Unbalanced logo

Content warning

This story may contain sensitive material or discuss topics that some readers may find distressing. Reader discretion is advised. The views and opinions expressed in this story are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Vocal.

What Is the Problem with Manipulation, as It Is Currently Perceived?

Freedom and Respect

By Mr.LightPublished 2 months ago 3 min read

1. Deference. The most evident issue with manipulation is that it may be disrespectful to one's dignity and sense of autonomy. The issue from an autonomy perspective is that manipulation has the potential to rob individuals of their agency, placing them on a continuum where compulsion is necessary.

the final result. (People may feel pressured to purchase a product if they are tricked into doing so.)

From a dignified perspective, the issue is that manipulation may be degrading.

Adults in good health who do not have a disability should not be misled; rather, they should be considered completely capable of making their own decisions. It is not appropriate to treat them like children or like puppets in order to diminish their autonomy over their own life. Manipulation is not a respectful conduct toward others.

Let's say, for instance, that someone believes, "I know a lot of strategies to get all my friends to do certain things, and I want them to do those things." I've read a ton of behavioral science and psychology books, including the top ones on social influence, and my goal is to control my friends with what I know." Someone like that wouldn't appreciate the independence of her pals. They would be her instruments, after all. In fact, her behavior would go against what defines friendship as a connection that isn't exclusively or predominately utilitarian.

Let's now discuss the government case. Imagine if public officials, such as those in a governor's office, have a similar amount of knowledge about persuasion, and imagine that they choose to apply this knowledge to accomplish certain policy objectives. Assume that some of the pertinent tools make an effort to obstruct or undermine thought processes. We need to know the specifics—what precisely are they doing?—but it's probably safe to assume that there is manipulation going on and that public servants aren't treating their constituents with enough respect.

2. Position. In this context, we ought to be able to see how important role is in determining how much manipulation is evaluated. Assume that Jones is looking for work. It is by no means inappropriate for Jones to try to win over potential employers, and if finds out about System 1's workings and social influence, it wouldn't be entirely inappropriate for him to utilize what he has learned. There are, of course, ethical bounds to what Jones may accomplish, and the most severe forms of deception would go too far even for a job seeker. However, deontological limitations are lessened or at least altered in instrumental interactions or relationships that are so understood.

Everyone is aware of the nature of the contact in an advertising campaign.

The currency of the realm is manipulation. Commercials are meant to sell items, and while some factually-based presentations exist, many of them make no attempt to provoke thought or consideration. They attempt to evoke particular feelings and connotations.

A similar statement can be made regarding certain facets of political campaigns. Voters and campaigns have an instrumental relationship because it is common knowledge that campaigns want votes. During this process, manipulative elements will be present in both speeches and commercials. Saying that individuals have given their assent to manipulate in all conceivable ways in these situations would be preposterous. It is possible to cross lines here too.

However, it's critical that individuals understand what makes the pertinent businesses unique.

Different norms accompany different roles, so manipulation could not fit in with their standards, or maybe go against them. Governments operate under quite different criteria when interacting with their constituents than while conducting campaigns. In free and democratic countries, where it is acknowledged that the public is ultimately sovereign, at least, this is the case.

It is, after all, not unheard of for public authorities to present alternatives in a way that presents their preferred candidates in the best possible light. However, as their manipulative tactics become more aggressive, the range of acceptable objections increases. And grows larger.


About the Creator


“You have two choices: to control your mind or to let your mind control you.”

Enjoyed the story?
Support the Creator.

Subscribe for free to receive all their stories in your feed. You could also pledge your support or give them a one-off tip, letting them know you appreciate their work.

Subscribe For Free

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights


There are no comments for this story

Be the first to respond and start the conversation.

    Mr.LightWritten by Mr.Light

    Find us on social media

    Miscellaneous links

    • Explore
    • Contact
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Use
    • Support

    © 2024 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.