Posted by jeremy on February 23, 2011 2:23 pm.
Many targets witness what seems to be highly uneconomical commentary on their private activities in major media outlets1 or by way of other major events. (Examples include, but are not limited to, television dramas where the plot line duplicates the target’s activities for the last few days; or news anchors who seem to speak knowingly about the target on a regular basis.) When combined with displays of widespread hostility towards the target2, this tactic is very distressing.
Targets witnessing these events generally know better than to discuss them with associates, because they know how it all looks. The people who do hear about these things from targets can be counted on to dismiss these reports, pointing out that it’s unreasonable to assume major events were arranged for just one person to see.
What if both sides are right?
The inverted causality hypothesis
The tactic we’re talking about looks like this:
If the target is getting street theater suggesting widespread hostility and surveillance2, he’ll conclude there’s a cause-and-effect relationship - something like this:
But nobody ever showed the target that this is what’s happening. The target is being allowed to believe this is happening.
What if the cause-and-effect relationship is the opposite of what the target imagines?
Even though the target would be completely correct in his perception that this event was connected to his private activities, his belief that the event was arranged for him would be incorrect. Any listener, unless explicitly told otherwise, would make the default assumption - that the target was talking about events that had been arranged just for him to observe, and that he must have delusions of reference. If the target persisted in trying to prove a thesis that was rooted in deception, he would endanger his own psyche3.
The game plan, then, would be to get the target to appear mentally ill, or to drive the target into a downward spiral of paranoia and delusions.
How to eliminate inverted causality
It would be a mistake to assume the episodes you notice are the only ones happening, or that the methods of covert manipulation used to make them happen are only used in this way4. Defending against covert manipulation will pay dividends in other areas of your life.
If you can assert control over your communication with the outside world, such as your computer, phone, and Internet connection, you’re on your way to eliminating covert influences in your life. But it’s not possible to get absolute control over everything that happens to you.
One sure way to neutralize causality inversion is to leave all decisions to chance - like a dice roll or coin toss. You won’t have control over the results, but neither will they.
Try applying this technique in all areas of your life where you’re experiencing this tactic and find it distressing. If the tactics recede, you’ve reduced their control over your life, and you’ve learned something more about your adversaries’ methods.
- ^ In a December 2010 survey, 50% of respondents reported observing customized television programming at least once, and 47% reported it happening several times. See: “Survey snapshot (12/13)”.
- ^ a b These tactics are reviewed in “Watched (and hated) by many” (Feb. 2011).
- ^ In “Deception, self-deception, and delusions” (Feb. 2011), I point out that a diet of deception can lead to self-perpetuating delusions.
- ^ This point was also made in “Obvious and non-obvious performances” (Feb. 2011), but bears repeating. Once you’ve become aware of a new method of manipulation, you have to re-evaluate everything you’ve been through in light of the capabilities you now understand.