3 Ways I’m Easily Manipulated
I like to consider myself an independent person capable of making my own well-informed decisions. Sometimes, however, I can be manipulated into doing things I would otherwise consider foolish. I’ve identified strategies that work on me and, in what may prove to be a decision akin to Superman revealing his issue with kryptonite, I’m going to reveal 3 ways that I’m Easily Manipulated.
I’ve never been much of a perfectionist. I pretty much got through high school on my indomitable charm, quick wits, and smoldering good looks.
But every once in a while something comes up that I have to see through. I have to finish it completely. The most basic place where this happens is in video games. Video games used to be pretty straight forward. Get the little 8-bit man up to the top, avoid the barrels, save the 8-bit lady in pink. Over time, however, video companies realized that people like me have a compulsion to completely finish everything. So they added in a whole bunch of secrets that you can’t possibly find on your first time through or multiple endings to make you spend more time playing, along with a percentage counter to tell you how much you still have left to find. And I can’t be satisfied until that counter says 100%.
The most frustrating part is that I realize this strategy is being used, but I can’t help feeling like I have to find every secret, unlock every hidden Easter Egg, and see every ending. When I find myself obsessing over some missing detail, I try to remind myself how silly I’m being. It really doesn’t matter, no one will ever care one way or the other. It’s almost as if I’m wasting my time…
2. Good Advertising
Most of the time I can see through advertising tricks and avoid being fooled into paying more than a should for something. It’s a harmless give and take – I enjoy quality commercials without feeling the need to spend a bunch of money on frivolous stuff. But every once in a while an advertising campaign will hit me and I’ll be taken completely by surprise. Usually it’s something like this guy:
Somehow commercials like the Dyson vacuum guy are able to get through my defenses and hoodwink me. Usually it goes something like this:
Dyson guy: I’ve always thought traditional vacuum cleaners were rather inefficient.
Me: Hey… I’ve thought that too.
Dyson guy: So I redesigned my vacuum cleaner with a unique, patented, swiveling ball.
Me: Pfff that doesn’t seem that interesting.
Dyson guy: *demonstrates*
Only two things are keeping me from actually splurging on this fancy new vacuum cleaner even though I have one that still works. First, they’re like $600. Second, I think the Dyson guy’s inventions are part of a world domination plot. I just can’t prove anything yet.
3. Fallacy of Expertise
I’m not an expert at many things. Star Wars trivia? Sure. Christian imagery in young adult literature? Naturally. Big Bang Theory? As long as we’re talking about the hilarious show, not the scientific phenomenon. Beyond that, I’m pretty much in the dark. So when someone comes along talking confidently about something in which I don’t have a degree I have a hard time finding the courage to say that they are wrong. I’ve mentioned before that one of the signs of growing into an adult is becoming more selective about who you listen to. It’s easy to be swayed by someone simply sounding like they know what they are talking about. When you’ve held a belief for years and suddenly someone with a degree writes a book about how you’re belief is wrong, doubt can creep in and shake you to your core. Sometimes this doubt is a good thing. If you have intellectual integrity, this doubt helps you see where your beliefs are mistaken and correct them. But sometimes I forget that the mere fact that a person is on TV or got their book published doesn’t necessarily make them right. It’s important to evaluate the content of the argument, not just accept the argument based on the credentials of the speaker or how passionately he argues. I’ve wanted for a while to examine some of the atheistic arguments against Christianity, but I want to make sure that I am inoculated against this fallacy before I do. I want to keep an open mind to the arguments themselves and, if they are wrong (which I believe they are), know how to answer them in the future. I’m not the kind of person who just wants to blindly accept whatever a book tells me.