29 June 2012

The Secret

An aphorism:
You can't control people by violating their personal integrity. You can only control them by getting them to violate their own personal integrity. An individual finds it much harder to fight back against their own wrong acts than another's.
The Mafia knows this when it requires you to "make your bones" (kill some poor bastard) before you can join. School bullies know this when they try to provoke a reaction from their victims. Cults both political and religious know this when they break down new members' egos just so they can replace them with one they prepared earlier.

Crucially, the "toy-town Leninist" requirement that comrades publically defend a decision of The Party that they disagree with does that as well, and is a major factor in the self-perpetuating leadership of formally democratic groups such as these. As Althusser says, if you kneel in the same place and pray in the same way for long enough, you'll believe in God.

Self-concept follows behaviour, and that's another aphorism. So "fake it till you make it" works, but make sure you know what you want to "make".