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September 17, 2012 | by  | in Features |
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Dance, Puppets, Dance

Succeeding in Life Through the Art of Callous Manipulation

Humankind has always favoured particular characteristics, generally speaking. Exactly what those characteristics happen to be at any given time is a shifty and elusive beast, difficult to pin down—much like an amoral badger covered in grease. Once upon a time it was physical prowess, but as we have evolved and matured, so too have our preferred characteristics. I think you can see where I’m going with this. 

In this day and age, the most desired characteristic is the ability to ruthlessly play your fellow human beings off against one another in a Machiavellian display of chess grandmastership. If you live by the tenets of this article, and make a few minor changes to your life and habits, you’ll be politicking your way to fun and profit and people’s trousers before you know it.

The most immediate way to use political nous in your day to day life is by manipulating those closest to you. Keep a mental list of their interrelationships, their hopes, dreams and fears, and use this knowledge to your advantage. Imagine humanity as a slightly less complicated version of The Sims. Analyse everyone: your significant other, workmates, flatmates, your bitter enemies. The latter is only possible if you never burn your bridges. No matter what someone has done to you, keep them close. You never know when they might be interviewing you for a promotion, or trusting you with their life savings.

Romance is even easier. The basic tenet of human attraction is that we want that which we cannot have—so long as the door is never completely closed. Devise a complex (and fabricated) system of strict morals which forbid you from seeing anyone romantically, and apologise profusely to everyone you sleep with: to wit, ‘we really can’t keep doing this’. Remain in contact via technology, and with any luck you’ll build up a queue of hopefuls waiting patiently for you to become available, potentially for years. This has the happy side-effect of creating a legion of devotees who will spread your ever-widening influence.

Loyalty is momentary, image is paramount, and dignity is a tool. Allow people to see your vulnerability only when it is feigned, especially in the early days before you have sterilised yourself of all emotion. Do not grow close to anyone, under any circumstances. In today’s environment, sociopathy is a competitive advantage. It remains crucial that you remember at all times what you are striving for. That should not be
too complicated, since a necessary condition of gaining political power is to abandon your dreams and dedicate yourself to retaining power.

Assume the moral high ground without justification, and when things go wrong, smile as though everyting is going according to plan. Separate your friends into factions who can be easily split along a clear fissure, and when one discovers your true nature, side with the other and gradually slide from the limelight, ideally laying all blame with a brash and physically attractive rival—your apparent deference will only lead to their demise.

Best of luck to you. It won’t be easy, it won’t be fun and it won’t be fulfilling. You’ll most likely die sad and alone, embroiled in allegations of corruption and mired in scandal. But these are the pitfalls of politicking. This is the foundation upon which we rest our civilisation. Game the system and play to win. After all, in life as it is in statecraft, if you’re not a two-faced politician, you’re a faceless statistic—choose your own adventure. ▲

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