned for its essential fundamental concepts. Some of its basics include, be positive, appreciative, friendly, listen, let them talk too, be humble etc.. One standard technique is to avoid stating things in terms of absolutes, instead say things like, "It seems to me" and "as you probably already know" and thing like that so as to show them that you are thoughtful and reasonable. To quote Robert Anton Wilson, "Is, is, is —the fallacy of the word haunts me. If it were abolished, human thought might begin to make sense. I don't know what anything is, I only know how it seems to me at this moment." You also don't want to make the other person feel like they are of lesser intelligence or being condescended; nobody wants that. These are all basics. If you're not already personable and nice then read How to Win Friends and Influence People. If you think you might be ornery, blunt, etc... then begin with that reading. Nobody wants to listen to a jerk. Trust me, and don't worry, it's not just you. Many of us were a jerk at one time.

Realize that some people have coached themselves to accept death - Remember that some people have spent much of their lives (realizing imminent death) convincing themselves why death is alright. They have not been clever or brave enough to contemplate and heed the call of duty to execute the solutions. Don't let them tell you what their reasoning is. Just give them the authoritative information about what is going on with the movement for indefinite life extension and let it sink in. Sometimes it will; sometimes it won't – but you might be surprised at how powerful challenging the inevitability of death can be. For many people, the rationalizations of death will no longer be appealing if they recognize that indefinite life is achievable.

Make sure you use the right terminology - Just a little well-meaning but misplaced terminology can ruin a whole session of getting through to somebody about indefinite life extension. Your listener may associate certain terms with ideas and imagery that conjure up stereotypes and misunderstandings. Do not use "immortality", "infinity", "live forever", "comprehension of morbidity", "healthier lives", or "life extension", unless you can competently qualify them and elaborate on their meaning – and you are sure that your use of these words will not be taken out of context. More straightforward terms to use are "indefinite life spans", "indefinite life extension", "unlimited life spans", "unlimited life extension". These terms avoid unnecessary confusion and misinterpretation. There are two new words that you could give a shot, "longecity" and "indefinity", both of which mean, "indefinite life extension".

Don't ask for money - If the other person is new to the idea of indefinite life extension, don't mention money. Especially don't ask for money. Don't mention how the cause would be advanced if we just had xxx many more dollars. The other person will rightly smell (though inaccurately so) a scam, tune you out, and look for the exit.

Use strong reasoning and evidence – This is all summarized and explained throughout the MILE guide. Read the guide through, take notes, and read again as necessary. There are things like, explain exponential growth and what stage it is currently in with science and technology, explain the similarities between the science that needs to get done and similar science that has already had success, appeal to humans as innovators, explain the big 8, explain the mile premise, appeal to life etc…

Use appeals to authority and success - Mention all the great things the cause has accomplished already. International conferences have been held, and books have been published. Proponents of indefinite life extension have been on CNN, BBC, 60 Minutes, The History Channel, The Colbert Report, Barbara Walters Special, and many other programs. The cause has already raised its first millions from one of the main guys at PayPal and Facebook. Appeal to authority and success is an important one, use it. Highlighting the cause's successes in addition to the logic behind it will make a positive impression on all fronts.

Open up doors for getting involved - Point them to a simple way to get involved, which is simply to point them to the websites involved whether that be through telling them, email, a link, a blog, a phone call, a flyer, a speech, and spreading this booklet. Reading is also a great way to start, as it bridges the gap between thought and action.

Know the FAQs - An object of this guide is to try to get through to people without them arguing with you. If it does come to that, and one or two buts and what ifs do slip through, which they do sometimes, even if you follow this guide, then try to avoid answering if you can, by using some of the techniques we go over, like walking away, or the Steven Covey solution . Sometimes you can't, so you'll want to be sure you are at least a little familiar with cause FAQs. Most websites of organizations devoted to indefinite life extension have a FAQ page. It's a rundown of answers to all the nauseatingly flippant comments and questions that not-yet indefinite life extension supporters ask about it. Some of the important arguments that one should be able to refute right away, if they are raised, are the boredom argument, the overpopulation argument, the "playing God" argument, and the "death gives meaning to life" argument. In most cases though, just rest assured that the FAQs are out there, and direct them to it if need be, or if you don't have time, or cant remember them at the moment. A person that you have caused to start thinking about this, that you just inform, will get curious and look for the FAQs on their own too, and they are much more powerful when they do find them on their own.

Use crowd mentality to your advantage - Remember the crowd mentality. Try to discuss indefinite life extension with people one-on-one when you can. Crowds of people who haven't heard about it before can and will likely easily over power you with devil's advocate knee-jerk un-thought-out reactions. Even when you are sticking to informing and trying to stay away from allowing ins for debate.

Help stack credible sources - If you tell somebody about indefinite life extension and they don't catch on right away, don't despair. Know that by getting the information out there you are doing a stellar job, a needed, priceless job. Remember this because it has been found, and is rather intuitive, that people usually have to hear about a new concept from around 3 or 4 sources that they view as credible before they begin to consider it. Help fill in those first and second and third times they've heard it. We are out here with you; with your help, together, we are getting this job done.

Avoid trolls - If you can see that the person likes to argue for the sake of argument; if you can see the person wants to be right no matter what the issue is; if you can see that the person is contrary about everything, just avoid that person. These people are usually best characterized by their use of red herring fallacies like ad hominem, well poisoning and others. He or she still needs to mature. We can come back to such people at a date later down the road. If you want, directly or indirectly bring up the concept of fallacy somewhere in the area. It might just end up rubbing off on them.

Try the Socratic method - Work the Socratic method into your information dissemination routines when you can. Give it a try once in a while. You might find that it's the best strategy for you. Socrates would use the method of asking people questions to get them to start arguing his point for him. For example, "I see what you mean, overpopulation could become a daunting challenge. Do you think it is inevitable?" "Yes? I see. "There may not even be any solutions at all to such a crisis, do you think there would be any?" and then if done right they many times begin to argue your point for you, and convince them self. This also has that effect that we mentioned earlier of getting people to commit to a position. If you can get them to say that this or that is how it is, then they are much more likely to stand by and believe it and not haggle over it. You can read up on it by searching for "Socratic method" on Google. It works brilliantly when done right.

Use the "used to, found, sure you would agree" formula - There is a general formula for turning a disagreement into an agreement, and we find that it works quite frequently. It is really just the opposite of being the contrarian. It's a positive way to get a sincere win-win situation. The general formula is "I used to think that… What I've found is …. I'm sure you would agree." For example when people use the "over population" objection, you would say something along the lines of, "I used to think that population might be too disruptive to this cause, too. What I've found is that there may be an under-population problem, and that if we can achieve indefinite life extension, the population issue will be a cake-walk whichever way it goes – I'm sure you would agree." One of the main places Ive learned about this in Steven Covey's 7 Secrets of Highly Effective People. If you haven't read that book yet, and want to read up about this approach more, check it out.

Get back-up support where you can - If you are going to a party or another social event, bring a life-extensionist friend. If you are evangelizing in the halls of your school, then bring a life-extensionist friend. If you are going out into the forums of the Internet talking about this, send a link to your friend. (Better yet, join the Longecity internetworking team where we coordinate it.) By doing this you are beginning to establish that the crowd mentality may actually go in your favor, and listeners might just be inclined to get on your side just for that reason. Then, of course, when it comes to getting through to people, the more support the better.

Carry literature - There are studies that show that people are more inclined to believe what they see in writing. Longecity has a pamphlet, many of the organizations have books out, and other things you can use. Make sure you integrate this literature seamlessly into any conversation. In your mannerisms and presentation of the reading materials, do not give the impression that you are advertising. Appearing to be a salesman instead of an advocate of a new way of thinking may damage your credibility. Most people will be more receptive to being handed literature after several conversations. You can keep copies in convenient places – your car, your house, your bag, your folder – for distribution when the time seems right. If a natural reference to the literature comes up in a conversation, that is your chance.

Tell them about the organizations that seem best fitted to them – If they are scientific/mathematical kinds of people, tell them about SENS and use Longecity as a footnote. If they are activists or scientific and advocacy-inclined, then tell them about Longecity and SENS. If they want things other than science too then tell them about Longecity. If they are millionaire investors, then tell them about MaxLife. If they are looking for a mid-range investment right now, then tell them about Methuselah Foundation. If they want to know about cryonics, then tell them about the cryonics organizations and throw in Longecity as a footnote. If they are politically active, then tell them about the Coalition to Extend Lives and Longecity. If they are pretty conservative, then tell them about the Campaign for Aging Research and the Methuselah Foundation. There can, of course, be many other permutations of interests and possible organizations that will intrigue a particular person. If you don't have time to go through all that with them, then just tell them to go to Longecity and if they are interested then offer them some of your Longecity literature that you carry with you.



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As time wears on, all of our collective work begins to form a crowd mentality, where people start to automatically think these things because it permeates them in general society. This is the spirit of a cause that you help instill. The more people that believe we can have indefinite life extension in our lifetimes, the more positioned for success unlimited lifespans becomes.

Edited by brokenportal, 30 October 2011 - 08:58 PM.

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#2 bacopa

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Posted 08 August 2010 - 12:39 AM

Good list! I agree with it all.

#3 brokenportal

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Posted 08 August 2010 - 05:30 PM

Do you have anything to add? Any stories? If any of you do please add them because keeping topics like this live and active in the forum is important. When you see an action topic for indefinite life extension, the very worst thing you can do is think, "what I have to say isnt all that important" or "Im too shy to post right now" or "I just want to lurk for a while longer" or "Ill respond later" or "I dont really feel like responding now."

Respond, we have to keep indefinite life extension action discussion alive if we are going to get anywhere. Like James Burke said,

"Innovation occurs for many reasons, including greed, ambition, conviction, happenstance, acts of nature, mistakes, and desperation. But one force above all seems to facilitate the process. The easier it is to communicate, the faster change happens."

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#4 bacopa

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Posted 08 August 2010 - 10:42 PM

I'll respond by saying some things we are making fast amazing progress in like organ growing, and tissue reengineering. But we still have zero change in mortality for most cancers and dementia, and many other diseases.

If we are going to inform the world about something as amazing as indefinite life extension, we will have to quell their fears on so many diseases, that, yes most are age related.

But young people get things like cancer too, dammit, and it's time we start calling the NIH, FDA, and Congress to inform them that we are very unsatisfied with things like loss of funding for promising research that never sees an actual clinical trial. And we are angry that small biotech research companies aren't getting licenses or rights to patents, and the FDA is to blame.

Here is the article again. Read it for yourself, and then inform the world about diseases that could be cured, but the system is broken.

http://www.newsweek....king-cures.html

I think if we could much better treat cancer, dementias, ALS and others we would have a better shot at interesting the world about indefinite life extension, which seems like a joke to people, even like me, who have lost a loved one to one of these diseases.

I want to inform the world about the fact that so much money is being wasted like with awarding people for medical discoveries that never see the light of day. I personally think we should work on pathology and aging at the same time, but I'm very upset at the current non-change as note in this article. Even my friend's mother, who is a nurse, mentioned that the technology to cure cancer doesn't seem to be there yet...

It's too easy, as Portal said, just to lurk and make no change. If we want change we have to do our part or we will all suffer similar fates. I like Portal's military imagery of us being soldiers in a war. Some might think it's "too much" in that we are fighting biology, but it's still killing us like soldiers in a war.

Edited by dfowler, 08 August 2010 - 10:52 PM.


#5 G. Stolyarov II

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Posted 14 August 2010 - 07:40 PM

This is a most thought-provoking guide, and it discusses numerous useful approaches. Here are my ideas and suggestions on each point that was mentioned.

“Inform not debate” – I completely agree here. Especially as it takes more than one source for most people to accept the message of indefinite life extension, the priority here should be to simply get the message out. I will add the caveat that *if* someone presents an argument against life extension, then this argument should be addressed as part of the information process. But the expectation should not be to convince the person on the spot, but rather to get the person to think about the issue. Most people with well-developed worldviews will not be swayed as a result of a single discussion, but a seed of doubt could be planted and could germinate over time.

“Avoid the devil’s advocate” – I think the devil’s advocate inclination may arise from the desire of some people to probe the vulnerabilities of any position and see if it withstands this kind of scrutiny. By itself, that is a healthy approach, but it can indeed be taken too far and become scrutiny for its own sake. I agree that, in any discussion, it helps to concede as many of the other person’s valid points as possible. In that way, some considerable common ground can be established. A good tactic is the opposite of the devil’s advocate: see how much we have in common and work from there. Even if you cannot yet convince another of the validity of indefinite life extension, perhaps you can get this person to become more enthusiastic about curing life-threatening diseases and extending lifespans slightly, and then slightly again, and then slightly again…

“Realize that some people have coached themselves to accept death” – Excellent points here. I think that most of the elaborate rationalizations many people have regarding death stem from death’s perceived inevitability. Challenge that perception, and you open the door to some serious rethinking on a philosophical level.

“Make sure you use the right terminology” – I think that the point here is that some terms have connotations that ought to be avoided – e.g., “infinity” can be misinterpreted as a logical impossibility, and “immortality” may be confused with either being completely indestructible or with the religious sense of living forever in an afterlife. “Compression of morbidity” and “healthier lives” may make the movement for indefinite life sound too mainstream and to simply advocate a better “quality of life” between the ages of 70 and 85. Nonetheless, it seems legitimate to use any term as long as it is properly qualified. For instance, one could say, “I recognize that indefinite life extension will not achieve complete immortality, in the sense that people will still be vulnerable to accidents and human aggression, but it might achieve a potential immortality by removing any upper limit to lifespans.” The term “immortality” does attract attention to the cause of indefinite life extension, and it can keep doing this provided that it is used prudently.

“Don’t ask for money” – Agreed. There are many ways in which a person can benefit the cause of indefinite life extension without donating money. The donations will come once enough people are convinced. Let people take their time and become familiar with the issue, and then decide for themselves what to do.

“Use appeals to authority” – I think this is a valid approach *when combined* with appeals to reason and evidence. For instance, one could say, “There was this great program on X show, and in it some information was discussed that you might want to consider regarding…” This gets people interested in seeking out the program, but it also tells them something about its content right away. In this way, the discussion does not turn into an explicit advertisement, but rather the exposure of the cause becomes an appealing aside.

“Open up doors for getting involved” – Good idea here. Even a simple suggestion of “Read this” can begin crossing the chasm between exposure and action, as reading is an active, deliberate process.

“Walk away, don’t linger” – I think this depends on the person one is interacting with and the nature of the situation. For instance, one might find oneself spending a block of time in conversation with an acquaintance, and in that situation, it might be both difficult and undesirable to walk away. Changing the subject might, of course, be the equivalent, but that, too, depends on the person. I may be unusual in this, but I can generally find a set of ideas more sympathetic if I am exposed to more information about it and have my doubts competently addressed. Also, if one is in a setting where there are other listeners, an in-depth discussion might lead the listeners to contemplate the merits of indefinite life extension.

“Learn the FAQs” – Some of the important arguments that one should be able to refute right away, if they are raised, are the boredom argument, the overpopulation argument, the “playing God” argument, and the “death gives meaning to life” argument.
“If you must debate” – Agreed in full.

“Use crowd mentality to your advantage” – I agree that one-on-one discussions are the most powerful at persuading people, if one can get that opportunity. The other possible desirable forum is a structured discussion where the proponent of indefinite life extension can get at least as much time as the person(s) with whom he/she is communicating.

“Help stack credible sources” – Excellent ideas here.

“Avoid trolls” – I have met the kinds of “trolls” of whom you write. Sometimes multiple encounters are necessary even to figure out what this type of person actually believes. However, it *is* sometimes possible to understand what the person’s actual motivations, beliefs, and concerns are – often after a prolonged acquaintance. Then and only then can a serious conversation begin. Perhaps “trolling” is a kind of intellectual armor for this type of person – designed to conceal the person’s actual thoughts.

“Try the Socratic method” – Excellent ideas here.

“Use the 'used to, found, sure you would agree' formula” – This is indeed a powerful approach, and I have used it many times. It always works to some extent – at least in getting the other person to identify with you, if not to agree.

“Get back-up support where you can”, “Carry literature” – This can certainly help, as long as the person being communicated to does not feel like he is the target of a systematic advertising campaign. One of the general characteristics of the current young generation is an aversion to any situation where an explicit sense of being advertised to is present. This skepticism is understandable, even though it may not be justified in some cases. But, whether or not it is warranted, it does require some creative adaptations of one’s message to integrate it seamlessly into a conversation.

“Tell them about the organizations that seem best fitted to them” – This is a good approach, and it requires knowing something about the person, and thus enables the person to feel that the communication is for his/her benefit, and not solely for the benefit of an external cause. A good way to implement this approach is to say, “You might enjoy looking at this site; I know you are interested in [math, science, policy, fitness, nutrition, etc.]”

Sincerely,
G. Stolyarov II
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#6 brokenportal

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 02:13 AM

If you want, lets get these adjustments in to this guide. You can either reword them here, or give me feedback on this feedback and then Ill reword them.

“Avoid the devil’s advocate” – Right, devils advocates are good in certain situations. A good place to face the devils advocates is in the forum. Out in the wilds of the internet and the world though it polarizes the others and demotivates you. However, if your looking to sharpen your beak, and get better at discussing this with people, then take on a couple few many rounds of devils advocates. When setting out to go and spread the word in general though, avoid them.

“Make sure you use the right terminology” – You could use those words if you define them for the audience, but for a general guide like this then I recommend we advise against it. The general indefinite life extensionists we are working to lend a tool to with this guide may not all know how to do that properly. Trying to qualify words like Immortality makes me nervous in general, because a large part of how this cause works is through word of mouth, based on strength of premise, and as this word of mouth starts popping up in the media more and more, you know that they are going to take sound bites out of context. If we generally advocate the use of the words like Immortality in that way then it is invariably going to be broadcast here and there as "Zues-like, star trek, delusional nerd, starry eyed dreamer, Immortal highlander, national enquirer" type of stuff. Even though that would be wrong of them, thats what they do.

“Use appeals to authority” – Lets write a reasoning and evidence section. It is what all of this kind of revolves around. I had taken that part for granted when writing this. I'll write up a section here, and we can adjust and or add to it:

Use strong reasoning and evidence -
1. Explain exponential growth and what stage it is currently in with science and technology.
2. Explain the similarities between the science that needs to get done and science like it that has already had success. One good source on these examples is to read the book Ending Aging. Take notes and reread your notes, keep this as one of the questions you have in mind. For example, our lysosomes build up with indigestible material (lipofuscin) until, with old age, they are so clogged that they lose a significant amount of their function, explode, etc.. There are rare genetic lysosomal storage diseases that have already had success doing the kinds of things we need to do to eliminate the threat of indigestible material in those aging cells.
3. Appeal to humans as innovators. We invented language, fire, enlightenment, industry, tech, communications, transhumanism, and this is just another challenge along our way toward pioneering all of existence.
4. Appeal to life, but remember to assert it and not to ask them what they think about it. Say things like, "life is an incredible opportunity," and "life is fun and we can stay healthy on out indefinitely in to the grand future."

“Walk away, don’t linger” – Im not to strong on this one for some of the reasons your getting at. We'll have to rethink this one. Maybe it falls under a another heading through a similar perspective.

“Use crowd mentality to your advantage” – True, we could add a section to this for special situations, like if a person were to arrange a radio interview or something like that.

“Avoid trolls” – Right, there are different degrees to which people are trolls, or look like trolls but may not be. However, we just want to get this idea out there in general, remind people of this, and let them know thats its alright to forgo working to inform a person that they are pretty sure is a troll. Like these guys:


“Get back-up support where you can”, “Carry literature” – Are you lumping "get back-up support" in to this? The one person is there to nod and agree mostly, not to finish each others sentences as they tell you all about it. That is true about literature. We'll have to rethink this one. Its good to spread pamphlets and posters around in public pamphlet racks and pin up boards, people see this in writing and are more apt to seriously contemplate its validity. If you do this in your area, and you and a few others are talking to a lot of people, maybe a few students gave speeches about it, etc.. then chances are many of those people are going to happen across your pamphlets. This also helps begin stacking. Like you say though, handing pamphlets to new people is probably not the best strategy, not on the first meeting, perhaps in later meetings. You can carry one in your car, book, folder etc.. so that if a natural reference to it comes up you can go and get it.

#7 G. Stolyarov II

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Posted 25 August 2010 - 06:30 AM

Eric,

Here is my suggested wording for this guide. I have gone through each section to work on grammar and phrasing; I have also supplemented many sections and added several ones per our discussion here. I have tried to synthesize the ideas in both your and my most recent posts.

Sincerely,
G. Stolyarov II

***

A guide to getting through to the fence sitters, the skeptics, the uninformed, and the pro-aging trancists.

Inform; do not debate - Though debating can work, it’s going to wear you out – and many times it leaves most people in the vicinity less convinced or polarized against you. Instead what you can try more often than not is to inform people. When you inform them, you take away their natural ins for saying “yes, but“ or “what about“. When you inform them, you are coming from more of a place of authority, saying, “This is how it is,” not, “What do you think about this?” Tell them; don’t ask them to accept it.

However, there is an exception to this rule. Never allow an argument in favor of human mortality to remain unchallenged. If someone presents an argument against life extension, then this argument should be addressed as part of the information process. But the expectation should not be to convince the person on the spot, but rather to get him or her to think about the issue. Most people with well-developed worldviews will not be swayed as a result of a single discussion, but a seed of doubt could be planted and could germinate over time.

Avoid the devil’s advocate - It is many people’s natural inclination to take the devil’s advocate side of almost any discussion. Try it, tell somebody they are cool and you’ll likely find them arguing against you. Keep this in mind so you can stay the heck away from it. Having discussions with either side playing the devil’s advocate is better suited to situations where you want to hone your argumentation skills, but persuasion requires a more conciliatory approach.

A good tactic in discussing indefinite life extension with the general public is the opposite of the devil’s advocate: show the other person how much you have in common and work from there. Concede any valid points the other person makes and build off of them, working them into the indefinite life extension message.

Realize that some people have coached themselves to accept death - Remember that some people have spent much of their lives (realizing imminent death) convincing themselves why death is alright. They have not been clever or brave enough to contemplate and heed the call of duty to execute the solutions. Don’t let them tell you what their reasoning is. Just give them the authoritative information about what is going on with the movement for indefinite life extension and let it sink in. Sometimes it will; sometimes it will not – but you might be surprised at how powerful challenging the inevitability of death can be. For many people, the rationalizations of death will no longer be appealing if they recognize that indefinite life is achievable.

Make sure you use the right terminology - Just a little well-meaning but misplaced terminology can ruin a whole session of getting through to somebody about the cause. Your listener may associate certain terms with ideas and imagery that conjure up stereotypes and misunderstandings. Do not use “immortality”, “infinity”, “live forever”, “comprehension of morbidity”, “healthier lives”, or “life extension”, unless you can competently qualify them and elaborate on their meaning – and you are sure that your use of these words will not be taken out of context. More straightforward terms to use are “indefinite life spans”, ”indefinite life extension”, “unlimited life spans”, or “unlimited life extension”. These terms avoid unnecessary confusion and misinterpretation.

Don’t ask for money - If the other person is new to the idea of indefinite life extension, don’t mention money. Especially don’t ask for money. Don’t mention how the cause would be advanced if we just had xxx many more dollars. The other person will rightly smell a scam, tune you out, and look for the exit.

Use strong reasoning and evidence -
1. Explain exponential growth and what stage it is currently in with science and technology.
2. Explain the similarities between the science that needs to get done and similar science that has already had success. One good source on these examples is to read the book Ending Aging. Take notes and reread your notes; keep this as one of the questions you have in mind. For example, our lysosomes build up with indigestible material (lipofuscin) until, with old age, they are so clogged that they lose a significant amount of their function, explode, etc. There are rare genetic lysosomal storage diseases that have already had success doing the kinds of things we need to do to eliminate the threat of indigestible material in those aging cells.
3. Appeal to humans as innovators. We invented language, fire, enlightenment, industry, technology, communications, transhumanism, and this is just another challenge along our way toward pioneering all of existence.
4. Appeal to life, but remember to assert it and not to ask them what they think about it. Say things like, "Life is an incredible opportunity," and "Life is fun and we can stay healthy on out indefinitely in to the grand future."

Use appeals to authority and success - Mention all the great things the cause has accomplished already. International conferences have been held, and books have been published. Proponents of indefinite life extension have been on CNN, BBC, 60 Minutes, The History Channel, The Colbert Report, Barbara Walters Special, and many other programs. The cause has already raised its first millions from one of the main guys at PayPal and Facebook. This is an important one. Use it. Highlighting the cause’s successes in addition to the logic behind it will make a positive impression on all fronts.

Open up doors for getting involved - Point them to a simple way to get involved, which is simply to register at ImmInst or any of the other organizations. Reading is also a great way to start, as it bridges the gap between thought and action.

Learn the FAQs - An object of this guide is to try to get through to people without them arguing with you. If it does come to that, and one or two buts and what ifs do slip through, which they do sometimes, even if you follow this guide, then be sure you are familiar with cause FAQs. Most websites of organizations devoted to indefinite life extension have a FAQ page. It’s a rundown of answers to all the nauseatingly flippant comments and questions that not-yet indefinite life extension supporters ask about it. Some of the important arguments that one should be able to refute right away, if they are raised, are the boredom argument, the overpopulation argument, the “playing God” argument, and the “death gives meaning to life” argument.

If you must debate - If you must debate somebody, then get practiced and do it convincingly.

Use crowd mentality to your advantage - Remember the crowd mentality. Try to discuss indefinite life extension with people one-on-one when you can. Crowds of people who haven’t heard about it before can and will likely easily over power you with devil’s advocate knee-jerk un-thought-out reactions.

Seek out opportunities for far-reaching exposure - One-on-one discussions work best in ordinary conversation, but another excellent way of communicating about indefinite life extension is to speak to large numbers of people in a structured manner. An interview, a lecture, or a formal debate where each side gets approximately equal time are all good ways to spread the cause without being subject to the crowd mentality. These forums give you a position of authority as an active participant; use it to get your audience informed about the issue. Try to get these opportunities to speak whenever you can.

Help stack credible sources - If you tell somebody about indefinite life extension and they don’t catch on right away, don’t despair. Know that by getting the information out there you are doing a stellar job, a needed, priceless job. Remember this because it has been found, and is rather intuitive, that people usually have to hear about a new concept from around 3 or 4 sources that they view as credible before they begin to consider it. Help fill in those first and second and third times they’ve heard it. We are out here with you; with your help, together, we are getting this job done.

Avoid trolls - If you can see that the person likes to argue for the sake of argument; if you can see the person wants to be right no matter what the issue is; if you can see that the person is contrary about everything, just avoid that person. He or she still needs to mature. We can come back to such people at a date later down the road.

Try the Socratic method - Work the Socratic method into your information dissemination routines when you can. Give it a try once in a while. You might find that it’s the best strategy for you. Socrates would use the method of asking people questions to get them to start arguing his point for him. You can read up on it by searching for “Socratic method” on Google. It works brilliantly when done right.

Use the “used to, found, sure you would agree” formula - There is a general formula for turning a disagreement into an agreement, and we find that it works quite frequently. It is really just the opposite of being the contrarian. It’s a positive way to get a sincere win-win situation. The general formula is “I used to think that… What I’ve found is …. I’m sure you would agree.” For example, “I used to think that population might be too disruptive to this cause, too. What I’ve found is that there may be an underpopulation problem, and that if we can achieve indefinite life extension, that population issue will be a cake-walk – I’m sure you would agree.” I learned this in Steven Covey’s 7 Secrets of Highly Successful People. If you haven’t read that book yet, and want to read up about this approach more, check it out.

Get back-up support where you can - If you are going to a party or another social event, bring a life-extensionist friend. If you are evangelizing in the halls of your school, then bring a life-extensionist friend. If you are going out into the forums of the Internet talking about this, send a link to your friend. (Better yet, join our internetworking team where we coordinate that.) By doing this you are beginning to establish that the crowd mentality may actually go in your favor, and listeners might just be inclined to get on your side just for that reason. Then, of course, when it comes to getting through to people, the more support the better.

Carry literature - There are studies that show that people are more inclined to believe what they see in writing. ImmInst has a pamphlet, a book, and other things you can use. Make sure you integrate this literature seamlessly into any conversation. In your mannerisms and presentation of the reading materials, do not give the impression that you are advertising. Appearing to be a salesman instead of an advocate of a new way of thinking may damage your credibility. Most people will be more receptive to being handed literature after several conversations. You can keep copies in convenient places – your car, your house, your bag, your folder – for distribution when the time seems right. If a natural reference to the literature comes up in a conversation, that is your chance.

Tell them about the organizations that seem best fitted to them - If they are scientific/mathematical kinds of people, then direct them to SENS and use ImmInst as a footnote. If they are activists or scientific and advocacy-inclined, then send them to ImmInst and SENS. If they hate science, send them to ImmInst. If they are millionaire investors, then send them to MaxLife. If they are looking for a mid-range investment right now, then send them to Methuselah Foundation. If they want to know about cryonics, then send them to the cryonics organizations and throw in ImmInst as a footnote. If they are politically active, then send them to the Coalition to Extend Lives and ImmInst. If they are pretty conservative, then send them to the Campaign for Aging Research and the Methuselah Foundation. There can, of course, be many other permutations of interests and possible organizations that will intrigue a particular person. If you don’t have time to go through all that with them, then give them some of your ImmInst literature that you carry with you.

If you use these techniques, then share your stories of getting through to people here. If you have additional techniques, then please share them as well.
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#8 brokenportal

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Posted 27 August 2010 - 04:02 AM

Thanks, I like these adjustments. If somebody can, give this guide a little more feedback before tomorrow, Ill then either edit this in to the topic tomorrow or soon after.

#9 brokenportal

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Posted 05 September 2010 - 06:14 PM

Here is the original draft. We have now adjusted and updated this in the topic. Thanks a million Stoly. We can go over it some more at our leisure but I think this is about 95% to 100% there now.


A guide to getting through to the fence sitters, skeptics, the uninformed, and the pro aging trancists.

Inform not debate- Though debating can work, its going to wear you out and many times it leaves most people in the vicinity less convinced or polarized against you. Instead what you can try more times than not is to inform people. When you inform them you take away their natural ins for saying 'yes but' or 'what about'. When you inform them you are coming from more of a place of authority saying this is how it is, not, what do you think about this? Tell them, don’t ask them to accept it.

Avoid the devils advocate- It is a persons natural inclination to take the devils advocate side of most any discussion. Try it, tell somebody they are cool and youll likely find them arguing against you. Keep this in mind so you can stay the heck away from it.

Realize that some people have coached themselves to accept death- Remember that some people have spent much of their lives, (realizing imminent death) convincing themselves why death is alright. (having not been clever or brave enough to contemplate and heed the call of duty to execute the solutions. ) Don’t let them tell you what their reasoning is. Just give them the authoritative information about what is going on with the movement for indefinite life extension and let is sink in if it will, or not.

Make sure you use the right terminology- Just a little well meaning misplaced terminology can ruin a whole session of getting through to somebody about the cause. Do not use Immortality, infinity, live forever, comprehension of morbidity, healthier lives, or life extension. Use indefinite life spans, indefinite life extension, unlimited life spans or unlimited life extension.

Don’t ask for money- If they are a new person don’t mention money, especially don’t ask for money. Don’t mention how if we just had xxx many more dollars. They rightly smell scam and tune you out and look for the exit.

Use appeals to authority- Mention all the great things the cause has accomplished already. International conferences, books, been on cnn, bbc, 60 minutes, history channel, Colbert Report, Barbara Walters Special and many others. Has already raised its first millions from one of the main guys at paypal and facebook. This is an important one. Use these.

Open up doors for getting involved- Point them to a simple way to get involved, which is simply to register at Imminst or any of the other organizations.

Walk away, don’t linger- After you have informed them then walk away. Develop a short 1 minute intro and leave a pamphlet if you want but don’t let the time linger because it will give them more opportunity to throw in buts and what ifs. By walking away you let them figure out the buts and what ifs in their own head with out more times out of ten discussing it with them and causing them to go devils advocate and polarize them against what your saying.

Learn the faqs- An object of this guide is to try to get through to them with out them arguing with you. If it does come to that, and one or two buts and what ifs do slip through, which they do sometimes, even if you follow this guide, then be sure you are familiar with cause faqs. Most places have one. It’s a run down of answers to all the nauseatingly flippant comments and questions that not yet indefinite life extension supporters ask about it.

If you must debate- If you must debate somebody then get practiced and do it convincingly.

Use crowd mentality to your advantage- Remember the crowd mentality. Try to discuss this with people one on one when you can. Crowds of people who haven’t heard this before can and will likely easily over power you with devils advocate knee jerk unthought out reaction.

Help stack credible sources- If you tell somebody about this and they don’t catch on right away, don’t despair. Know that by getting the information out there you are doing a stellar job, a needed, priceless job. Remember this because it has been found, and is rather intuitable that a person usually has to hear about a new concept from around 3 or 4 sources that they view as credible before they begin to consider it. Help fill in those first and second and third times they’ve heard it. We are out here with you, with your help, together we are getting this job done.

Avoid trolls- If you can see that the person likes to argue for the sake of argument. If you can see the person wants to be right no matter what the issue is, if you can see that the person is contrary about everything, just avoid that person. They still need to mature. We can come back to them at a date later down the road.

Try the Socratic method- Work the Socratic method into your information dissemination routines when you can. Give it a try once in a while. You might find that it’s the best strategy for you. Socrates would use the method of asking the person questions to get them to start arguing his point for him. You can read up about it in google. It works brilliantly when done right.

Use the 'used to, found, sure you would agree' formula- There is a general formula for turning a disagreement into an agreement and I find that it very often times works. Its really just the opposite of being the contrarian. It’s a positive way to get a sincere win win. The general formula is “I used to think that – what Ive found is ….. – Im sure you would agree.” For example, “I used to think that population might be too disruptive to this cause too, what Ive found is that there may be an underpopulation problem and that if we can create indefinite life extension that population will be a cake walk, Im sure you would agree.” I learned this in Steven Covey s 7 Secrets of Highly Successful People. If you haven’t read that yet, and want to read up about this more, check that out.

Get back-up support where you can- If your going to a party or an event, bring a life extensionist friend. If your evangelizing in the halls of your school then bring a life extensionist friend. If your going out into the forums of the internet talking about this, send a link to your friend (better yet join our internetworking team where we coordinate that). By doing this you are beginning to establish that the crowd mentality may actually go in your favor and they might just be inclined to get on your side just for that reason. Then of course, the more support the better when it comes to getting through to people.

Carry literature- There are studies that show that people are more inclined to believe what they see in writing. Imminst has a pamphlet, a book, and other things you can use.

Tell them about the organizations that seem best fitted to them- If they are a scientific kind of mathematical person then direct them to SENS and use Imminst as a footnote. If they are an activist or scientific and advocacy inclined then send them to Imminst and SENS. If they hate science, send them to Imminst. If they are a millionaire investor then send them to MaxLife. If they are looking for a mid range investment right now then send them to Methuselah Foundation. If they want to know about cryonics then send them to the cryonics organizations and throw in Imminst as a footnote. If they are politically active then send them to the Coalition to Extend lives and Imminst. If they are pretty conservative then send them to the Campaign for Aging Research and the Methuselah Foundation, etc… If you don’t have time to go through all that with them then give them some of your Imminst literature that you carry with you.


If you use these techniques, then share your stories of getting through to people here. If you have additional techniques then please share them as well.



#10 Pour_la_Science

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Posted 24 January 2011 - 08:37 PM

Learn the FAQs - An object of this guide is to try to get through to people without them arguing with you. If it does come to that, and one or two buts and what ifs do slip through, which they do sometimes, even if you follow this guide, then be sure you are familiar with cause FAQs. Most websites of organizations devoted to indefinite life extension have a FAQ page. It's a rundown of answers to all the nauseatingly flippant comments and questions that not-yet indefinite life extension supporters ask about it. Some of the important arguments that one should be able to refute right away, if they are raised, are the boredom argument, the overpopulation argument, the "playing God" argument, and the "death gives meaning to life" argument.


Superb guide! It's very inspiring.
But I was wondering about this FAQ, trying not to reinvent the wheel. Is it a future project (I would be happy to contribut if that so) or actually a section of the forum (that I didn't find sorry) ?

Okay, just seen that. Good work! Sorry for the question. And i put the link for others :
http://www.sens.org/sens-research/faq (maybe it would be interesting to put a direct access link from the ImmInst forum?

Use the “used to, found, sure you would agree” formula - I learned this in Steven Covey’s 7 Secrets of Highly Successful People. If you haven’t read that book yet, and want to read up about this approach more, check it out.

I'd like to try that. Is it rather "the 7 habits of highy effective people"?

Edited by Pour_la_Science, 24 January 2011 - 08:53 PM.

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#11 brokenportal

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Posted 21 February 2011 - 07:11 AM

And i put the link for others :
http://www.sens.org/sens-research/faq (maybe it would be interesting to put a direct access link from the ImmInst forum?


To the faq or this guide? We will likely be working on getting the imminst faq or that and the guide into a page that covers these as part of a theme. It will still need to pass approval but we'll see. The guide is already part of an intro that some of us are working on.

I'd like to try that. Is it rather "the 7 habits of highy effective people"?


Yes, it is that rather.

Its good to practice. For example, you meet a person who is worked up about a long line at the grocery store. To use this formula,(the idea is to make the formula a habit of your regular discourse) you would say something like, "Gees, I know what you mean, I used to think the same thing. What Ive found is that sometimes Im the one unwittingly holding up the line, and not to mention, in the old days this was common. One time as another example I was getting worked up and when I looked I realized the machine was printing out peoples receipts extremely slowly. Things like this are hard for them to plan for. Im sure you would agree."

If you just say, "shit happens dude, settle down" it probably would not have nearly as positive of an effect. He'll probably get even more pissed off the next time it happens. If we were to only use just one other part of the equation like, "this happens to me sometimes too, no big deal" then that neither would likely have the same effect.

Edited by brokenportal, 21 February 2011 - 07:14 AM.


#12 MentalParadox

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Posted 21 February 2011 - 11:01 AM

"Tell them about the organizations that seem best fitted to them - If they are scientific/mathematical kinds of people, then direct them to SENS and use ImmInst as a footnote. If they are activists or scientific and advocacy-inclined, then send them to ImmInst and SENS. If they hate science, send them to ImmInst. "

What's up with that? Don't we adhere to the scientific method here at ImmInst/LongeCity? Also, isn't skeptisicm a healthy approach to science?

Other than that, great guide =p
I think I'll have to hone my debating skills though. Most often, they would question something I said while I KNOW there is way to prove him wrong, but then I can't remember what facts to use to destroy their argument.

Edited by Timotheos Aionon, 21 February 2011 - 11:03 AM.


#13 brokenportal

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 08:37 PM

At the end of each day, ask your self if you have spread the word or talked about the cause at least one time. If the answer is no then work to develop it into a habit. If there are, I don't know, 100,000 indefinite life extensionists right now, and before each day is over an average of say, 1,000 people have talked about the cause somewhere, then that means that the cause lost 99,000 opportunities that day. That all adds up incredibly fast.

The world depends on you. They don't know about this cause, but you do. They are dying and they don't know or aren't completely aware that they can be a part of the success of this cause yet. They, their lives depend on you. Your life depends on you spreading the word. We can't all be researchers or speakers or philanthropists and the like, but we can all open our mouths, write a letter, type a message.

We all sort of have to spread the word. So if you remember, try to get into the habit of asking yourself if you have spread the word about the cause at least one time for the day, each day before you go to sleep.

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#14 brokenportal

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 11:12 PM

-Guide to Getting Through to the Fence Sitters, the Skeptics, the Uninformed, and the Pro-Aging Trancists


This is mainly done through informing


Gradually and incrementally a person gets used to anything,


This guide can bit daunting. Not a lot, but it can be hard to absorb this all in one or two reads through. Practicing it from time to time is the main way to get the hang of it. I'm quoting some important points here to help extract a few of the key ones for consideration.




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