Ethics of persuasion

For the longest time I was under the belief that persuasion was unethical. That it was morally wrong to use persuasion methods to manipulate people into doing what you want. But recently my thoughts on that are beginning to change. This is why.

From what I’ve been studying about the human mind, in times of scarcity, a part of the brain related to the ego activates and causes us to go into this sort of paranoid mode. It makes a lot of sense if you think about it from an evolutionary point of view. If you and someone else are stuck on a desert island and there is only enough food for one of you, it is evolutionary advantageous for you to kill the other person and take the food for yourself. If you didn’t, the other would probably kill you and survive to pass down their genes. So the “selfish gene” gets passed down and that insane, murderous, competitive trait along with it.
And that same behavior happens if someone tries to take advantage of you like rob you or manipulate you in some way. I grew up in a fairly poor family so everyone was in that sort of scarcity mode for money all the time. Paranoid that everyone was trying to take advantage of them and afraid to take any real risk because they didn’t have money to lose. And because I grew up like that, any time I heard of persuasion, that paranoid, selfish part of my brain would trigger and cause me to associate persuasion with something bad because people could persuade me into losing what little money I had or somehow hurting and taking advantage of me. And when you’re in scarcity mode, that makes so much sense and it becomes a reality, even though it is a complete delusion and is probably the main thing keeping you there, like a self fulfilling prophecy.

But now as I learn more about human psychology, spirituality, sales, marketing, etc. I’m beginning to see the truth, or what seems like closer to the truth than the belief system I was under before, since “all truths are but half-truths” – The Kybalion. Now I see that there are good people in the world, and all the crazy persuasion methods can be used for good and I think are mainly used for good than bad. Like right now I’m learning marketing, and most small businesses are in dire need of good marketing and could benefit greatly from it. But most people are stuck in that scarcity mindset and don’t trust anyone and aren’t open to getting a marketing service, even though they would benefit a bunch from it. So persuasion tactics would be a very good thing to do with those people.

Persuasion is only “bad” if it’s a win-lose scenario, like I want to trick you into giving something important up for my own benefit. But if it is win-win like I am trying to help you but I need to “trick” you into seeing that what I am offering will provide you a ton of value and you will be very thankful afterwards.

And I think the cases of win-win go unnoticed since the ego, or “the victim”, or “the little me” doesn’t get triggered like it would if they got taken advantage of. And because of that, the persuasion tactics go unnoticed. But if they were getting taken advantage of, they would get triggered and their brain would remember it very vividly because of the bias it has towards negative events. And this makes for a very funny state where persuasion only gets noticed when it is being used for evil instead of good, and thus usually has a negative connotation with it. And I think that same goes for pretty much any people skills, whether it’s marketing, sales, pickup, etc.

This is one of those weird paradox things related to people skills that I’ve stumbled upon and unless someone points it out to you, it usually goes unnoticed, which is why I am very passionate about this sort of stuff and am always seeking to learn more and change my perspective on things and also helping others learn this as well.

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