Disarming and infuriating the mirror effects


Mirrors have the power to disturb uso Gazing at our reflection in the mirror, we most often see what we want to see-the image of ourselves with which we are most comfortable. We tend not to look too closely, ignoring the wrinkles and blemishes. But if we do look hard at the reflected image, we sometimes feel that we are seeing ourselves as others see us, as a person among other people, an object rather than a subject. That feeling makes us shudder-we see ourselves, but from the outside, minus the thoughts, spirit, and soul that fill our consciousness.

 We are a thing. In using Mirror Effects we symbolically re-create this disturbing power by mirroring the actions of other people, mimicking their movements to unsettle and infuriate them. Made to feel mocked, cloned, objectlike, an image without a soul, they get angry. Or do the same thing slightly differently and they might feel disarmed-you have perfectly reflected their wishes and desires. This is the narcissistic power of mirrors. In either case, the Mirror Effect unsettles your targets, whether angering or entrancing them, and in that instant you have the power to manipulate or seduce them. The Effect contains great power because it operates on the most primitive emotions. There are four main Mirror Effects in the realm of power: The Neutralizing Effect. In ancient Greek mythology, the Gorgon Medusa had serpents for hair, protruding tongue, massive teeth,

 and a face so ugly that anyone who gazed at her was turned into stone, out of fright. But the hero Perseus managed to slay Medusa by polishing his bronze shield into a mirror, then using the reflection in the mirror to guide hirn as he crept up and cut off her head without looking at her directly. If the shield in this instance was a mirror, the mirror also was a kind of shield: Medusa could not see Perseus, she saw only her own reflected actions, and behind this screen the hero stole up and destroyed her. This is the essence of the Neutralizing Effect: Do what your enemies do, following their actions as best you can, and they cannot see what you are up to-they are blinded by your mirror. Their strategy for dealing with you depends on your reacting to them in a way characteristic of you; neutralize it by playing a game of mimicry with them. The tactic has a mocking, even infuriating effect. Most of us remember the childhood experience of someone teasing us by repeating our words exactly-after a while, usually not long, we wanted to punch them in the face. Working more subtly as an adult, you can still unsettle your opponents this way; shielding your own strategy with the mirror, you lay invisible traps, or push your opponents into the trap they planned for you. 

This powerful technique has been used in military strategy since the days of Sun-tzu; in our own time it often appears in political campaigning. It is also useful for disguising those situations in which you have no particular strategy yourself. This is the Warrior's Mirror. A reverse version of the Neutralizing Effect is the Shadow: You TlIE MERCII ,\r-,'1 ill\D HIS FHI E'ID A certain merchant once had a great desire to make a long journey. Now in regard that he was not very wealthy, "It is requisite. " said he to hirnself, "that before my departure I should leave some part ofmy estate in the city. to the end that if I meet with ili luck in my travel;� I may have wherewithal to keep me at my return " To this purpose he delivered a great number of bars of iron, which were a principal part of his wealth, 

in trust to one of his friends, desiring hirn to keep them during his absence; and then, ta king his leave, away he went. Some time after, having had but ill luck in his traveis, he returned horne; and the first thing he did was to go to his friend, and demand his iron: but his friend, who owed several sums of money, having sold the iron to pay his own debts, made hirn this ans wer,' " Truly, friend, " said he, "I put your iron into a room that was close locked, imagining it would have been there as secure as my own gold; but an accident has happened which no one could have suspected, for there was a rat in the room which ate it all up. " The merchant, pretending ignorance, replied, "It is a terrible misfortune to me indeed; but I know of LAW 44 377 old that rats love iron extremely; I have suffered by them many tim es before in the same manner, amI therefore can the better bear my present ajfliction. " This answer extremely pleased the friend, who was glad to hear the merchant so weil inclined to believe that a rat had eaten his iron; and to rem(JVe all suspicions, desired him to dine with him the next day. The merchant promised he would, but in the meantime he met in the middle ofthe city one of his friend's chU- (Iren; the child he carried home, and locked up in a room. The next day he went to his friend, who seemed to be in greal ajfliction, which he asked him the cause 0[, as if he had been perfectly ignorant of what had happened. "0, my dear friend, " answered the other, "/ beg you 10 excuse me, if you do not see me so cheerful as otherwise I would be; I have lost one of my chi/dren; I have had him cried by sOl/nd of trumpet, but I know not what is become of him. " "O!" replied the merchant, "/ am grieved 10 hear this; jär yesterday in the evening, as I parted from hence, I saw an owl in the air with a child in his claws; bI/I whether it were yours I cannot lell. "

 " Wh y, you mOSI foolish and absurd creature!" replied the friend, "are YOI/ not aS'hamed 10 lell such an egregious lie? An owl, thaI weighs at 378 LAW 44 shadow your opponents' every move without their seeing you. Use the Shadow to gather information that will neutralize their strategy later on, when you will be able to thwart their every move. The Shadow is effective because to follow the movements of others is to gain valuable insights into their habits and routines. The Shadow is the preeminent device for detectives and spies. The Narcissus Effect. Gazing at an image in the waters of a pond, the Greek youth Narcissus fell in love with it. And when he found out that the image was his own reflection, and that he therefore could not consummate his love, he despaired and drowned hirnself. All of us have a similar problem: We are profoundly in love with ourselves, but since this love excludes a love object outside ourselves, it remains continuously unsatisfied and unfulfilled. 

The Narcissus Effect plays on this universal narcissism: You look deep into the souls of other people; fathom their inmost desires, their values, their tastes, their spirit; and you reflect it back to them, making yourself into a kind of mirror image. Your ability to reflect their psyche gives you great power over them; they may even feel a tinge of love. This is simply the ability to mimic another person not physically, but psychologically, and it is immensely powerful because it plays upon the unsatisfied self-Iove of a child. Normally, people bombard us with their experiences, their tastes. They hardly ever make the effort to see things through our eyes. This is annoying, but it also creates great opportunity: If you can show you understand another person by reflecting their inmost feelings, they will be entranced and disarmed, all the more so because it happens so rarely. No one can resist this feeling of being harmoniously reflected in the outside world, even though you might weH be manufacturing it for their benefit, and for deceptive purposes of your own. The Narcissus Effect works wonders in both social life and business; it gives us both the Seducer's and the Courtier's Mirror. The Moral Effect. The power of verbal argument is extremely limited, and often accomplishes the opposite of what is intended. As Graciän remarks, "The truth is generally seen, rarely heard." The Moral Effect is a perfect way to demonstrate your ideas through action. Quite simply, you teach others a lesson by giving them a taste of their own medicine. In the Moral Effect, you mirror what other people have done to you, and do so in a way that makes them realize you are doing to them exactly what they did to you. You make them feeZ that their behavior has been unpleasant, as opposed to hearing you complain and whine about it, which only gets their defenses up. And as they feel the result of their actions rnirrored back at them, they realize in the profoundest sense how they hurt or punish others with their unsocial behavior. You objectify the qualities you want them to feel ashamed of and create a mirror in which they can gaze at their follies and leam a lesson about themselves. 

This technique is often used by educators, psychologists, and anyone who has to deal with un- pleasant and unconscious behavior. This is the Teacher's Mirror. Whether or not there is actually anything wrong with the way people have treated you, however, it can often be to your advantage to reflect it back to them in a way that makes them feel guilty about it. The Hallucinatory Effect. Mirrors are tremendously deceptive, for they create a sense that you are looking at the real world. Actually, though, you are only staring at a piece of glass, which, as everyone knows, cannot show the world exactly as it is: Everything in a mirror is reversed. When Alice goes through the looking glass in Lewis Carroll's book, she enters a world that is back-to-front, and more than just visually. The Hallucinatory Effect comes from creating a perfect copy of an object, a place, a person. This copy acts as a kind of dummy-people take it for the real thing, because it has the physical appearance of the real thing. This is the preeminent technique of con artists, who strategically mimic the real world to deceive you. It also has applications in any arena that requires camouflage. This is the Deceiver's Mirror.

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