Dilution or 'How to Squander Your Power'

26 Nov 2023

This was originally posted in the newsletter.

The #1 way you lose the ability to have fun is through DILUTION.

Fun comes from possessing initiative.

Dilution is a way we often lose initiative. Due to dilution, things grind to halt. You feel busy. Put upon. Tired. Like walls are closing in on you. As if few people respect you.

Like the world is a shitsack.

But to understand how dilution is a cause of many of our woes, we’re going to have to look at concentration.

The Importance of Concentration
Concentration in Culture and Politics

READING TIME: 11 minutes

The Importance of Concentration

Remember: the more precise an aim is, the easier it is to hit the target.

The more parts you bring to bear on something smaller, the easier it will be to control that thing.

From The Thirty-Six Strategems, we have “Besiege Wèi to rescue Zhào”. Concentrating your forces against the weakest part of an enemy’s forces is a rule-of-thumb that’s been found over and over again.

I’ve got this page taped next to my home computer. Hidden in it might be the answer about why so many people feel powerless, at a time when we have access to more material capability than ever before.

Benson's Navy Doctrine

Concentration isn’t just about war, though.

Public Choice Theory highlights the asymmetric effectiveness of single-interest groups in influencing public policy.

“Spotting” in dance is another example. Keeping your attention on a tiny target makes it easier to coordinate a whole body.

Concentration in Culture and Politics

When making laws, politicians get most of their information from lobbyists.

Groups do this by concentrating on individual politicians with individual requests. They make things easy for one person (a politician) to do their job.

Let’s say you’re politician and there’s public demand for safer tractors.

However, you’ve never ridden a tractor in your life.

That’s when a helpful lobbyist might come along and provide you with expert information on tractors. They’ll even prepare your arguments for you, so you’ll know how to sell your decisions to the public. They will provide you protection from the public- when it comes to tractors.

Lobbyists can only do this by concentrating on one thing at a time.

One person at a time, so they can craft bespoke solutions for that person. They save individual politicians time, and in the long-term, get them money.

Contrast that to the average member of the public.

Framework for Corporate Political Action

In this framework, most people are stuck in battles that are completely diluted. Majoritarian Politics.

Our interests are vague, and we have many. They’re all important. And every interest is the most important! We care about the latest political news trends, and repeat opinions on those.

A lobbyist might give a politician’s wife her favorite (and hard to find) ceremonial cacao with a heartfelt thank you note.

We might type angrily on Twitter or make fun of the other half of the public. One method is concentrated, the other is diluted.

Set the laws, and you set the game. Set the game, and you set the culture.

Set the culture, and people will play into your hands.


This is dilution in action.

It is often downstream of divide and conquer.

When someone is successfully divided, their actions are diluted.

Signs a group or an individual are diluted:

In short, there is no prioritization.