(I will be traveling and internet will be less available for the next couple of weeks. Please enjoy these posts from the archives. It’s Narcissist Friday posts will continue with new posts during this time. Thanks for being here!)
From time to time I read Seth Godin’s blog. He has some great insights about marketing and people. The most recent blog entry is an interesting item on what makes some people more open to being manipulated. Read the blog for yourself, but here are some of the things I found interesting in his list. His blog is not intended to be Christian in any way, but these things are more than worth our consideration. I will insert my comments, particularly in relation to the religious/performance manipulation I have seen.
- Believing something because you heard someone say it on a news show on cable TV. (Or an unreasoning acceptance of the authority of the guy up front.)
- Repeating a mantra heard from a figurehead or leader of a tribe without considering whether it’s true. (Again, an unquestioning attitude toward perceived authority. So many of these teachers have no evidence for the assertions they make, but their followers accept every word as truth.)
- Trying to find a short cut to lose weight, make money or achieve some other long-term goal. (“Seven easy steps to being more spiritual than others.” “Five ways to make God love you.” “How to raise your kids the right way.”)
- Ignoring the scientific method and embracing unexamined traditional methods instead. (The key word here is “unexamined.” There is an obsession among many homeschoolers or conservatives for the “old ways.” Some of the old ways are gone for a reason!)
- Focusing on (and believing) easily gamed bestseller lists or crowds. (If the teacher can fill the bleachers, he must be true, right?”)
- Inability to tolerate fear and uncertainty. (This is the big one. The desire to control the fears and uncertainties of life opens many people to the manipulation of leaders.)
- Allowing the clothes of the messenger (a uniform, a suit and tie, a hat) to influence your perception of the information he delivers (add gender, fame, age and race to this too). (What, judge someone by what he wears? You’re kidding!)
- Reliance on repetition and frequency to decide what’s true. (If you hear it often enough—say, that Cabbage Patch dolls have demons—it must be true, right?)
There are other characteristics that open people to manipulation at Seth’s Blog. What do you think?