If you tell a child not to do something, chances are he or she will do it. This is a simple rule of parenting that everyone has experienced at some point in their lives. People (especially children and teenagers) are wired in a certain way so that if they are told they cannot do or have something, they react by wanting it more. They then rebel by reasserting their freedom and express anger towards the person restricting their freedom. This is a natural response for a person that is beginning to develop a sense of self and ego, as they feel an instinctive desire to protect their right to free will. This psychological phenomenon is known as reactance.
Although reactance can be very troublesome and annoying to deal with, you can easily turn it around to your advantage if you understand the basic principles behind the effect. Under the assumption that a child will always react to your commands and advice by doing the opposite, we can deduce that if you say the opposite of what you want, they will end up doing what you want. This is reverse psychology. It is a surprisingly effective method of manipulation, especially in those with high reactance (usually children or those who are as immature and stubborn as children).
It has been scientifically proven that reverse psychology is extremely effective in children, as they would rather protect their (perceived) free will than avoiding study or not eating their greens. An example of reverse psychology would be telling a child to stay home when they actually want them to go out and play. However, reverse psychology is not the most ideal way of parenting as it reinforces the idea that it is okay to do the opposite of what you ask, thus undermining your authority.
Reverse psychology works just as well in adults when used right. For example, using a strong imperative tone against a person effectively assaults their ego, which provokes their natural instinct of reactance. If you are not in a position of authority and the person has the option to defy you, it is likely that they will revert to an irrational teenager and do the opposite of what you commanded. However, repetitive use of reverse psychology may lead the person to think that they are being manipulated, causing them to nullify it by reverse reverse psychology. Reverse psychology can be a double-edged sword if this happens, so it is important to know when it is most likely to be effective.
Psychological reactance is more likely to arise if the restricted option appears more attractive and important. The greater the restriction of freedom, the greater the psychological reactance. Also, arbitrary threats produce high reactance as they do not make sense, making people more rebellious. It is important that reverse psychology be used subtly and sparingly on people who are resistant to direct requests. Mastery of the above skills will help you manipulate a person into doing your bidding under the illusion that they are acting on their free will.
In his play Lysistrata, Greek playwright Aristophanes gives a comic account of one woman’s extraordinary mission to end the Peloponnesian War – a 30 year old war between Athens and Sparta. How did one woman bring an end to such a deadly war?
In the play, Lysistrata (the female protagonist) becomes sick and tired of men treating women like simplistic hedonists incapable of functioning on their own. She believes that the war is a result of irrational men making stupid decisions and the long war is a waste as young, nubile women are aging away. She holds a convening of the women of various city states and proposes that the women must rise up to stop the war. Lysistrata’s plan is simple: withhold sex from the men until they cave (i.e. a sex strike). The women are reluctant at first, but agree to join her. They then take over the acropolis of the city, setting up a safe haven for women, barring any man from entering.
The men initially scoff at this revolution and try repeatedly to lay siege on the acropolis. However, they fail and the women continue to not provide any sexual pleasures to any male. The men constantly make snide comments about how women are hysterical and only seek pleasure, but sooner or later, they become desperate for sex. One by one, desperate men (sporting “burdens”, i.e. erections) come to the acropolis, pleading for relief (funnily, some women desert the acropolis in desperation for sex as well). The women take the men in, but only to tease them and leave them disappointed.
Eventually, the men (of both Athens and Sparta) cave and surrender, agreeing to end the war. There is a hilarious scene during the peace talks where Lysistrata brings out a stunning young girl named Reconciliation in front of the men, quashing any complaints or objections. Even the men who protest against the women’s demands are overcome by their lust and want(/need) for sex. Once peace is declared, the men and women all come together in the acropolis for singing and dancing, celebrating the women’s success in ending the war.
Although the play is only a comic exploration of the battle of the sexes, it clearly shows the power women have over men, and how they can use that power to easily control men.
Democracy is a fair system that gives the people the power to run the country. This also weakens the politicians’ grip on the people. If you were a leader of a democratic nation, how could you gain more power? The obvious answer would be to become a good leader who gains the people’s trust and rules a government of the people, by the people, for the people. However, if you want to rule against the wishes of the masses yet not lose their trust, you can use the Ignorant Masses Policy.
The Ignorant Masses Policy is a type of policy that makes the people foolish to make ruling them easier. It was used by Imperial Japan to try make colonising Korea easier in the 1930’s, while also being famous as the policy of choice by Nazi Germany. The most classic example is the 3S Policy used by Japan and Korea in the 1980’s. “3S” stands for mankind’s never-ending interests: sex, screen and sports. The Policy uses these to enthuse the public and making them naturally lose interest over social issues. For example, in the 1980’s, the president of South Korea, Chun Doo-hwan (who rose to power through a coup d’état) hosted the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, while establishing pro baseball, pro football and pro ssireum (Korean wrestling). Furthermore, he installed colour television on a national level, lifted the curfew (promoting prostitution) and lessening censorship on sexually suggestive dramas and movies.
The Ignorant Masses Policy oppresses the people in the complete opposite way to the reign of terror seen in George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. Instead of destroying freedom, it provides even more freedom and information to drown out interest for the more important field of politics. This policy was well-represented in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. A government that oppresses its people with pleasure and distractions is far more formidable than a government that uses pain and control.
“None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.” ~ Goethe
A succubus is a demon that takes the form of an attractive human woman to seduce men, tempting them to have sex with her. Through sex, the succubus leeches away the man’s life force until he wilts away. They tend to visit men in their dreams and use their beauty and charm to lure and enchant their victim. A famous example of a succubus is Lilith, the first wife of Adam. There are other similar demons throughout the world, such as the nine-tailed fox in Asia (kumiho in Korea, kitsune in Japan and Hulijing in China). A similar demon is an incubus – the male equivalent of a succubus.
The origin of the succubus may be explained medically. It is well known that sleep paralysis is related to vivid hallucinations in the hypnagogic state, with countless cases of alien abductions and supernatural sightings ascribed to the phenomenon.
However, another explanation may be that the succubus is an allegory of the femme fatale. Femme fatale – French for “deadly woman” – describes a mysterious and seductive woman who uses her womanly charms to ensnare and manipulate men. A femme fatale is highly able in utilising the various tools at her disposal: beauty, charm, sexual allure, music, seductive dancing, persuasive language, deception, coercion, hypnotising and generally toying with a man’s reproductive instincts.
There are many examples of how different femme fatales – ranging from the biblical Eve to the spy Mata Hari – made an impact in history through the elaborate manipulation of men to their advantage. This is reflected in folklore through the concept of witches and enchantresses who use “magic” and sexual charms to have men do their bidding, essentially having them on a leash.
Essentially, the moral of the story of the succubus (that is, to men) that women can be deadly and are completely capable of sapping a man’s life away if she wished so. That is why men should know when they are actively being deceived or being controlled by a woman with (false) promises of love and sex. Perhaps the flipside moral of the story for women is that with the power of sex, a woman can have a man do anything for her – a valid strategy that has proven to be effective for all of recorded history.