5/15/11

The 48 Laws of Power: The Mirror Effect

"The mirror reflects reality, but it also is the perfect tool for deception: When you mirror your enemies, doing exactly as they do, they cannot figure out your strategy. The Mirror Effect mocks and humiliates them, making them overreact. By holding up a mirror to their psyches, you seduce them with the illusion that you share their values; by holding up a mirror to their actions, you teach them a lesson." -Robert Green, the 48 Laws of Power

In the continuing coverage of the book, 48 Laws of Power, there is probably no law I've employed most in life than the Mirror Effect. Whether it may be repeating the action of someone else to better illustrate their wrongdoings, or to quickly befriend a group at a party, the Mirror Effect is a swiss-army knife of deception practices. As usual though this tool should not be the only strategy in your toolbox. Predictability is never becoming.

Greek mythos teach us of the warrior Perseus tasked with slaying the Gorgon Medusa. Medusa, once a beautiful individual was turned blindingly ugly by the gods, turning any man who caught her glance to stone. Perseus polished his bronze shield into a mirror, reflecting Medusa's gaze back onto herself and then slicing off her head of snakes. What happened here? Medusa was distracted by her own actions and could not see past the ploy Perseus had enacted. At this loss, Medusa's primary defense was canceled out and she was easily defeated. Likewise, if you copy any individual, their words, their actions, the way they carry themselves; you cancel out any advantage or power they may rely on. Without it, the playing field is evened and they can be easily defeated.

Narcissism is commonly mentioned in this blog and for good reason. The personality disorder is on the rise and symptoms of narcissism are at an all time high. What better tool than for a deceiver or courtier than a mirror. The word narcissism stems from the Greek man Narcissus. Gazing at his reflection in a pool of water, the young man fell in love. Distraught, however, upon discovering the image was himself, Narcissus drown himself. In this day and age the general population loves to talk, and talk about themselves. Share their interests, their worries, their hopes and suddenly you become their reflection, and they are at ease. Moreover if you act as they do, like and dislike as they do it further cements their beliefs. If you also share their distaste in a particular song, the song must be on all accounts bad. They love you for agreeing.

Often times, you can not win someone over or explain a situation through words. Words are cheap, and everyone has them. But to show through actions (a law in and of itself), can be incredibly powerful. What could be more powerful and easy in such cases than showing through actions the very actions someone just committed? You can teach a lesson, explain a moral. Instead of trying to detail why you are hurt, or why someone should not do something, you make them feel the actions their self. Even if the action employed by others was not a bad one, copying them may force a feeling of guilt or shame in what they did. Fastest way to get someone to quit doing something annoying? You do it yourself.

For the clearest exemplification of this law: watch a couple at a bar, lounge or restaurant the next time you're out. Does the couple mirror the body language of one another? Yes? They're either already in a relationship and happy with each other or their spark is just starting and they're at ease. If the two are not in sync, focused away from each other they're either on a first date and its going poorly or they're in a relationship and just not interested in each others company.

"image: the shield of perseus. it is polished into a reflecting mirror. medusa cannot see you, only her own hideousness reflected back at her. behind such a mirror you can deceive, mock, and infuriate. with one blow, you sever medusa's unsuspecting head." -Robert Green, the 48 Laws of Power

33 comments:

  1. I studied Greek mythology in high school! Was one of my favorite subjects. Great post!

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  2. Wow.. those are nice photos, really.

    Great post!

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  3. Here's the question for you though, if narcissism is on the rise, and actually becomes a norm for the population, will they still consider it a personality disorder?

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  4. That was indeed a good read!

    It's everything true, because i also use the power of the mirror effect as one of my main tools for facing everyone that i know, so that i can exploit their weaknesses!

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  5. Autism is on the rise, I don't think it'll ever be the norm though.

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  6. would you believe that I actually had myself hypnotized and tried to brainwash myself into mirroring those i wanted to build rapport with? It seemed to work too, I know find myself mirroring the body language of every hot chick i meet XD

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  7. Narcissism is definitely on the rise.

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  8. mirror mirror on the wall... who's the prettiest of them all?

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  9. What a good read. You have some deep stuff.

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  10. Some awesome information right here, keep it up!

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  11. @PaulBlark I always wanted to look into Greek mythology, where did you go to high school at lol?

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  12. I didn't get half way through this before the urge to go look at myself arose.

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  13. Greek mythlogy is great, I want to read more about it in the future.

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  14. Hey nice work man

    I have some similar stuff on my blogs!

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  15. Beautifully explained! I actually know a few people who would gladly marry themselves if they could!

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  16. people love what they are...i totally agree your point of view

    I have followed your blog..Could you follow mine too please?

    Sky Stock Analysis

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  17. Very interesting, Would like to see more.

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  18. very interesting post, im not reading all 48 of these laws of power. looking forward to more posts, followed

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  19. Wow, this is great, keep posting!

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  20. i also want to cut off the heads of my enemies

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  21. The mirror effect is astonishing and body language speaks louder than words!

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  22. Too narcissistic to read this, it isn't about me directly.

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  23. This seems similar to some NLP stuff. :D

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  24. that opening quote got me thinking a lot. so so true

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  25. This really got to me nice post

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  26. Truly fascinating post. It's going to be interesting to practice this effect and see what a difference it can make in everyday life.

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  27. This is one of the core abilities of those who are a con artist, which although I am not yet, I would really like to polish up on it.

    Part of the con is to give people a sense of ease, and just like many other animals, whether it be like the pack of wolves or pride of lions, when you act similarly to them and show some traits similar to their own (mirroring accents, subtle movements, sharing some of the same general information), then it really gets a person to open up and trust a lot more quickly.

    I know you already outlined a good amount of what I said, but I was just giving an example on how mirroring is used in other ways.

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  28. Wow, that's really interesting.
    I should try this next time I'm frustrated with someone - maybe they'll learn a lesson and get a taste of their own medicine :P

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  29. Anonymous08:32

    The story of Medusa once being a beautiful young lady is a later adaptation of the myth from the Romans. In Greek mythology Medusa and her sisters are daughters of Phorcys and Ceto. Ovid's roman adaptation is what you speak of

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