The Ridiculous Notion of Ethical Manipulation
By Cathy Eck
What is Ethical Manipulation?
Recently, I listened to a webinar on blog marketing. The leader said she was teaching us how to market using ethical manipulation. I’m not much for marketing, which you probably know already if you read my blog. But, I’m always open to new ideas that are ethical. Well, I gotta tell you. Ethical and manipulation don’t belong together in the same sentence. Manipulation is manipulation regardless of what fancy or positive spin you give it.
According to webster, ethics is defined as being moral and conforming to the rules of proper conduct. But the rules of marketing are pretty broad, especially when it comes to internet marketing.
Webster defines manipulation as changing a situation by artful or unfair means to serve one’s purpose. It is a funny definition because artful and unfair are very different words.
So I guess ethical manipulation would mean that you aren’t breaking any rules of conduct as you artfully and unjustly manipulate someone into doing what you want them to do.
When I was little, my dad told me that the key to keeping everyone happy in life is to cause other people to think that you are giving them what they want, when they are actually giving you what you want. In other words, make them think your idea is really their idea. What he said sounded true, but was it right? A skilled manipulator can do that and more with charisma and confidence. But is it ethical?
Ethics should not be forced. I’m not really even sure that ethics can be learned; we are born ethical and stay that way unless we cover our ethical nature up with manipulation and lies. Ethics would not cause someone to do what they would not do if they were in their right mind. True ethics is a meeting of the minds and hearts in a win-win way that is natural.
Big Problems Caused by Ethical Manipulation
Ethical manipulation is causing big problems in our world today. We’ve become so used to it, so immune to its damaging effects, that we consider it normal. We don’t really know the difference between good and bad, right and wrong, because the two have become so confused. And we don’t find it odd or abnormal that we can’t clearly distinguish between someone who is lying and someone who is telling the truth.
Isn’t a white lie still a lie? If viagra causes your heart to stop but your penis to work is it still good? If getting truckloads of women causes a man to lose his wife, is it a good product that made him overly attractive? Is a politician who doesn’t fulfill his promises still a good politician? Our standards have become painfully low.
Why Are We So Easily Fooled?
The important question is why don’t we just ignore such people and their self-centered ideas? Why don’t we see through someone who is faking their goodness? Why doesn’t our discrimination kick in and say no to these self-canceling statements like genuine, fake watches and good politicians? We should ignore these people, but we don’t. In fact, we worship them, elect them to office, and give them our money.
These false prophets of goodwill use a very old trick that our mind plays on us. Our mind selectively focuses on the positive or good words in a statement or story while ignoring the negative or bad, especially if we want the positive benefit that the product or service offers. This occurs because we have been so conditioned to ignore our feminine mind which holds our emotions and intuition. The feminine aspect of our mind helps us discriminate when used correctly. It can easily pick out a fake person or offer because it sees the side that our intellect ignores.
Our masculine mind, once trained, takes all the things we want to hear and then fills in the gaps with logic. My mother used to call this the fine line between genius and idiot because both lack common sense. Common sense comes from our feminine side. Without common sense, we believe anything that is logical even if it’s harmful or false. We will argue a ridiculous point to death to defend our side.
Our current Presidential election is an election of intellects. In ancient times, a battle of intellects was referred to as two men sleeping together. It seems like a strange analogy until you realize that these intellectual battles create stalemates, where nothing progresses because both men are operating from the same intellectual half of their brain. They present logical arguments that only work for them or their side. A half brain is a false mind. In the ancient world, operating from the false mind was referred to as sleeping.
War is also a game of intellects. The logical part of our mind kicks in to make a soldier good. Of course a soldier is nothing but a trained killer, which is a very negative profession. Our common sense mind can see that. But, if the soldier is on our side, our intellect makes him into a hero. Yet that same trained killer, from the loser’s perspective, is a terrorist.
Moses was considered good because he followed the punishing God in the sky, even when he cursed his wife. Abraham was good for following this same God’s voice, yet he nearly killed his own child. We are told these are good characters even though they feel bad to our feminine side; and they do things we would never do. Yet most people accept what they are told and put these confused characters on a pedestal. That’s what ethical manipulation does.
We go to good doctors who label people incurable, when no disease is completely incurable. We go to lawyers who fight for sides instead of truth. We accept false history because it’s printed in the books. We label children with ADD and all kinds of other conditions when they are probably just bored to death with teachers that don’t challenge their creative spirits.
Most of us are victims of all sorts of moral and ethical manipulation in many aspects of our life. Thousands of years ago, stories were invented, history was recorded, and rules were put into place that manipulated the masses to serve the few. When we noticed that the leaders looked good, but felt bad, we were told our feelings were wrong. The feminine became bad and wrong; while the masculine patriarchy, which operated exclusively from logic and intellect, became right and good. Not much has really changed if you look close enough.
What is the Solution?
There is good news. It is our false self that participates in this game. And the false self loses its power as soon as we are on to its silly games. The false self is our own personal evil, our little devil within. It does nothing but lie; and it keeps us disempowered and weak. These ethical manipulators are winning by taking advantage of our powerless false self. If we let go of our false self, they lose their power. Marketing, political, and even religious hype is hope with a little something extra. It feeds on the longing and insecurity of our false self.
A man has a belief that women don’t find him sexy. The belief is what causes women to not find him sexy. But he has never been taught to look for the cause in his very own mind. He looks for a way to fix the effect as he completely ignores the cause. One day, he sees an advertisement where someone just like him puts on a magic cologne; and suddenly, the women go wild. The hype causes him to accept the belief sold by the cologne company. Does it fix the cause? Of course not. The cause has not changed. He still believes women don’t find him sexy; and underneath his new belief in the cologne, his insecurity is growing and will eventually rear its ugly head again. Outer fixes are only temporary. A permanent solution requires fixing the cause.
Ethical manipulation works because most of us share beliefs that we’re unattractive, unworthy, unsafe, and unsuccessful. If you want to make a lot of money in the world today, just offer a half-assed solution to one of those universal beliefs. People today think they want beautiful bodies, fame, and money because those things appear to be the solutions to the pain caused by these universal core beliefs. But when we go in that direction, we are only fooling ourselves. The body will change, the fame will become lost with the next flash-in-the-pan, and the money will run out one day. Yet, the cause will still be in our mind working hard to manifest in our body and life.
On the other hand, when we let go of the causal beliefs, instead of fixing the effects of them, something amazing happens. We no longer find any of their products or services attractive. We can not be hooked by ethical manipulation.
Ethical Manipulation Creates Disease
In summary, ethical manipulation says “I have something you need. You have a problem, a flaw, or a disease; and I am going to fix it.” Often we don’t even have the problem until we read the offer and suddenly notice a flaw we didn’t even know we had.
You might have heard of the blue urine experiment. Many years ago, some college psychologists who were conducting an experiment spoke on a college radio station about a new disease that produces blue urine. Of course, it was all a lie. But people did show up in the medical office claiming to have the symptom of blue urine.
The sad fact is that once we believe something, we see the signs that it’s true. And most of our mind is filled with beliefs that are nothing more than lies planted by charismatic people who are great at ethical manipulation. When people forget their innate goodness, their innate worthiness, and their innate love; they find it impossible to discriminate so the manipulators get what they want. Powerless people are suggestible to anyone who offers a solution even if that solution is total hogwash.
We Love to Buy; We Hate to Be Sold
What is proper marketing? It’s simple communication that says, “I’m here if you need or want me.” It doesn’t matter if you’re a church, a business, or just a website, if you move beyond sharing what you offer into overemphasizing the positive or good, telling people they’re flawed when they aren’t, or saying you have the only solution available, then you’re guilty of practicing ethical manipulation.
We all love to buy from each other. We love to see one another perform. We love to learn things from others. But the other half of that saying is that we hate to be sold. And we hate if for a very good reason. We end up being manipulated into buying things that we don’t need. We end up believing we have problems that we don’t have. We end up thinking too damn much, and enjoying life too damn little. People fall prey to manipulative marketing because they don’t know that most of their needs and wants are nothing more than beliefs that they could let go.
Awareness is most of the battle. Once people start recognizing the tricks and traps of ethical manipulation, they will stop falling into its web. They will start choosing what they want from their heart instead of someone else’s slick, self-serving advice. Soon the advertisers will fail because to manipulate would become the kiss of death that it should be. People will be forced to return to good, old-fashioned giving and receiving.
If enough people do this, the world will come back into economic balance as people will buy only what they truly want and need. They won’t run up massive credit card debt. They won’t even need as much money to live. People will enjoy simpler, yet more fulfilling lives. They will do what they love and love what they do. And the people who are meant to buy from them or use their services will do so with great pleasure. Manipulation, whether ethical or unethical, will be a thing of the past.
The most common problem that people bring to mentorship sessions is abundance. Abundance is our natural state of mind. Marketing, manipulation, and competition block our natural state of abundance. We feel we need to manipulate or convince others to think like us. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the feeling that we need to convince another to think like us is proof that our false self is running our show. We just need to let the false go, and the truth reveals the perfection that has always been there. Here is another article on abundance.