Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Pickup Artists, Seduction, Feminists, Emotional Manipulation and Intention

I wrote the following blog post in response to a discussion I stumbled across about "Pickup Artists". (See Wikipedia on Pickup artists and this somewhat confrontational discussion on "Feminist Pitbull": A thread for discussing Elana Clift’s Thesis “Picking Up and Acting Out: Politics of Masculinity in the Seduction Community” ... and a book or 2 about it: The Pickup Artist: The New and Improved Art of Seduction and The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists )

Here is what I think about this:

All human interaction is a kind of manipulation. It is not manipulation that is the problem, but what type of manipulation is being practised. What I mean is: what purpose/intention is the manipulation serving.

For example we don't always tell people that we don't know very well the brutal truth about themselves. This is otherwise known as "Not Hurting People's Feelings". In this kind of way (such as "Not Hurting People's Feelings") in all interactions between people all of us try to get more of what we want out of each other, and less of what we don't want.

So ultimately none of this is really that important. Its more of a kind of "given". Of course you are going to try to do your best to take care of other people's feelings.

Much more important therefore is the intentions you have about what you do with that. For example: Are you trying to make the world a better place, or are you simply trying to increase the size of the pile that you yourself happen to be sitting on. At the end of the day, it is our INTENTIONS that matter. And they matter MORE than the means by which we go about achieving them.

I don't mean to suggest that good ends can be used to justify bad means. Only that in the situation that is being talked about here, namely the way we all manipulate each other's feelings so as to get more of what we want from each other and less of what we don't want, the skill with which we do that is not so critical as the purpose in aid of which that skill is being put to use.

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