If someone wishes to exert control over a large number of people, how do you stop yourself from falling under that person’s grasp. The answer is by understanding the process people use to gain control over large numbers of people.
This is the latest post in the Equations Of Life Series, so as ever it starts with a simple equation:
Identification of fear + exacerbation of that fear + reward for compliance = control of people
With that out of the way, let’s get to it. There are many people out there who have a very strong desire to not only exert their influence over other people but to outright control them. But how do they do this?
The simple answer is by preying on people’s fears. Those who wish to control others know that the path to doing so is discovering a person’s fears and then using those fears to exert influence over them.
For example, people fear losing their jobs, if a politician wanted to win an election he or she may elect to use this fear as a means to win office, for example a politician may say that if you vote for my opponent he or she will destroy the economy and cost you all your jobs, but if you vote for me I will make the economy great and you will all get better jobs with better pay.
So the politician would have first identified a fear, people’s fear of losing their jobs, exacerbated that fear, namely by implying that the opposition would destroy the economy and cost them their jobs, and then offered a reward for compliance, namely if they vote in his favour they will get better jobs and better pay.
And in reality controlling people really is in principle that simple. Identify a fear, exacerbate that fear then through the promise of compliance, offer the means to appease those fears. It is amazing how throughout history this process has been used for both good and nefarious purposes to gain control of large swaths of people.
For example, people fear death, namely because it is such an unknown, what happens when you die, nobody has any idea. Religion offers a possible answer which is why throughout history religion has always been such a powerful means of gaining influence over people.
For example, if a person said to another I want you to do this because I say so, how many people are likely to do as they are told. Not as many as if a person said, it is not me who wants you to do this but God, and if you comply with his wish you will go to heaven when you die, but if you don’t comply with his command then when you die you will burn in hell for all eternity.
There are many arguments around religion and its foundation, if you are religious then the Bible is real, if you’re not religious then it’s nothing more than a storybook created to control people. Who is right is irrelevant to this conversation, what matters is that religion and its text is indisputably a powerful tool that can be used to control and influence large swaths of people for either good or nefarious reasons, and at the heart of its control is people’s fear of death.
The fear used to control people however does not need to be related to death or jobs or anything quite so extreme. For example, if the famous old example of a politician trying to buy a populous by offering them a TV is used, that is an example of using people’s fear to gain influence over them.
At face value it does not seem this way, at face value it seems like an attempt to buy a populous by targeting people’s desire to have nice things. However it is not quite so simple, if people are led to believe or think that they deserve to have a TV, and fear that if they don’t have a TV that they are missing out on life, a politician who offers them a TV will gain power over those people.
So rather what a politician would be leaching onto by offering a TV is a populous’ fear of missing out, all people fear that they are not living the best life that they can live, so if a politician says that you should have a TV but you don’t but I can give you one if you vote for me then that politician will be targeting that fear of missing out. Or rather it is not the greed of a populous wanting TVs that will win the politician the election, it is the people’s fear of missing out that will.
So whether it comes to a fear of death, a fear of missing out, a fear of losing your job, the key to control is fear. Identify it, exacerbate it and then offer a means to protect against it, the price being compliance. Any person who does that will gain control over large numbers of people.
And with that said, now to return to the point I opened with. How to stop yourself falling under the spell of such a person. The key is identifying your own fears and taking ownership of them, the reason being if you own your own fear and understand how a person may try to use it against you then it can’t be used against you.
That’s all from me today, stay safe, don’t let people prey on your fears, and have a good weekend!