Law 44: Disarm and Infuriate with the Mirror Effect

The mirror reflects reality, but it is also 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. Few can resist the power of the Mirror Effect.

Mirrors have the power to disturb us. Gazing at our reflection in the mirror, we most often see what we want to see—the image of ourselves with which we are most comfortable. We tend not to look too closely, ignoring the wrinkles and blemishes. But if we do look hard at the reflected image, we sometimes feel that we are seeing ourselves as others see us, as a person among other people, an object rather than a subject. That feeling makes us shudder—we see ourselves, but from the outside, minus the thoughts, spirit, and soul that fill our consciousness. We are a thing.

Four Main Mirror Effects

1. The Neutralizing Effect

Do what your enemies do, following their actions as best you can, and they cannot see what you are up to.
Their strategy for dealing with you depends on your reacting to them in a way characteristic of you; neutralize it by playing a game of mimicry with them.
The tactic has a mocking, even infuriating effect.
You lay invisible traps, or push your opponents into the trap they planned for you.
This powerful technique often appears in political campaigning.
It is also useful for disguising those situations in which you have no particular strategy yourself.
A reverse version of the Neutralizing Effect is the Shadow: You shadow your opponents’ every move without their seeing you.
Use the Shadow to gather information that will neutralize their strategy later on, when you will be able to thwart their every move.
The Shadow is effective because to follow the movements of others is to gain valuable insights into their habits and routines.
The Shadow is the preeminent device for detectives and spies.
2. The Narcissus Effect

You look deep into the souls of other people; fathom their inmost desires, their values, their tastes, their spirit; and you reflect it back to them, making yourself into a kind of mirror image.
Your ability to reflect their psyche gives you great power over them; they may even feel a tinge of love.
This is simply the ability to mimic another person not physically, but psychologically, and it is immensely powerful because it plays upon the unsatisfied self-love of a child
If you can show you understand another person by reflecting their inmost feelings, they will be entranced and disarmed, all the more so because it happens so rarely.
No one can resist this feeling of being harmoniously reflected in the outside world, even though you might well be manufacturing it for their benefit, and for deceptive purposes of your own.

3. The Moral Effect

You mirror what other people have done to you, and do so in a way that makes them realize you are doing to them exactly what they did to you.
You make them feel that their behavior has been unpleasant, as opposed to hearing you complain and whine about it, which only gets their defenses up.
They feel the result of their actions mirrored back at them, they realize in the profoundest sense how they hurt or punish others with their unsocial behavior.
You objectify the qualities you want them to feel ashamed of and create a mirror in which they can gaze at their follies and learn a lesson about themselves.
This technique is often used by educators, psychologists, and anyone who has to deal with unpleasant and unconscious behavior.
This is the Teacher’s Mirror. Whether or not there is actually anything wrong with the way people have treated you, however, it can often be to your advantage to reflect it back to them in a way that makes them feel guilty about it.
4. The Hallucinatory Effect

Effect comes from creating a perfect copy of an object, a place, a person.
This copy acts as a kind of dummy—people take it for the real thing, because it has the physical appearance of the real thing.
This is the preeminent technique of con artists, who strategically mimic the real world to deceive you.
It also has applications in any arena that requires camouflage. This is the Deceiver’s Mirror
Power of Mirroring

You give people the feeling that you share their thoughts and goals.
If they suspect you have ulterior motives, the mirror shields you from them, preventing them from figuring out your strategy.
This will infuriate and unsettle them. By playing the double, you steal their thunder, suck away their initiative and make them feel helpless.
You also gain the ability to choose when and how to unsettle them—another avenue to power.
The mirror saves you mental energy: simply echoing the moves of others gives you the space you need to develop a strategy of your own.

WARNINGS

· Mirrors contain great power but also dangerous reefs.· You can often back into a mirrored situation without fully understanding it.· Most often you suffer by the comparison, seeming either weaker than the previous occupant of your position or else tainted by any unpleasant associations that person has left behind.· Avoid the association-effects like the plague. · In a mirrored situation you have little or no control over the reflections and recollections that will be connected to you.· Any situation beyond your control is dangerous. · Doesn’t matter if the person or event has positive associations, you will suffer from not being able to live up to them, since the past generally appears greater than the present. · If you recognize people associating you with some past event or person, do everything you can to separate yourself from that memory and to shatter the reflection.

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