Red riding hood on her way to grandma's house in her red cloak.


Feb 10, 2022

A definition.

Manipulation is a dirty word.

Most people recoil from it, because it induces uncertainty and doubt and fear.

The very idea that someone could pull one over on us violates G.I.A., our strong proclivity to believe that we are GOOD, INTELLIGENT, and AUTONOMOUS.

So we turn away from manipulation, and pretend it doesn't exist. And this make us more vulnerable to it.

Definition of manipulate

transitive verb

1: to treat or operate with or as if with the hands or by mechanical means especially in a skillful manner

2: to manage or utilize skillfully

3: to control or play upon by artful, unfair, or insidious means especially to one's own advantage

4: to change by artful or unfair means so as to serve one's purpose

To influence behavior without care or concern for how that behavior will effect the influencee.

If you alter someone's behavior for your own benefit, without care for how it effects them, you are engaged in manipulation.

The word 'manipulation' evolved in France in the 1730s, as manipule, a method of mining that meant 'handful'. By the 1820s, it had spread to english, and it's meaning had expanded to include the 'handling of objects'.

The roots of the word, however, are very old. Older than Rome, Greece, or Egypt. They are Proto-Indo-European, which emerged from modern day Ukraine, Russia and Kazakhstan. The roots man- means 'hand' and pele- means 'full'.  

File:Indo-European migrations.gif
Indo-European migrations starting roughly 6,500 years ago, in modern Ukraine.

We manipulate with our hands, and we manipulate with our minds, and it is the care we give which determines the harm or good which we do.

At Occulted Ordinary, manipulation describes behavior which steals from others, and influence describes that which helps them.

If you think about manipulation, you will notice manipulation. But be careful where you direct your wholly legitimate anger.

"The best agent is an unconscious agent."  - William S. Burroughs

Those who manipulate us are not always at fault. Sometimes they are merely passthroughs for larger manipulators.

A mother, encouraged by her government to raise her children on a low-fat, grain heavy diet, is not responsible for the damage.

Approach those who damaged you with a heart of compassion, and an unwillingness to endure any more.  

Thanks for reading.