I am writing these words to manipulate you. I tell you this up front and with no shame.
Over the past two years, in a series of progressing threads, I have been exploring the concepts of social manipulation and mass mind control. Social
engineering is a subject that interests me greatly, so it is one that I spend much of my free time thinking about. Being human, I tend to work with
the medium that piques my interest. So I write these threads. Invariably, in every single one of these mind control themed threads, at least one or
two members have posted statements accusing me of doing the very thing I was discussing... manipulation. I've been accused of fear mongering, data
mining, conditioning, and a slew of other malicious and devious charges.I have been accused, numerous times, of being an operative for any number of
government agencies. I have been accused of being a paid agent provocateur. These things, I assure you, are absolutely and patently untrue. But as for
Part of those accusations are very much true. I have been manipulating you, good citizens of ATS. I have been doing so willfully, deliberately, and
with an agenda. I have been using decades of very specific training and research to achieve my goals in this endeavor and have been largely successful
in my labors. I am guilty as charged. I am a manipulator.
Heck, even my confession to manipulating is, quite literally, a manipulation in and of itself. I can, at will, use it to create any number of
narratives and to illicit any number of predictable and controllable responses. Any expert will tell you that sympathy is one of the most powerful
tools of manipulation that exist. It can be used quite effectively and powerfully to alter perception and opinion almost instantly. For example:
I could claim to be an agent of some type – and drive public perception towards a lynch mob mentality.
I could claim to be a professional Internet troll and push things towards another avenue of discussion. Provoking and laughing – watching it all
build to a crescendo.
I could claim to be a student working on a sociology thesis and change the discourse still – causing a mixed bag of reactions from anger to interest
to a desire in some towards cooperation.
And the list of things that I could claim are only limited by my imagination. So, rather than digging imaginary rabbit holes, I'll simply tell the
truth. I am what I have always professed to be. A middle aged guy with PTSD and Bipolar II disorder, waiting for my disability to case to finally come
to some sort of end - who happens to be interested in this particular subject, who moderates and participates on a web site called ATS... and who
truly cares about my community – including this one.
Some will seek to paint me as a ghetto Rasputin. Others a fool. And some will continue to point at me, like that evil monkey from the TV show Family
Guy – while screaming DISINFO AGENT AHOY!!! Much of how I am seen is based upon things that I cannot control. Personal biases, opinions, my posting
history, whether or not I've ever had to moderate a given members account or posts, even whatever avatar I might have on my profile on any given day.
And, to one degree or another, how effectively I have manipulated you, as an individual. To be honest, some folks I manipulate in a positive manner
because they strike me as good people. Others? Well I've been known to poke the beehive just for kicks and to frustrate those who strike me as rude.
You will all, as you always have, form your opinions about me ( and one another ) based upon many factors – including the very stark reality that we
are all constantly seeking to manipulate each other on one level or another.
The truth is that there are people here, and elsewhere, who have far more expertise on this subject than I do. There are entire sciences and
disciplines devoted to it. But I have an edge on most of them. I'm good
at it. I have that natural gift... the ability to connect and to create
trust and empathy with just a smile or with eye contact.
This is how I learned my skills – and how I have gained my expertise. By being a people person. And, in past years. By using it to be predatory and
Maybe these are just personal, lesser manipulations as I work on my larger manipulations. One could fry a few brain cells keeping track.
Of course almost all of us here are aware of these things. Madison Ave surely is. As is every intelligence agency and government in the world. But
what most do not comprehend, because ego does not allow us to, is just how damned easy it is for others to manipulate us. Manipulation is a product of
emotion, and we prefer to think ourselves creatures of logic and reason. We don't invest in emotion too greatly – even as emotion, in all reality,
dictates far more of our behavior than does logic. Manipulation techniques involve parts of our brain far older than our logic centers and uses our
senses against us.
Have you ever become compliant, happy, and overly courteous simply because you smelled your favorite food cooking?
Have you ever found youself overly generous and compassionate because you saw true pain in the eyes of another?
Is there a particular celebrity who either incites you to hysteria or absolute rage simply at the sight of them or the sound of their voice?
Have you ever known a person who knew exactly
how to calm or infuriate you with a single glance or word?
Is there a song or film clip that makes you instantly emotional each and every time you are exposed to it?
Guess what? These are cases where logic failed you and manipulation won out.
Look at these pictures, and please pause for just a moment, on each, so that you can have a chance to recognize the emotions that they make invoke.
Not everyone will react to each and every image – but you should react to enough of them to understand what I am getting at:
I could have invested more time and found much more disturbing, heart wrenching, or polarizing pictures to use as examples – but I deliberately
opted not to do so. And for a variety of reasons. Predominantly I did not want to enable any outcries of partisanship, agenda, or selective
information distribution. My hope was just to show how easily what we see with our eyes can overpower our logic and reason.
And I am not even addressing the equally powerful tricks that one can use with verbal communication. My professional life, as it was, made me an
expert in what is widely called “Sales psychology” and, trust me, the number of tricks involved in just that one aspect of verbal manipulation
can, and do, fill many, many books.
We reach the end, and some will wonder what my point is. I will gladly tell you...
edit on 9/20/12 by Hefficide because: So, my brand new download of openoffice appears to have a broken spellcheck - expect a LOT of edits
because I suck at proofreading