Instigator / Pro

The Art of Manipulation


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After 4 votes and with 4 points ahead, the winner is...

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Contender / Con

The art of manipulation (I say “art” because it fascinates me, and people label what they love or hate, enjoy or despise) is not a linear path.
In talking to others about manipulation and the advantages of the tool - yes, it is a tool - the general consensus I’ve received is one of manipulation being a “bad” thing. “Manipulation,” a negative connotation generally shared throughout society rivals “Influence,” which conforms to the average person’s beliefs of what is “good” and “bad.”
Generally, people will say, “influence can be used for good or bad,” when manipulation brings scrutiny and wariness, because in the mind of society, manipulation is only bad. Therefore, when somebody on a higher plane of intellect succeeds in guiding another to what he wants or needs, it is viewed as influence. Only when the outcome does not directly conform to the personal beliefs of the person being “influenced” does it become “manipulation.”
Even the use of the term “guiding” in this context will undoubtedly arouse suspicion as to the motives of a manipulator and confirm in the mind of the doubter what they already believe.
Circling back to my opening statement; ironic because this essay is not linear, and the point I’m bringing about is that it is not linear…
Humor and irony in the simplest form placed at the right moment, naturally exists as a distraction for a safeguarded intention. Even, no, maybe especially with the doubters, humor and irony does not guarantee a change of mind, but secures a disruption - if only slight - in their minds. Just as this paragraph has done.
The point I am outlining through providing precisely what the point exists as, is; manipulation is not linear. It frustrates me to attempt an explanation of this concept to another, as they have neither the intellect nor the desire to attempt an understanding. Then again, isn’t intellect the ability to consider without judgment - at least for a moment - the element of another’s beliefs and incorporate their ideas into your own?
Oftentimes, a simple act of manipulation is not initially planned as the act occurs, but after the fact when the manipulator glances back to the exchange, he realizes that act inadvertently played towards his goals. Take for instance the subject of humor and irony in the above text. The line that states, “Just as this paragraph has done,” was an afterthought to the way it would support my essay.
Now, the crux of this work is largely undecided. The idea I am attempting to dispatch is individuality of the mind, using the means of explaining the art of manipulation, as it subtly and conspicuously plays towards my favor. The idea I outlined earlier in regards to humor and irony as a manipulation tactic (which was simply another manipulation tactic) ties in like such: This essay will not guarantee a change of mind, but will secure a disruption - if only slight - in the reader’s mind.
The unsureness of what the crux of this work is; as of now, genuinely felt. But (yes, another societal negative connotation for a word that can be positive), it is yet another manipulation tactic, though I did not initially design it that way.
I am decided. The crux of this work is to strongly urge (another “positive” word for manipulation) individuals to think. Go out of societal norms with your thoughts. Don’t be afraid of individuality.
I am looking for comments of “You think you’re so clever” and “You’re spending too much time on others” and “You’re too arrogant.” I am also looking for comments of reserved intellect. Both groups are needed and wanted for this debate.
And, I do feel clever and proud. Arrogance and pride are yet another example of ideas given meaning by personal belief.

Round 1
Influence, as defined here:

The power to have an effect on people or things, or a person or thing that is able to do so.

Manipulate, as defined here:

To control something or someone to your advantage, often unfairly or dishonestly.
The reason we see manipulation and influence as two separate things is because they are actually two separate things, with two separate definitions.

Manipulation is not needed when you are open about how you're influencing someone and why it's good. With honest influence, you leave the option to them on whether or not they want to take your side or not. This is known as urging...

To strongly advise or try to persuade someone to do a particular thing.
... and it is not the same as manipulation.

You don't need to control someone to get them on your side, or to go get them to think freely. Merely introducing an idea to someone isn't a form of control, and discourse and debate aren't either. Just be honest about your cause and arguments, and you will convince others of your position. Unless of course, you don't believe your position is strong enough to be argued in earnest. But that just begs the question of why you hold such a position in the first place.

Because manipulation is an attempt to dishonestly control others, rather than convince them, manipulation is immoral and therefore bad.

Different individuals having different opinions on what counts as manipulation doesn't make manipulation good.
Round 2
Also, manipulation is bad because it's mean. And because I said so.

Anyway, vote con.