Law 44: Disarm & Infuriate with the Mirror Effect

Law 44: Disarm & Infuriate with the Mirror Effect

The 48 Laws Of Power Summary Series

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?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.?

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There are four main mirror effect in the realm of power.

1. The Neutralizing Effect

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?In ancient Greek Mythology, the gorgon Medusa had serpents for hair, protruding tongue, massive teeth, and a face so ugly that anyone who gazed at her was turned into stone. But the hero Perseus managed to slay Medusa by polishing his bronze shield into a mirror, then using the reflection in the mirror to guide him as he crept up and cut off her head without looking at her directly. If the shield in this instance was a mirror, the mirror also was kind of a shield. Medusa could not see Perseus. She only saw her own reflected actions. And behind this screen, the hero stalled up and destroyed her.?

Image for postIn Greek mythology, Perseus, the legendary founder of Mycenae and of the Perseid dynasty of Danaans, was, alongside Cadmus and Bellerophon, the greatest Greek hero and slayer of monsters before the days of Heracles.

?This the essence of the neutralizing effect. Do what your enemies do, following their actions as best you can, and they cannot see what you?re up to. They are blinded by your mirror. 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.

Most of us remember the childhood experience of someone teasing us by repeating our words exactly. After while, we wanted to punch them in the face. Working more subtly as an adult, you can still unsettle your opponents this way. Shielding your own strategy with the mirror, you lay invisible traps or push your opponents into the trap they plan for you.?

2. The Narcissus Effect

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?Gazing at an image in the waters of a pond, the Greek youth Narcissist fell in love with it. And when he found out that the image was his own reflection and that he therefore could not consummate his love, he despaired and drowned himself. All of us have a similar problem. Most of us are profoundly in love with ourselves. The Narcissus Effect plays on this universal narcissism. You look deep into the soul of others, fathom their innermost 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. This is simply the ability to mimic another person. Not physically but psychologically.?

Typically, people bombard us with their experiences, thoughts and opinions. They hardly ever make the effort to see things through the other?s person?s eyes. This is what I discuss in the animated book summary of Dale Carnegie?s nearly century old wisdom ?How to Win Friends and Influence People.?

?If you can show you understand another person by reflecting their innermost feelings they will be entranced and disarmed all the more so because it happens so rarely.?

?No one can resist this feeling by 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.?

Time?s like this is when these law?s and principles can be used for malevolence ? this is where The 48 Laws Of Power becomes misunderstood and stigmatized. Understand: We all have the capacity for evil and destruction the same way we all have the capacity for good and restoration. Rather than stay ignorant and naive to the realities of the world, you?re better off educating yourself on the potential way?s you and the one?s you care for can be deceived and manipulated. With this information you are better prepared to maneuver through the chaotic nature of the human experience.

3. The Moral Effect

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?The power of verbal argument is extremely limited and often accomplishes the opposite of what is intended.?

?As Baltasar Gracin remarks, the truth is generally seen, rarely heard. Quite simply you teach others a lesson by giving them a taste of their own medicine. In 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. And as they feel the result of their actions mirrored back at them, they realize in the profounder sense how they hurt or punish others with their unsocial behavior.?

This tactic may theoretically work, but I in reality it usually only works on a small percentage of people who are socially/emotionally intelligent. Many will be too clouded by their emotion to even realize that you?re mimicking them. Therefore, they won?t get the lesson you?re trying to impart upon them.

?You objectify the corridors 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.?

4. The Hallucinatory Effect.

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? The Hallucinatory 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 a preeminent technique of con artists who strategically mimic the real world to deceive you.?

Con artists and the malevolent will manipulate your reality for their own gain, by becoming keenly aware of how you?re going to be deceived you lessen the chances of ?misfortune?.

Image for post– Edgar Allan Poe

Law 44 covers seven ?Observances Of The Law?, I will be covering two of them.

Observance of the Law II

?Once there was an ambitious statesman by the title of ?General Alcibiades of Athens?, he fashioned his oration skills formidable weapon that became the source of his power. During every encounter with others he would sense their moods, tastes, and then carefully tailor his words and actions to mirror their innermost desires. He would seduce them with the idea that their values were superior to everyone else?s and that his goal was to model himself on them or help them realize their dreams. So, obviously few could resist a person with that type of charm.

Image for postAlcibiades, son of Cleinias, from the deme of Scambonidae, was a prominent Athenian statesman, orator, and general. Wikipedia

?The first man to fall into his spell was the famous philosopher Socrates. For those who are unaware, Socrates was a very modest simple man. He did not need much except his own mind. His clothing was simple. His food was simple. His house was simple. But Alcibiades was quite the opposite, he would enjoyed living lavishly. But when Alcibiades was around Socrates, he would mirror his behavior to be like him. This feeling intoxicated Socrates, who became Alcibiades? fervent admirer and supporter. One day even risking his own life to rescue this young man in battle.?

Image for postSocrates reproaching Alcibiades, 1819.

?The Athenians loved Alcibiades. His uncanny ability to tune into his audiences aspirations and mirror their desires made them infatuated with him. Alcibiades was made expedition commander in trying to conquer Sicily, but when he left the Athenians fabricated charges against him knowing that his enemies would have executed him if he returned back home to Athens. So, at the last minute he deserted the Athenian fleet and defected to Athens enemy, Sparta.

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Sparta welcomed Alcibiades with open arms but they knew about his reputation and were wary and cautious of him. Alcibiades loved luxury as mentioned before, but the Spartans were warrior people who worshiped austerity and they were afraid he would corrupt the youth. But to their surprise, Alcibiades did not behave the way they expected. He wore his hair untrimmed as they did. Took cold baths, ate coarse bread and black broth them more simple clothes. To the Spartans this signified that Alcibiades had come to see their way of life as superior to the Athenians. But Alcibiades didn?t know how to reign in his charm and he actually got the king of Sparta?s wife pregnant and once this became public he had to flee for his life. He then defected to Persia, where he suddenly went from Spartan simplicity to embracing the lavish Persian lifestyle that he knew all the well.

Now, it was very flattering to the Persians to see a Greek of Alcibiades? stature prefer their culture over his own, and they showered him with honors, land, and power. Now, once seduced by this shield and mirror Alcibiades put up, they did not realize that he was actually helping the Athenians win their war with Sparta by feeding information back to Athens. And with that he was able to reintegrate himself to the city, which he desperately wanted to return, which welcomed him with opened arms.

Image for post19th-century illustration, ?Return of Alcibiades to Athens,? drawn by H. Vogel. Athenian commander Alcibiades is welcomed back to Athens after leading his men to victory at the Battle of Cyzicus in 410 B.C.


When Alcibiades was young, he discovered his whole approach to power. He used to have a colorful forceful personality where he dogmatically argued his ideas strongly. And while this would win a few people over, this would alienate him at the same time from another portion. And the secret to gaining ascendancy over large numbers he came to believe was not to impose his colors, but to absorb the colors of those around him.

Alcibiades found the key to attaining influence and power was to play within the context of his surroundings; like a chameleon morphing colours to the zeitgeist of his environment.

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?But there are many dangers of this promiscuous use of the mirror. In Alcibiades presence people felt larger, as if their egos had been doubled. But once he left, they felt empty and diminished and when they saw him mirroring completely different people like he had mirrored them, they felt betrayed. Alcibiades overused the mirror effect so he had to constantly flee from one place to another. Indeed, Alcibiades angered the Spartans that they had finally murdered him. He had gone too far. The Seducers Mirror must be used with caution and discrimination.?

You can see this can be a transgression as well as an observance.

Image for postMuch about Alcibiades?s death is now uncertain, as there are conflicting accounts.

The following applies to the communications between man and woman we see today.

Observance of the Law III

?There was this daughter of a noble family named Marie Mancini. She was one of five siblings, all girls, but she did not share the fortune of her sisters beauty and grace. Eventually the family would begin to resent her and dislike her because they felt she spoiled their family image. She used this anger and resentment to apply herself to her studies, learning many languages, practicing her musical skills, building herself into a skillful intelligent human being. Most importantly, she trained herself to be an artful listener, and when she finally met future King Louis XIV, when he was 17 years old, she decided to spite her family and she would make this young man fall in love with her.?

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?This was seemingly impossible for such a plain looking girl, but Marie studied the future king closely. She noticed that her sisters? frivolity did not please him and she sensed that he loathed the scheming and petty politicking that went all around him.?

To speak in layman terms, it?s fair to assume this meant King Louis XIV loathed the fact that these girls played psychological games to court his attention.

?In the meantime, Marie noticed he had a romantic nature. The court did not feed Louis fantasies and adventurous mind so there was an empty space ready to be filled by someone who was going to fill it, and that would be Marie. She would construct a mirror reflecting his fantasies and his youthful earnings for glory and romance. She immersed herself in romantic novels, poems, and plays that she knew the young king read voraciously. So, when Louis began to engage her in conversation to his delight she would talk of these things that he loved. She fed his thirst for glory by creating an image of a superior king whom he could aspire to become.

As they spent more time together, it had been clear that the king had fallen in love with Marie, the least likely woman for that to happen in the courts. Louis had showered her with attention bringing her on military campaigns, and even promised to marry her and make her queen. But Louis eventually succumbed to the pressure of the families around him and broke off his first romantic involvement of his life. He did so with much regret that at the end of his life he acknowledged he never loved anyone as much as Marie Mancini. And this was not an accident.?


Maria Mancini played the Seducers game to perfection. First, she took a step back to study her prey. Seduction often fails to get past the first step because it is too aggressive. The first move must always be to retreat. By studying the king from a distance ? Aka, by studying any individual from a distance before you approach them, before you talk to them, you can see what distinguishes them from others, as Marie did.

?The mirror holds up several functions. One, it can satisfy the ego by giving you a double look as it did for Louis. When someone yearns for something so dearly but their environment lacks it so much, if you can fill that void as Marie did, you will be all the more appreciated and loved for it.

This is the power of the Seducers Mirror:

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On the other hand, it?s not obvious to me that mirroring another person will result in the deep and meaningful long term relationships. By observing and communicating with new and intriguing people you figure what type of people work for you. It?s like putting a jigsaw together, instead of changing what piece of the jigsaw you are (like Maria did), maybe it?s more enriching to find other jigsaw pieces that fit suitably together with yours in unison.

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