Changing the Future

Imagine for a moment that the state of the world is on a trajectory towards some specific future.


We don’t necessarily know what that future is, but lots of people are interested in diverting its path in different specific ways to change where it ends up.

They may be focused on a specific human issue (ex: human rights, existential risk), the interest of a group or cause (ex: NAACP, NRA, nations), or towards some other purpose (ex:  personal interest, stock prices, vendettas, etc.)

We’ll call these people Movers since they want to move the direction the future is going.

The movers aren’t just left alone to change the world however they like though. Some people think there is a larger possible benefit to changing the world if they go around changing the Movers. We’ll call these people the Shakers.

Shakers have a variety of methods for changing the world, but they are notable for their interactions and alterations of the movers. Shakers may supercharge movers by giving them new skills or funding (ex: YCombinator), intentionally weaken certain movers so they can’t have such a large effect, divert certain movers towards directions the shakers think are superior (Effective Altruism), group movers together for coordination purposes, or even just outright kill (or create new) movers.


Important defining features of the Shakers are that they change the movers and that they are most often noticeable so long as you make a small effort to look for them.

There is one additional group I’d like to cover, though: The Mindbenders.


Mindbenders are people who can subtle create very large changes to both the movers, the shakers, and other mindbenders. They can alter the way in which people think about the entire playing field of possible futures and change the course through those means. Mindbenders can create new philosophies, ways of interpreting the world, give people visions of alternate possible futures, redefine the way people think inside entire ethical systems, directly alter cultures for hundreds of years, break into the very nature of abstraction and human thought itself, and do much much more.

But those are the blatantly obvious mindbenders. More subtle mindbenders can alter the way in which people think by framing the information you receive to manipulate your reactions and conclusions. They can manipulate consensus impressions of reality in order to do things like limit the possible future outcomes or convince people that impossible outcomes are possible or they can alter the results of studies to manipulate scientific consensus on a topic. They can even lead movers and shakers to work towards accomplishing entirely different goals than they thought they were. The worst mindbender of them all is likely The Labyrinth (see future posts), but there are likely plenty that are near impossible to identify or easily understand.

Mindbenders attempt to change the future by changing the minds of every person in the entire game or all of the minds in the local regions around them. They are powerful and extraordinarily difficult to escape.

Thinking outside of the models and narratives mindbenders create around us requires being able to reject their entire models (see upcoming Rejecting Other’s Models post), breaking out of mental narratives, seeing with fresh eyes, being able to actually change our minds, making decisions based directly upon our personal observations of reality around us, and intuitively understanding the reifier’s first rule.


The first rule is that being aware of the rule lets you break the rule. Now that you’re aware of mindbenders, you might be able to start breaking out of their constraints.


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