MIRRO R EFFECTS: Preliminary Typology


MIRRO R EFFECTS: Preliminary Typology
Mirrors have the power to disturb uso Gazing at our reflection in the mirror, we most often see what we want to see-the image of ourselves with
which we are most comfortable. We tend not to look too closely, ignoring
the wrinkles and blemishes. But if we do look hard at the reflected image,
we sometimes feel that we are seeing ourselves as others see us, as a person
among other people, an object rather than a subject. That feeling makes us
shudder-we see ourselves, but from the outside, minus the thoughts,
spirit, and soul that fill our consciousness. We are a thing.
In using Mirror Effects we symbolically re-create this disturbing power
by mirroring the actions of other people, mimicking their movements to
unsettle and infuriate them. Made to feel mocked, cloned, objectlike, an
image without a soul, they get angry. 

Or do the same thing slightly differently and they might feel disarmed-you have perfectly reflected their
wishes and desires. This is the narcissistic power of mirrors. In either case,
the Mirror Effect unsettles your targets, whether angering or entrancing
them, and in that instant you have the power to manipulate or seduce
them. The Effect contains great power because it operates on the most
primitive emotions.
There are four main Mirror Effects in the realm of power:
The Neutralizing Effect. In ancient Greek mythology, the Gorgon
Medusa had serpents for hair, protruding tongue, massive teeth, and a face
so ugly that anyone who gazed at her was turned into stone, out of fright.
But the hero Perseus managed to slay Medusa by polishing his bronze
shield into a mirror,

 then using the reflection in the mirror to guide hirn as
he crept up and cut off her head without looking at her directly. If the
shield in this instance was a mirror, the mirror also was a kind of shield:
Medusa could not see Perseus, she saw only her own reflected actions, and
behind this screen the hero stole up and destroyed her.
This is the essence of the Neutralizing Effect: Do what your enemies
do, following their actions as best you can, and they cannot see what you
are up to-they are blinded by your mirror. Their strategy for dealing with
you depends on your reacting to them in a way characteristic of you; neutralize it by playing a game of mimicry with them. The tactic has a mocking, even infuriating effect. Most of us remember the childhood experience
of someone teasing us by repeating our words exactly-after a while, usually not long, we wanted to punch them in the face. Working more subtly
as an adult, you can still unsettle your opponents this way; shielding your
own strategy with the mirror, you lay invisible traps, or push your opponents into the trap they planned for you.
This powerful technique has been used in military strategy since the
days of Sun-tzu; in our own time it often appears in political campaigning.
It is also useful for disguising those situations in which you have no particular strategy yourself. This is the Warrior's Mirror.
A reverse version of the Neutralizing Effect is the Shadow: You
TlIE MERCII ,\r-,'1 ill\D
A certain merchant
once had a great desire
to make a long journey.
Now in regard that he
was not very wealthy,
"It is requisite.

 " said he
to hirnself, "that before
my departure I should
leave some part ofmy
estate in the city. to the
end that if I meet with
ili luck in my travel;�
I may have wherewithal
to keep me at my
return " To this purpose
he delivered a great
number of bars of iron,
which were a principal
part of his wealth, in
trust to one of his
friends, desiring hirn to
keep them during his
absence; and then,
ta king his leave, away
he went. Some time
after, having had but ill
luck in his traveis, he
returned horne; and the
first thing he did was to
go to his friend, and
demand his iron: but
his friend, who owed
several sums of money,
having sold the iron to
pay his own debts,
made hirn this ans wer,'
" Truly, friend, 

" said he,
"I put your iron into a
room that was close
locked, imagining it
would have been there
as secure as my own
gold; but an accident
has happened which
no one could have
suspected, for there was
a rat in the room which
ate it all up. "
The merchant,
pretending ignorance,
replied, "It is a terrible
misfortune to me
indeed; but I know of
LAW 44 377
old that rats love iron
extremely; I have
suffered by them many
tim es before in the same
manner, amI therefore
can the better bear my
present ajfliction. "
This answer extremely
pleased the friend, who
was glad to hear the
merchant so weil
inclined to believe that
a rat had eaten his iron;
and to rem(JVe all
suspicions, desired him
to dine with him the
next day. The merchant
promised he would, but
in the meantime he met
in the middle ofthe city
one of his friend's chU-
(Iren; the child he
carried home, and
locked up in a room.
The next day he went to
his friend, who seemed
to be in greal ajfliction,
which he asked him the
cause 0[, as if he had
been perfectly ignorant
of what had happened.
"0, my dear friend, "
answered the other, "/
beg you 10 excuse me, if
you do not see me so
cheerful as otherwise
I would be; I have lost
one of my chi/dren;
I have had him cried by
sOl/nd of trumpet, but
I know not what is
become of him. "
"O!" replied the
merchant, "/ am grieved
10 hear this; jär
yesterday in the
evening, as I parted
from hence, I saw an
owl in the air with a
child in his claws; bI/I
whether it were yours
I cannot lell. "
" Wh y, you mOSI foolish
and absurd creature!"
replied the friend, "are
YOI/ not aS'hamed 10 lell
such an egregious lie?
An owl, thaI weighs at
378 LAW 44
shadow your opponents' every move without their seeing you. Use the
Shadow to gather information that will neutralize their strategy later on,
when you will be able to thwart their every move. The Shadow is effective
because to follow the movements of others is to gain valuable insights into
their habits and routines. The Shadow is the preeminent device for detectives and spies.
The Narcissus Effect. Gazing at an image in the waters of a pond, the
Greek youth Narcissus fell in love with it. And when he found out that the
image was his own reflection, and that he therefore could not consummate
his love, he despaired and drowned hirnself.

 All of us have a similar problem: We are profoundly in love with ourselves, but since this love excludes
a love object outside ourselves, it remains continuously unsatisfied and unfulfilled. The Narcissus Effect plays on this universal narcissism: You look
deep into the souls of other people; fathom their inmost desires, their values, their tastes, their spirit; and you reflect it back to them, making yourself into a kind of mirror image. Your ability to reflect their psyche gives
you great power over them; they may even feel a tinge of love.
This is simply the ability to mimic another person not physically, but
psychologically, and it is immensely powerful because it plays upon the
unsatisfied self-Iove of a child. Normally, people bombard us with their experiences, their tastes.

 They hardly ever make the effort to see things
through our eyes. This is annoying, but it also creates great opportunity: If
you can show you understand another person by reflecting their inmost
feelings, they will be entranced and disarmed, all the more so because it
happens so rarely. No one can resist this feeling of being harmoniously reflected in the outside world, even though you might weH be manufacturing
it for their benefit, and for deceptive purposes of your own.
The Narcissus Effect works wonders in both social life and business; it
gives us both the Seducer's and the Courtier's Mirror.
The Moral Effect. The power of verbal argument is extremely limited,
and often accomplishes the opposite of what is intended. As Graciän remarks,

 "The truth is generally seen, rarely heard." The Moral Effect is a
perfect way to demonstrate your ideas through action. Quite simply, you
teach others a lesson by giving them a taste of their own medicine.
In the Moral Effect, you mirror what other people have done to you,
and do so in a way that makes them realize you are doing to them exactly
what they did to you. You make them feeZ that their behavior has been unpleasant, as opposed to hearing you complain and whine about it, which
only gets their defenses up. And as they feel the result of their actions rnirrored back at them, they realize in the profoundest sense how they hurt or
punish others with their unsocial behavior. You objectify the qualities you
want them to feel ashamed of and create a mirror in which they can gaze at
their follies and leam a lesson about themselves.

 This technique is often
used by educators, psychologists, and anyone who has to deal with un-
pleasant and unconscious behavior. This is the Teacher's Mirror. Whether
or not there is actually anything wrong with the way people have treated
you, however, it can often be to your advantage to reflect it back to them in
a way that makes them feel guilty about it.
The Hallucinatory Effect. Mirrors are tremendously deceptive, for they
create a sense that you are looking at the real world. Actually, though, you
are only staring at a piece of glass, which, as everyone knows, cannot show
the world exactly as it is: Everything in a mirror is reversed. When Alice
goes through the looking glass in Lewis Carroll's book, she enters a world
that is back-to-front, and more than just visually.
The Hallucinatory Effect comes from creating a perfect copy of an object, a place, a person. This copy acts as a kind of dummy-people take it
for the real thing, because it has the physical appearance of the real thing.
This is the preeminent technique of con artists, who strategically mimic the
real world to deceive you. It also has applications in any arena that requires camouflage. This is the Deceiver's Mirror.

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