“It did what all ads are supposed to do: create an anxiety relievable by purchase.”
— David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest
In all systems there is manipulation. In biological cycles, at the military training, in daily contact with each other, even at a microscopic level we found signs of tampering.
Whether with parasites, in the military or in advertising — manipulation gets its energy from wildcards, avatars, images and signals that conceal something authentic, original and replace it with new signals. Or it recalls patterns that serve the purposes of the manipulator, but not those of the victim.
„Manipulation is influencing behavior to external benefits.“
— Rupert Lay
Yet, all systems are distinguished by something else. They are circuits. Interestingly, many of these circuits would crash down without the manipulators, without the communicative power brokers. This is true for psychology, biology just as for the colorful world of consumerism.
The principle remains the same. The reality is abstracted, distant. A simulation takes over. The signal is stronger than the original. The previous system or signal disappears until the manipulated message resumes.
The hidden persuader
Manipulated information is a sugar-coated stomach pill, a Trojan horse.
A suicide command that sounds like a redemption.
A sacrifice command that feels like sex.
An entertainment disguised as purchase command.
The question is, how does it work? How do you get a human being to behave against his will, sometimes even against his instincts?
Step 1: Separate the victim from the herd.
Separation creates guilt. Guilt creates dependency.
Step 2: Watch it. Learn to know it. Find the entrance.
Nothing has so much power over people as their own emotions.
Step 3: Implement yourself. The deeper the better. Delete what does not fit. Be IT.
Removal of personality in layers through constant physical and mental stress. The victim assimilates the message itself. The required control pulses are minimal.
Step 4: Give new orders. Your commands.
It’s never important what someone does, but only for whom he does. Social hierarchy is the key to success. Authority, friendship, sexual stimuli, inside the organism.
Step 5: Support it. Propel his actions to make sense. And give him a new herd.
Always deliver in addition an excuse for the rational part, the last bit of mind.
“If the resistance of the subject is decreasing, it’s time to give him a face-saving reason or an excuse for his docility.”
“Customers always need a rational excuse for their emotional decision. Therefore: Always provide one.”
(David Ogilvy, advertiser)
Expulsion creates guilt.
Guilt creates dependency.
Dependency promotes consumption.