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  1. #41
    Occasional Member Evan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Costrin View Post
    How about this simple definition -
    Actively trying to get someone to do what you want.

    This definition makes no distinction between methods. It could be by force (holding a gun to their head), baiting, rational debate that changes their values, suggestions, even just flat out asking them to do something.

    The key word though, is actively. If you just happen to get your way, even if you didn't do anything special, then that isn't manipulation. People just like you. :P
    Well, damn. I'm quite manipulative from that premise. But I also don't see much in the way of ethical problems with that definition either. In fact, the people that don't manipulate will run into trouble..

  2. #42
    rawr Costrin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Evan View Post
    Well, damn. I'm quite manipulative from that premise. But I also don't see much in the way of ethical problems with that definition either. In fact, the people that don't manipulate will run into trouble..
    Exactly.

    You could probably make distinctions between various methods of manipulation though, but ultimately it will all be based on subjective values.

  3. #43
    Occasional Member Evan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Costrin View Post
    Exactly.

    You could probably make distinctions between various methods of manipulation though, but ultimately it will all be based on subjective values.
    This is exactly where I was leading the thread when I made the OP.

    Damn, I'm manipulative!

  4. #44
    Senior Member ThatsWhatHeSaid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Evan View Post
    In that case, isn't there no way to tell whether or not someone is being manipulative?

    (I've been called incredibly manipulative by lots of people -- I almost never do it consciously, I just have this tendency to get my way when I really want to. So maybe I'm not technically manipulative? My subconscious is, though...)
    Yeah, I dunno.

    It would seem manipulative to an outsider because they don't know what you're thinking. They might also have different definitions. Most likely, they're being liberal with their definition of manipulative because they're pissed and want to blame you for something.

    I think there's a difference between doing something totally unconsciously, and using tactics you know are unfair (praying of sympathy or guilt, for example) to get people to see the situation differently and acquiesce to you.

  5. #45
    Systematic chaos Cenomite's Avatar
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    I find it very easy to manipulate a lot of people, I just don't because I feel like a giant asshole whenever I do.

    If the good outweighs the bad though, I'll dive in. I've manipulated and bullshitted my way into getting a few higher grades that I deserved, for example.
    The probability that I was procrastinating when I was typing this post:

    P(have big assignment due) = 0.6
    P(posting on TypoC) = 0.2
    P(having big assignment due | posting on TypoC) = 0.7

    P(posting on TypoC | having big assignment due) = .......


    Eh, I'll finish it later.

  6. #46
    Senior Member Qre:us's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Evan View Post
    What's wrong with manipulating people?
    If we take the route of evolutionary theory, then, we can make some commentary on manipulation (and, by that extent, morality). It has been noted not just in human animals, but, other animals, that there is an evolutionary benefit for species that function in social groups, to be able to understand, anticipate, imitate/model, the actions and intent of others. It is a necessary survival skill.

    However, it is a kinetic process. As such, our anticipation, our understanding, our modeling of others, will thus....lead...to *something*. Some reaction, inaction or action on our part.

    And, within this playground, rises the concept of morality for animals who have cognitive consciousness and abstract thought (i.e., humans). To keep a fine balance within the above reciprocal processes. At its simplest, it can perhaps best be summed up by saying, 'treat others like you would like to be treated'. Sure, we can go all philosophical about why such statement rings true, but, again, bringing it back to our basic drives, it has much less to do about 'well, cuz it's nice', and much more to do about a defence mechanism to keep us within the social group, to keep our position secure, to avoid loss, harm, etc. So, we're not really treating others as we would like to be treated because of a 'feel good' notion, but, more so due to a tactical move. "Don't rock the boat"

    Then, is it such a suprise that, another inherent part of evolution, competition, will mix up that balanced equation of 'morality'/treat others as you would like to be treated? There will always be someone who will try to work the system, give an appearance of treating others (kindly) such that they are treated likewise, while they're really indirectly allocating more resources towards themselves, without the other knowing.

    Manipulation.

    Is it wrong? Others have covered the answers ranging from: intent, absolute versus relative morality, benefit outweighing the cost, etc.

    We can even make a case for manipulation by the hordes of literature on game theory. Wrong or right. It's there. It serves a purpose. We do not manipulate, because we fear the consequences, not because we don't like manipulation, per say. I know that I will say, "I hate being manipulated, taken in", but, I know that the real reason is because I know someone 'got something' from me, some resource, that I didn't think to compute in terms of allocation beforehand. It was thus, TAKEN, not GIVEN. So, I don't like manipulation not because it is a vile thing, but because I cannot consciously determine my allocation of resources. I.e., much less about manipulation, but, rather, the anticipated consequence of manipulation.

  7. #47
    & Badger, Ratty and Toad Mole's Avatar
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    The easiest person to con is a confidence man.

    And the easiest person to manipulate is a manipulator.

    The manipulator is conscious of wanting to manipulate you, but she is unconscious of wanting you to manipulate her.

    So the manipulator is essentially self destructive.

    Very sadly she is only conscious of behaving destructively towards you.

    But she doesn't care.

    For her secret desire is to have you destroy her.

    At her deepest level, she is trying to manipulate you to manipulate her.

    She wants to reduce you to her level.

    She passionately believes in equality - your equality with her.

  8. #48
    rawr Costrin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Victor View Post
    And the easiest person to manipulate is a manipulator.
    How paradoxical.

  9. #49
    Senior Member Qre:us's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Victor View Post
    The easiest person to con is a confidence man.

    And the easiest person to manipulate is a manipulator.

    The manipulator is conscious of wanting to manipulate you, but she is unconscious of wanting you to manipulate her.

    So the manipulator is essentially self destructive.

    Very sadly she is only conscious of behaving destructively towards you.

    But she doesn't care.

    For her secret desire is to have you destroy her.

    At her deepest level, she is trying to manipulate you to manipulate her.

    She wants to reduce you to her level.

    She passionately believes in equality - your equality with her.
    Interesting choice of pronoun change. Female issues much?

  10. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by Costrin View Post
    How paradoxical.
    But quite true. The manipulator has a predictable cause, and motives that you can feed. The person who knows they have it over you, is normally the easiest to own.
    Freude, schöner Götterfunken Tochter aus Elysium, Wir betreten feuertrunken, Himmlische, dein Heiligtum! Deine Zauber binden wieder Was die Mode streng geteilt; Alle Menschen werden Brüder, Wo dein sanfter Flügel weilt.

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