New game new rules, new lessons hard won.
First off, everyone has motives, and almost no one states their true motives outright, you don’t understand the playing field, you don’t know what everyone wants.
This is modelling, the first tool in the new game. Figuring out from what someone says, what they actually mean, want, and plan on doing, especially when what they say differs from their actions.
You model Nem as planning on murdering you for stealing his secrets. Should probably do something about that.
You also realize that in comparison to some of the other people out there doing what Nem does, Nem was a half two-bit con-artist at best. His attacks were simple, crude, and unformed. For all his talk about honing you into an elegant weapon, he seemed to rely mostly on brute force to get what he wanted. Basic things. Charm, poise, having a ready made answer for everything, easy stuff.
But you could see the crude usage of his other weapons, and what their full potential might be.
His first weapon is Frame Building and Control, telling a compelling story that fit the stories other people were already telling about themselves, making himself the center of all of those stories, and weaving himself into the dominant position in a vast and interesting narrative.
It’s easy to catch people with no awareness using frame control. “Yeah, of course, you can join us at our hidden base, just pack up everything you own and come to this random spot in the middle of nowhere with it all.” And it sounds kind of insane that someone would fall for that, but if they haven’t learned that lesson, Nem is happy to teach it and make off with all their stuff in the process.
It’s also easy to gently steer people back into your narrative when they try to break free of it, having answers to all their questions ready to go inside the frame you’re weaving.
It clearly works. After all, you fell for it. The only reason Nem kept you around was that he saw potential in you, and you didn’t have much worth murdering you for. But you were only ever a tool to him, a piece on the board of that other game you’re just now realising exists.
Then there’s Frame Linking. That’s the part where Nem connected your dreams of glory together with his ability, making the act of following him seem like the best thing to do from within your existing narrative framework.
Next, there’s meta-reframing. Taking the framework someone else is using and incorporating it into a larger framework that exists at the next level up.
Lastly, and most directly, there’s outright attacking the other person’s frame.
In the practical application of the Art, to destroy a person or drive them to self-harm is not so good. Better to take a person whole, with their faculties intact.
Thus, the highest use of the art is to balk your opponent’s plans and shatter their expectations.
The next highest is to prevent the formation of your opponents frameworks.
The next highest is to attack their ideas directly in an open field.
And the worst policy of all is to lay siege to entrenched memeplexes.
There seem to be a few general sorts of frames and stances. These are not inherent or genetic, they’re mostly learned, and learning more of them gives you more weapons.
There’s a control stance, attempting to surround their framework with your own.
There’s a divide stance, splitting your narrative into parts and revealing only facets of it.
There’s an attack stance, directly striking at the framework of another person.
There’s a defense stance, attempting to strengthen your own framework against attack.
And there’s a resist stance, where you abandon any particular framework as soon as it comes under attack.
This lets you build your own band, your own group of followers, and you’re playing the game on a whole new level. There are more levels and more moves, and even if you can’t see them, you know they’re out there. You can see the lines being drawn in between all the social interactions, and now there’s no going back.