Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Mr. Wickham and the Four Tools of Manipulation: Introduction

Manipulate, v. To move, operate, or handle something: to control or influence somebody in an ingenious or devious way.


Short survey, ladies and gentlemen:
a) Are you human?
b) Have you ever interacted with other humans in the past?
c) Have you ever been part of a group of any sort?

    If you answered Yes to any of the above, you have probably at several points been manipulated by another person.

     Manipulators are difficult to handle because by nature they are usually hard to spot and even harder to deal with. They are not interested in a real relationship; they are clever at seeming to give while in reality only working to get attention, acclimation, or simply someone to have under their control. Possibly you have something they want: your social standing or some possession even. Their motives are self-centered.

     Manipulators come in all forms: some are more abrasive and obvious, others are more subtle and shady. Some work through smiles, jokes, and compliments, others use angry shouts and menacing glares. Even though they all have different styles, manipulators mostly use four basic tools. Of course, there are more than four. I just don’t have time to cover them all and these ones seem most common and general.

     These tools manifest themselves in different ways, but they work the same fashions nonetheless. They are designed to make you feel like you owe the manipulator what he wants. But even more cunningly, some are designed to make you second-guess yourself if you happen to realize who the manipulator really is. They are a twofold disguise. And there is another thing they all share: they play on your pride. The more pride you have, the more susceptible you are to manipulation. Which, if you think about it, is pretty ironic. The higher you think of your own intelligence, the blinder you are. Funny, isn’t it?

     I’m going to introduce to you a new friend who perhaps you have met before. His name is George Wickham, and he features prominently in the story Pride and Prejudice. Does anyone remember Mr. Wickham? That charming and noble gentleman who turned out to be a shockingly immoral charlatan? Yes. He is the perfect and timeless example of a manipulator. He is special because he has lasted generations and also because he used with masterful expertise all four tools of manipulation. He is also exceptional because in the end he was not, as most fictional villains usually are, destroyed and left to either die or live a life of extreme depression: rather, he got everything he ever wanted and prospered! He is a very excellent example of a true-life manipulator, both in fate and attitude.

     This post is the introduction to a short series I am writing about manipulation. I feel this is a pressing problem which needs to be called to the attention of the public. Stay tuned for the next installment on the first tool of manipulation!

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