People try to manipulate me all the time,
But I'm just too clever for them.
There may be some truth in what our Founding Father says. At least according to legend. But he was far from being innocent when it comes to the other end of the manipulations.
We use the word "Manipulation" quite freely. But just what is manipulation? And is there a good kind like our parents tell us there is when there's something they want us to do?
The dictionary tells us that it means to "handle" something, or some one, usually to our own advantage. And, of course, the last definition is the one we are after.
The Thesaurus tells us no more, except to add "exploit" to the list, which could possibly help.
So far our usual resources have availed us nothing.
Let's check with the Manipulators of Antiquity to see what they have to say on the subject.
Manipulation as such, is not a term that the Religious Leaders used, nor the Secular writers. Nor can I find "exploit" in my references. But I am sure there must be a term for it that they used. After all, it certainly isn't a modern invention.
Duplicity and deceit are two words that come to mind that certainly resemble our word for the day. They are not totally the same as manipulation, but close. The thesaurus lists a great many words along with these, most which are a bit more devilish than what we are considering at this point.
No success with the Religious Leaders, though I am sure they had other words for it. But since it seems to be a more "harmless" human trait, let's check with the Secular Thinkers:
Success at last. Deceive is our word. And to begin with we have this from Sebastian Brant in Ship of Fools:
"The world wants to be deceived."
(Short and to the point, wouldn't you say?)
This, a warning to women everywhere from William Shakespeare:
"Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more. Men were deceivers ever; One foot in the sea, and one on the shore, The one thing constant never."
(I resent this. Not deny, just resent.)
Here's one from who's name is almost longer than his maxim; Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld:
"It is more ignominious to mistrust our friends than to be deceived by them."
And another by the same author:
"The true way to be deceived is to think oneself more clever than others."
Another from a Frenchman. Is there a pattern beginning here? This time from Jean De La Fontaine:
"It is double pleasure to deceive the deceiver."
This from one who simply entitles his writings Letters of Junius:
"There is a moment of difficulty and danger at which flattery and falsehood can no longer deceive, and simplicity itself can no longer be misled."
And finally this from Plato:
"Everything that deceives may be said to enchant."
Now let's see what our Master Manipulators have to say on one of their favorite pastimes.