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Recovering backpacker, Cornwallite at heart, political enthusiast, catalyst, writer, husband, father, community volunteer, unabashedly proud Canadian. Every hyperlink connects to something related directly or thematically to that which is highlighted.

Friday 22 November 2013

The Raven

You gotta love Haida art, particularly its depiction of The Raven.

Synopsis of this video: a cute girl is talking about how she fell in love with a guy who wasn't incredibly handsome or ridiculously wealthy, but then learned that all the things that made her go head-over-heels in the first place was a series of tips and tricks found through a process called "Pandora's Box."  Naturally, she needs your help to decide whether her love is true or if these tricks are manipulative.

The subtext of the message, of course, is that any average guy could get a girl like that if they just click on the link and open Pandora's Box.  The same trick the girl says she fell for is the one she's foisting upon the public, looking to hook into the self-interest of guys-wanting-girls everywhere.

It's trickery, plain and simple, but very effective.  The video was featured on YouTube, helping it get notice and giving it some legitimacy.  The title Is This Dating Trick Really Fair intrigued the social justice advocate (who doesn't want fairness?) in me just enough to see what it was saying.  

Had it been sent to me in a random email or popped up on Google, I wouldn't have touched it, nor would I open the link being proposed - Pandora's Box sounds a wee bit too much like a Trojan Horse to me.

As someone who works in communications and catalyzing behaviour change, though, I give props to the minds behind this campaign because it's very effective, even as it's cynically manipulative.

Historically, we've tended to judge these manipulators and tricksters as bad guys - everyone from Satan to Loki to the Raven have the ability to morph shape, catalyze behaviours and get us to do things we wouldn't normally do, often things considered bad.  Tricksters see ways to tease personal wins out of manipulating others and use trickery to get what they want.

At the same time, we idolize the tricksters as wise; Master Oogway and Master Yoda will trick their pupils into changing their behaviours, only for the better.  They see the potential in others and use trickery to help their students realize their greater potential, often in spite of themselves.

This is a matter that those who aspire to truly lead should consider deeply.  There's a lot of money to be made in understanding how other's think and manipulating those thoughts for your own advantage, but consider this - to truly understand how another person thinks, well enough to defeat them, you can't help but learn to love them (or face a growing amount of cognitive dissonance) as a result.

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