Re: virus: Manipulation 101

Tadeusz Niwinski (
Sat, 22 Feb 1997 15:00:18 -0800

Eva wrote:
>The Manipulation 101 lessons are interesting, but I can quite understand
>Reed's taking offense at being targeted by their presentation. "I'm not
>insulting or accusing you, I'm just using you as a Horrible Example" is
>not exactly an honest and friendly approach to interaction.

Thank you. I understand Reed too. I agree, he does not take it as a
friendly approach to interaction. But honest? What's dishonest about it?

You raise a very good question. How can we deal with parasites honestly?
Is it dishonest to tell a thief: "I love you as a person, and I don't like
to hurt you, but I *do not* approve of your actions. Stealing is bad. From
what you advertise about yourself, your parents gave you a very wrong
picture of the world, but this is *not* an excuse for you to avoid learning
some moral standards on your own."

Of course, I am not referring to Reed (even if he argues that I am). Please
think abut it as a general strategy how to handle parasites. What are
better ways of improving our interactions?

>So, anyway, the general feeling I see in the 'lessons' has seemed to be
>"these are pretty low-down ways to interact with people". But Tim writes:
>> You know, Tad, if you had STARTED this thread with this introduction we
>> could have had a useful discussion about the way people interact. We
>> might have even been able to do it without being as judgemental as you
>> about the perceived "viciousness" of these viruses you speak of. But,
>> to be honest, you didn't.
>> Now, if you really want to re-frame this discussion, I'm all for it. It
>> could prove a quite constructive use of our time. Why don't you, Tad
>> and David, restate your "Lessons" in terms of how people attempt to
>> influence others (for good or bad, after all, we use the same devices
>> for both), leave off the examples (if we need 'em we'll ask), and let us
>> see what you have to say about the way dems wacky humans be interactin'.
>Tim seems to feel that the useful core of the 'lessons' idea is that these
>are potentially powerful means of influencing people, and is interested in
>the *descriptive* aspect, how people in fact use these techniques. Tad,
>on the other hand, started off on a *prescriptive* tack, stating that
>these were dirty tactics and shouldn't be used, at least not in this
>context. So, how about it, people?

This list is a very good model of a society -- a perfect field to study.
When I started the "lessons", I did not realize how much putting a mirror to
one's face might hurt (I remember a legend where the only way to kill a
monster was to show him how ugly he was in a mirror -- now I realize what a
wise the legend was). I am sure there are many people on this list who are
afraid to talk, as they may not be able to take the abuse. David R. took a
lot of abuse so far, and I am glad he survived. I hope the lessons in
Manipulation 101 will help us improve the way we all speak here.

I have not "STARTED this thread" with a special introduction for a simple
reason that I was not planning it to be the way it unfolded. As soon as I
realized what explanations are necessary, I added them. Now, when I see how
good it is, and how well we team up with David R. (he HAS to work on his
hyphens, though) I will continue. Thank you Eva for your positive support.
I enjoyed reading the rest of your post, which prompted me to think how easy
it is to interpret a "memetic world" as an excuse for being immoral.

Regards, Tadeusz (Tad) Niwinski from planet TeTa (604) 985-4159