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Thread: Playing the victim and the art of manipulation

  1. #1 Playing the victim and the art of manipulation 
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    I'm thinking about the art of manipulation...

    It's not something I have ever given that much thought to, I consider myself an honest guy and hate the thought of using deciet to get people on my side.
    The furtheest I go in terms of manipulating others is simply to curb any agressive instincts so that I don''t come across as a threat. I'm not even great at doing this in the heat of the moment.

    I find generally speaking, being honest with people gets results... it never makes you the most popular person but it earns one some integrity and respect from those who can recognise your earnestness.

    I've never really delved into the blacks art of manipulation. I tend to think that in the long run these kinds of things catch up with you. besides, I understand the feel good factor associated with knowing that your honest and upfront.

    I've noticed with some people, who seem to be masters in the art of manipulation, that 'playing the victim' is a common technique aimed at inspiring sympathy/pity.

    Does this really work? i'm sure it does, but how about long term? surely the falsness of playing the vitim will be exposed?

    But how about the ethical implications? is it ok to be dishonest in order to gain support? It's the kind of thing I have always despised and so I don't think I will be adopting any stratergy like this intentionally.

    Often victims will be highlighted by politicians or media in order to gain support for some kind of change to the way things are done... Sometimes one baby victim is highlighted and yet non of the victims of the 'new way' are highlighted.

    For example a baby with whooping cough might be used in order to convince people of the need for vacination... yet the many babies who suffer due to the vaccination are ignored.

    Would this kind of manipulation be legal? is it something that the media or governments should be allowed to do?

    Certainly in terms of science and rational thought... impartiality and observation of facts should be king, rather than emotional responses towards pathos.

    That's really what this kind of thing is isn't it, pathos. An attempt to gain sympathy and support by highlighting ones suffering. It all seems a bit pathetic to me.

    Do you think it would be a better world if people only ever attempted to influence others using honesty... or do you think manipulating others with pathos is going to be more effective in unifying a comunity and forming the best policies?

    Certainly pathos is an effective tool, when it is convincing. But is it acceptable and should it be legal to use dishonest pathos in order to manipulate others?

    There's really two areas... first is with ethical implications peopleusing ppathos in there own relations, families, small comunities etc... then there is the broader realm of media and government leadership... Where decisions that affect us all are influenced. Is it/should it be legal for media or public servants of anykind to use pathos in order to swing the opinions of the majority in their favour?

    Personally I find it childish and decietful, petty and insecure to use this kind of tenique in our personal relationships. But I find it dangerous and deeply sinister if used by governments etc.

    I actually tend to resent the fact that somebody is attempting to make me feel sorry for them by playing the victim... not that I have witnessed it much since leaving highschool.

    Ofcourse there are many other types of deciet that can be used to win an argument or harbour support from an audience... In America in particular there seems to be a culture of debate in which people are taught many types of techniques that can win arguments and influence people decietfully.

    Perhaps some of you here know a bit about this kind of thing? Is it right that people in top education who will go on to influence society are skilled in the dark arts of rhetoric... Ethos, pathos and logos? can this kind of things be justified?

    Would it not create a better world if people were simply honest and stopped trying to manipulate others for there own personal gains?

    I'm a logos sort of guy I think... I try to win an argument with logic. If it's a subject I have some authority in, then that gives me a certain amount of ethos... I prefer to avoid appealling to a persons feelings and sypathetic nature in order to gain support, especially if I need to lie or mislead or deny the validity of opposing views in order to strike up an emotional connection with the audience. I find that to be very low.

    Anyway, i'd like to learn more about this so that I can gaurd against it better... i'd heard of pathos before today, but never heard of ethos or logos... this is all fairly new to me. Is emotional black mail such as 'if you leave me I will kill myself' a kind of pathos?

    The dark arts... not my thing really. I'm much more into honesty and integrity. But then I am heavily re-ligious, in that I believe in the concept of re-ligioning mankind in an awareness of unity, conectedness, shared and mutually beneficial aspirations, family values, shared inheritance, etc etc.


    But I want to know what others think of decietful manipulation, and also honest manipulation. Which is more effective? more powerful? longer lasting? can decietful manipulation be for the greater good? Any comments on anything I have said?

    Thanks for reading


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  3. #2  
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    Manipulation is ultimately a fruitless endevour and usually fails because practioners believe they can change the wills of others, the simple fact is you can't you can only ever change a perception of a situation in order to illicit a desired response, now since this can only ever be maintained for a short period of time the victim of such deception does not react well on becoming aware of the realities of a situation and will not continue to respond in the desired also they will be far harder to decieve again in the future. So you can't really get people to do things they don't want to do, you can only ever give them reason to do something they already wanted to do and if you wish them to repeat such and experience they need to feel good about that experience. So I would suggest you can only ever be manipulated if you at not seeing a situation for what it really is.


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  4. #3  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope cosmictraveler's Avatar
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    Everyone is manipulated in some way or another.

    The key is to educate yourself so that you know when it is happening to you and why.

    Once you learned that it is much more difficult to be manipulated easily so just keep getting educated and stay in school or become the easily manipulated like millions are already today.
    Last edited by cosmictraveler; December 18th, 2012 at 07:18 PM.
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  5. #4  
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    This all seems very true Chris, that's very interesting. You give an excellent account of the dangers and futility of decietful manipulation.

    I think the thing is that if a person is trying to change perceptions in a positive way, it's good manipulation, if they try to change perceptions for a negative purpose, it's bad manipulation. Though maybe, what you said is true, that the definition of manipulation includes an aspect of deciet or illusion. I say a paragraph about positive manipulation below.

    If the perceptions are being changed to conform to reality, it is strong, if they are being changed away from reality, it's is weak and won't last... if it seeks to show some reality but not all and it hides relevant peices of reality, it is bad.

    I focussed on decietful manipulation in the OP but ofcourse nearly everything is a form of manipulation in some respect. Often we manipulate each other without realising we are doing it and often we try to manipulate each other for the benefit of the other because we care. People will make a choice as to wether they will let their friend or loved one or boss/politician/media/preacher/guru/etc/etc manipulate them into something and there's no harm in it as long as it's with good intent and from a clear perception of the reality of the matter.

    I suspose people are quite astute when it comes to BS.

    In fact the OP does rather seem like BS now that I look back... I might have to edit it. Then again, if I do that it might start off a chain reaction resulting in the removal of a large part of my contribution to TSF, this would probably be a positive thing, but it would be a lot of hassle.
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  6. #5  
    Ascended Member Ascended's Avatar
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    Well if you always assume the best of people then you'll be far likely to respond in a positive manner regardless of anything else, whenever you respond positively you feel good so it's that simple really, think the best others and you'll feel good then regardless of any manipulation that may or may not be happening you'll always be in control of how you feel, you can always control your reality regardless of anything else.
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  7. #6  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chrisgorlitz View Post
    Well if you always assume the best of people then you'll be far likely to respond in a positive manner regardless of anything else, whenever you respond positively you feel good so it's that simple really, think the best others and you'll feel good then regardless of any manipulation that may or may not be happening you'll always be in control of how you feel, you can always control your reality regardless of anything else.
    That sounds like sage advice which I have tried to live by many times, i've felt the positive effects. It isn't always easy though, sometimes it can feel like self deception if i'm over positive, it feels like naievity, yet I know it can have effects that change ones reality 'in actuality', so I do strive to see the best in people and think positively. I see now how part of the art of manipulating involves changing the perception of reality which has been nurtured, which is having a positive effect on your actual reality, in order that you percieve a more negative reality and therefore bring about a more negative reality. It's nice to be reminded of all this, thankyou Chris.

    But it isn't always manipulation which leads to a negative perspective, or is it? because now we're getting into some dark territory which will require a lot of happy think lest it changes our perceptions of reality and therefor our reality... Best we just forget it I ever said anything. I'm kidding, ofcourse all negative perceptions are not brought on by manipulation, it can't be? But what about all positive perceptions, are they the result of manipulation too?

    Heres a Zen or Tao quote I once read or dreamt (it's not word for word i'm sure):
    "The positive attitude benefits the Self, the negative attitude benefits others... When the positive and negative is balanced, it is enlightenment."

    Negative is used to express altruism, caring and concerning yourself with others and their problems, the worlds problems. Taking time to be depressed by the problems of others but no so much that you forget to look after yourself. Keeping a balance and a moderation in attitude, and perspective. This is my reality, it isn't always the most optimistic I could nurture, but it's isn't the most pessimistic either. For me, anything else seems like a perversion of reality, which as we've been discussing, is a form of manipulation.
    Last edited by question for you; December 19th, 2012 at 06:43 AM.
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  8. #7  
    Forum Professor pyoko's Avatar
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    Two examples come to mind right away:

    The Christian church has perfected playing the victim and manipulation to an art form. To make such a huge and wealthy and popular power with so many followers, overshadowing the minorities seem like a dwindling, threatened, deteriorating, discriminated against group is truly a wondrous feat.

    Also, so has my mother, who purposefully connives to act in such a way as to appear a victim, but does this with an express idea to achieve something. It is a form of manipulation.
    It is by will alone I set my mind in motion.
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  9. #8  
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    Quote Originally Posted by pyoko View Post
    Two examples come to mind right away:

    The Christian church has perfected playing the victim and manipulation to an art form. To make such a huge and wealthy and popular power with so many followers, overshadowing the minorities seem like a dwindling, threatened, deteriorating, discriminated against group is truly a wondrous feat.

    Also, so has my mother, who purposefully connives to act in such a way as to appear a victim, but does this with an express idea to achieve something. It is a form of manipulation.
    Only the Christians Pyoko? I can think of other religions who seem to have mastered the art better.

    To be fair to the Christian faith (which I have witnessed in this age, rather than so called history), A lot of the beleif system seems to revolve around compassion. In my personal opinion the KJV is one of the most liberal bibles around... I think that has played a big part in it's success at 'enrolling' people from many nations.

    The fact is the Romans were a very powerful empire, if they hadn't adopted Christianity then we would probably still be seeing missionairies teaching the world the virtues of blood sacrifice.

    Sure though, it changes people's perceptions of reality... for better or worse.

    I've met some people who act like your Mother too, it's a very common technique eh. Do you always let her manipulate you out of kindness?
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  10. #9  
    Forum Professor pyoko's Avatar
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    Not only Christians. But Christians are doing it mostly in nonviolent ways, and very noticeably in the western media and western countries. So it is a good example to concentrate on. (Like "The War on Christmas" and the outcry in the UK about the agnostic "There probably is no god, so relax and be happy." or something similar printed on double decker buses taken to be an assault (on religion) that "should be stamped out because it is out of control and dominating and threatening and malicious".)

    As for my mom, it is impossible to get manipulated out of kindness simply because things she tries to manipulate are so out of control that it causes friction.
    It is by will alone I set my mind in motion.
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  11. #10  
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    Yeah thats an interesting point pyoko.
    I don't know if I can say that the press portrays them as victims, they occasionaly expose corruptions. The catholic church has not so long ago been portrayed as a breeding ground of illicit activities, in this sense members of catholicism have been made the 'victim' of jokes and speculations. Though over all I can't imagine that this kind of thing could ever be an effective way of 'playing the victim'.

    In other areas of the media some comedians have been doing a good job of victimising religions by highlighting amusing ideosyncracities or improbabilities or whatever, not to mention corruptions... Movies portray christianity in a bad light sometimes... It's my perspective that there is a 'anti-superstitious', 'rational thought' agenda in large areas of the media (of which the message on the bus you mention probably belongs to in some way shape or form) and I think religion is sometimes made fun of in respect to the some of the 'weird' teachings which most people would have problems fully comprehending, it always being tricky percieving 'other worldly' concepts.
    I wonder though if these attacks and jokes could actually help people to feel sorry for the religion and see it as a victim? It may even stop a person from being angry with religion? possibly even ending up wanting to support it and it's right to exist in spite of it's history of corruption? Either way, I don't know if it is 'playing' the victim, but it is in a sense being 'victimised' occasionally in areas of the media.

    The lattest thing in the media about the church of England is about a vote to allow women to be bishops... the press and media reported it reasonably impartialy on the whole I felt and it's quietened down quite quickly. If I remember correctly, over half of the voters voted for women but because of some rule about needing something like a 2 thirds majority, the old way remains. The members of the church get to seem with the times and yet the church gets to keep one of it's traditional gender discriminations, I find that an amusing thought. It's makes sense to have a good majority before something gets changed though.
    Again though... even though it is the churces policy which in seen to be not politically correct, in a way the fact that this criticism is portrayed by the media means that the church is the 'victim' of modern societal expectations. I might be clutching at straws trying to abstract 'victimisation' out of these media led criticisms. Or maybe it is just human nature to feel sorry for whoever is getting a hard time, therefore if your seen to always be getting given a hard time then people will leave you alone or support you.
    I don't know much about what the christian churches have to say about themselves and there treatment, im just going on what I percieve from the media in general.


    As for the message on the bus, I didn't hear about that... I think it really depends who did it and who put them up to it. Why would anybody pay to spread that message anyway? altruism? profit? antagonisation? If I was a member of the church I geuss my pathetic response might be to demand that they can prove the probability swings against God. And demand an investigation into who commissioned the ad and what their motives were.
    Then there is the question of what on earth about 'there probably not being a God' can be percieved as a better reason to relax than the alternative? What if it said 'Relax, be happy, your spirit is imortal'..? How would this be greeted in comparison?

    As for your mom i'm sure she means well, just think she has been around longer than you and been through more in this mad world, it's only natural that she is a little bit more bonkers, allow her this excuse from her actions. Help her feel calm and confident and she will be less concerned. If you want to speak about it with somebody who isn't too close then feel free to pm aunty QFY (Im only really an aunty at weekends and most public holidays). Just an offer, just incase that would help you get it off your chest. Either I hope that situation improves between you and your mom soon.
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