“Many things are not well understood by us not because our concepts are weak, but because those things lay outside of our concepts”
Definition of the term “manipulation”
Let us define manipulation as a human control tool that is necessary to make people do something they would never do (or, the other way round, to make them abstain from the actions they must take) unless this tool is applied.
Lie is a natural companion and the most obvious mark of manipulation. If someone tries to control a person or a group of people, but the goals and the way to achieve them are not agreed, there will always be a strong opposition. In this case, the initiators of the managerial actions have to choose between two ways of behavior:
- they can try to force people into doing what is imposed on them, in other words: to break the resistance (explicit management);
- or to disguise the managerial actions, so that they don’t provoke any objections (implicit management).
Is it morally acceptable to control people secretly and against their will? It depends on how moral the manager’s goals are. It is immoral, if the goal is to get one’s own personal profit at the expense of someone else. As a rule, manipulation is ill intended, so let us consider manipulation as an act of controlling someone against his or her will, which brings any kind of profit to the initiator only. Let us call the initiator of the manipulation a manipulator and a person the action is aimed at – a prey (for manipulators).
This way manipulation is a kind of implicit management that is characterized by selfish goals set by a manipulator, inflicting harm (either material or psychological) on one’s prey.
It is impossible to manipulate unless necessary conditions are provided. Bruno Bettelheim describes these conditions in The Informed Heart: Autonomy in a Mass Age. In this book we can find manipulation specifications that include the following rules:
- Rule 1. Make a person do useless work.
- Rule 2. Bring in conflicting rules, so it is inevitable to break them.
- Rule 3. Use collective responsibility.
- Rule 4. Make people believe that nothing depends on them.
- Rule 5. Make people pretend that they see or hear nothing
- Rule 6. Make people cross the line.
All the time the manipulator, unintentionally, nevertheless insistently, tries to create the atmosphere of disunity, when «homo homini lupus est» (“a man is a wolf to another man”) and there is no such notion as “one of us”. In order to achieve that one must make people discard rectitude. You know it is discarded when one betrays and devours one’s ally.
For ages, in their attempts to get rid of rats, people used the method that is at the same time the brightest and the most fitting way to manipulate Homo sapiens.
“First of all these animals are famous for their incredible ability to survive in any kind of conditions. They owe this ability to social cohesion. Rats are incredibly social animals. They cooperate in any kind of actions, help and protect one another; they even ‘evacuate’ the wounded ones, if possible. Rats feel and behave like an organic whole. They exchange information, warn the others about danger and teach protection skills extremely quickly. There is no personal interest in such kind of behavior. The protection mechanism has moral nature”
American biologists conducted an experiment, which proved that rats help their comrades purposefully and even share specialties with them, though have all the possibilities to eat them alone. Rats help each other to get out of traps, even though the released one stays in a separate room (so this prosocial behavior cannot be explained as a desire to find a friend in order not to be alone any more). Obviously, when a rat sees a locked relative, it feels negative emotions and, to get rid of them, it needs to help the trapped one.
One of the most effective ways to fight against rats is to ruin their protection scheme. One should ruin their morality first, as it is the basis of their protection. Of course, it is impossible to destroy everyone’s moral values. Nevertheless, a single individual is far more vulnerable to such destructive influence, though much time is necessary to reprogram someone’s mind. Therefore, manipulators work gradually. They create necessary conditions, so that rationality becomes of crucial importance. The main thing is to make the object of manipulation take the first step (commit the tabooed action).
It is achieved in the following way. They take a big strong rat and make it starve for a long time. Then they place a dead rat in the same cage. After some hesitation, the alive one devours its lifeless fellow. Rational logic tells it, that the dead rat is not “a fellow” now, it is food: “It doesn’t care of anything anymore, I need to survive, so I need food.”
The next step is even more immoral. They place a barely alive animal in the cage. New “food” is almost dead, but still alive. Again, rational logic tells the rat what to do: “Another rat will die anyway, but I need to live.” Once more, the rat eats another rat, but alive one this time.
At last, they use alive and healthy “food”, but it is a weak rat. The strong one uses rational logic again. It says to itself: “There is nothing to eat anyway. Why should we both die? Let the strongest survive.” Of course, the strongest survives.
Every time the rat needed less time to take a decision. Meanwhile the amorality level grew higher. At some point, the rat stopped thinking at all. It treated other rats as food. If another rat appeared in a cage, the cannibal immediately attacked the newcomer and ate it. When the rat stopped thinking if it should eat or not, its morality was destroyed. Later it returned to the rat society, it had left some time before. However, this rat was different after its return. It had no virtues. Its actions depended on its selfish logic. Nevertheless, the other rats didn’t know it. They accepted it as one of them and trusted it.
Soon the creature that looked like a rat concluded that there was no need to hunt for food if it is all around, fresh and warm. Again, actions depended on rational logic. Rat eater chose an unwitting prey and devoured it.
When it is necessary to train a consumer, they use absolutely the same rat-scheme. The idea is simple. Consumer society demands consuming. Any restrictions are dangerous, so we must remove them immediately and with no regrets. If something doesn’t let you consume, just trash it! Seize the day! Ask for more! Love yourself! Children? No, not now, later … better never. Parents? Dinosaurs! They belong to the old folks home.
Consumer society teaches you – there are no close ones around. Everyone is a stranger, everyone can be your “food”. The best “dishes” are the people who are close to you and don’t realize, that you see them as a meal. They trust you, you devour them.
Human nature resists such behavior. In this case, it is necessary to roll out the big guns:
Such a show as “Survivor” attracted millions of viewers. At the same time, its idea is absolutely cannibalistic. In extreme conditions people should stick together to survive, but in this show they must regularly “eat” one member of the tribe. This scheme is identical to the technology of breeding rat cannibals – the main point is to ruin any kind of morality. Such a notion as “one of us” is eliminated by any means.
There are no close ones even in a family. Especially in a family! That’s the area where our rat breeders have the best opportunity show their skills. Ask Google “how to be a bad guy” and you can easily find tips like: “Become the center of your world. You exist primarily to make yourself happy – others are secondary.” Another interesting query is “how to be a bitch”. You will learn that a bitch is more attractive to guys than a nice girl. If a woman wants to become one, she should (according to the articles):
- sleep with her friend’s guys;
- press people to get what she wants;
- always have it her way;
- never apologise…
The next stage of “bitch education” is taking part in beauty pageants (sounds like ratty pageants to me) or reality shows of all kinds, like the above-mentioned “Survivor“.
Nothing personal, it’s just business
The same philosophy is easily used in economy, where cooperation and team spirit are replaced with the cannibalistic idea, reflected in such mottos as Nothing personal, it’s just business and Bolivar cannot carry double. In the sly, the same idea is applied in politics. In this area slow but sure campaign managers train cannibals like rat breeders train rat eaters:
“The first stage (eating the corpse) – a promise to do that what is obviously impossible. General idea: if you don’t promise everything under the Sun, you are not going to be elected. Another one will be voted for, the one who is much worse than you are but promises everything one’s mouth can articulate. Anyway, society will be deceived but in the latter case you‘ll be left an outsider and in the former – among the chosen ones. The former is more attractive.
The second stage (eating a barely alive mate) is selling the right to membership in one’s party. The idea behind it all is obvious – I need money for the election campaign. If I try being honest, the money will flow to the rival’s pocket. Someone is going to take that money anyway, and that’s the one who’ll be elected. Better it’s me, than anyone else.
The third stage (eating an alive and healthy mate) implies lobbying for the laws that harm the country. The logical chain is the same. If one refuses to rob the society openly, someone else will do that. It makes no difference who helps cannibalistic bills to become laws if it is going to happen anyway.
As a result, nowadays political sphere turns into a crowd of third-stage rats. They have nothing sacred, nothing personal, just business. This process cannot stop. It will even make progress on the basis of rationality.”
Rat cannibals have two problems, but both are global and insolvable.
Rat cannibals are in constant fear, as, eating another rat, they always risk becoming a meal themselves. Even if one’s teeth are strong and nose works well, there is always a danger of easing the grip or a stab in the back. Somewhere near there is another cannibal with a much stronger dental system. It’s watching other rats, looking for a fatter prey… No wonder moguls have such tense faces – these are the faces, of people, sentenced to be eaten alive.
The population of cannibals should be supported on the same level, as they cannot reproduce on their own, but are easily recruited. Ironically, at the same time they support and reproduce their own rivals, who… vide supra.
Well, what about those who are not ready to walk over people and have humans for lunch? What can they do? How can they survive when in any metropolis the amount of cannibals per m2 is more than the amount of those square meters? In Alien it is easy to identify the extraterrestrial creature thanks to its looks, but the local cannibals look, behave and smell like regular people or even better. Here the main or even the only hallmark is cannibals’ passion for manipulating other people no matter what. For those who have eyes to see, let them see…
Rats vs. rat-eaters
“When rat-community had no doubts that there was a wolf in sheep’s clothing in it, rats just left the place. This happened 100 times out of 100. They seemed afraid to be poisoned with the vibes of the transformed rat. They dreaded becoming the same. They felt by instinct that if their mind absorbed the new ideas, any kind of control or order would be lost in their community, a new community of traitors and consumers would be born. The atmosphere of immorality would destroy the mechanism of social defense and that would be the end for every one of them”.
Nowadays human society demonstrates something like this, though unconsciously, as a reflection on the present situation. Downshifting (deliberate change from upper classes, where there are more cannibals, to lower ones, where there are fewer) – is an instinctive but absolutely correct reproduction of the natural wisdom of rat society. Moreover, downshifting is not a brand new trend. Diogenes, Diocletian, Leo Tolstoy are the most famous among conscious downshifters.
Many young people are instinctive downshifters nowadays. They refuse to join the rat race for money and career. They are bored with shallow intrigues accompanying the fight for the position of the fourth assistant of the fifth manager. They want to be free from rat breeders. All this is just unconscious reflection yet. However, the idea that manipulating cannibals are threat to the existence of civilization is a new challenge, not realized well enough yet and, of course, not explored or included into vade mecum. Nevertheless, I like the idea to isolate oneself from cannibals and avoid any contact with them.
It is possible that there is some other, more effective, cure for these creatures. There must be one. No matter what misanthropes and hedonists of all kinds say, nature doesn’t support selfishness:
“We found evolution will punish you if you’re selfish and mean,” said lead author Christoph Adami MSU professor of microbiology and molecular genetics. “For a short time and against a specific set of opponents, some selfish organisms may come out ahead. But selfishness isn’t evolutionarily sustainable.” The paper appears in the current issue of Nature Communications and focuses on game theory, which is used in biology, economics, political science and other disciplines. (extract, borrowed from MSUToday).
Translated by Alyona Karavaeva