This was originally going to be the end of a longer post about manipulation but it occurred to me that it deserves a shorter treatment all its own. It requires acceptance of a few givens similar to a thought experiment in order to follow.
Assume that it is true that removing emotional bias from decision-making leads to greater success as society has defined it. Remove guilt and empathy and the question moves from “Should I do this?” to “Can I get away with this?” Further iterations lead to increasing the likelihood of getting away with “it” while simultaneously avoiding detection and attention beyond what you can manage via damage control or other misdirection, distraction, deceit.
Now, step out of your shoes and into theirs for a moment. Think like a social dominator.
In order to achieve this overall goal–whether it refers to politicians increasing their power by further limiting that of others, Wall Street’s inherently flawed model requiring this year to be better than the last rather than simply otherwise “successful,” or corporations providing less and less valuable services and goods while spending less and less on generating them–you as social dominator must provide an alternate explanation for any anomalies that these practices create as side-effect. In other words, you look at the psychological evolution of the masses you wish to manipulate for your benefit and decide that fear and superstition are the best ways to go for many, and throw in pseudoscience for the mainstream “thinkers.” You allow people to drift naturally toward whichever rationalizations best suit them as they are, and they naturally do so.
The problem, however, comes along when, later on, the former group of dupes–whom you have well-seeded with fear and instilled with a sense of good versus evil, right and wrong–discover your game.
Now, you have created a habit in the emotional portion of the population that will eventually bite you in the ass. You’ve let loose an emotionally-based cult that, though it doesn’t realize it yet, holds you as its natural enemy.
You’ve given the peasants torches and pitchforks, but only temporarily directed them to the wrong castle. At some point, they are going to see the truth, but the result will be just as vicious, emotional, and bloody as those you set them upon via manipulation to begin with.
I have two thoughts regarding this inevitability: First, many psychopaths and sociopaths are what many people would call subjectively “good people,” and not because they are intentionally faking it. Mental illness or personality disorder does not always equal bad person, in fact it is usually a minority that fall into that category. Some of these folks aren’t even aware that this is what they are, though I expect they sometimes wonder why so many of the rest of us get so upset over things. They will be the first casualties, though, because the resulting over-reaction won’t limit itself to individuals but rather follow along “type.”
The second thought is, it’s a good thing for them that they’re also good liars and capable of faking sincerity, these social dominators. They’re going to need that skill once the movements they created spiral out of control.
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