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.

american-quarterOne 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.



  1. ^ 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)”.
  2. ^ a b These tactics are reviewed in “Watched (and hated) by many” (Feb. 2011).
  3. ^ In “Deception, self-deception, and delusions” (Feb. 2011), I point out that a diet of deception can lead to self-perpetuating delusions.
  4. ^ 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.



  1. Re: Causality inversion, and how it looks like delusions of refe  BiologyStudent

    I’m not sute I understand diagram2. Could you explain it different?

    February 23, 2011 02:59:03 PM

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    • Re: Causality inversion, and how it looks like delusions of refe  jeremy

      Is that any better?

      February 23, 2011 03:21:09 PM

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      • Re: diagrams  jeremy

        Also revised dgram #3 - much better - I think this is ready for the presses.

        February 23, 2011 05:18:18 PM

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        • Re: diagrams  anon

          J, wadr, if you’re talking presses, it would be really helpful to include a hypothetical so ppl know exactly what you’re talking about. It’s too vague for GP. I have an idea, but that’s a privilege some might not have ; )

          February 23, 2011 05:36:14 PM

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          • Re: diagrams  BiologyStudent

            Sorry it was #3 that was giving me the trouble not #2. I counted wrong. And also yes, that is MUCH better. I actually understand #3 now. Thank you.

            February 27, 2011 05:28:19 PM

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        • Re: Causality inversion, and how it looks like delusions of refe  Roxanne

          OK, a very simple hypothetical would be: I head over to Burger King but the road there is slippery and I get stuck in a snow bank. They know I’ll be getting Derrick Robinson’s letter about the meeting at Burger King for the Bioethics Commission. (For me ther other V2K forbearings that I am sensitized to.) With ‘causal inversion’ I might conclude the location of the meeting was set AFTER Burger King snowbank incident.

          February 24, 2011 05:47:18 AM

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          • Re: Causality inversion, and how it looks like delusions of refe  Roxanne

            I really was in a snowbank yesterday, before I got the letter from FFCHS. This is a real incident.

            February 24, 2011 10:32:24 AM

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            • Re: real accident  jeremy

              Oh, okay (I just removed a comment that was based on a misunderstanding of what you were writing).

              This is a great example of why you shouldn’t read too much into remarkable coincidences, exactly because of the possibility of causal inversion. If your accident was arranged, then it might have been arranged with foreknowledge of the location; that would be “causal inversion”, with the intention of getting you to think FFCHS was taunting you with its choice of location.

              That’s what causal inversion as a tactic is all about - deception, with the intention of getting you to think an innocent organization is linked to what you’re going through.

              February 24, 2011 10:50:14 AM

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          • Re: Causality inversion, and how it looks like delusions of refe  Roxanne

            And that’s what’s great about this site for me–telling anyone else the reason I think I got stuck would get me labelled with delusions of reference.

            February 24, 2011 11:37:12 AM

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            • Re: Causality inversion, and how it looks like delusions of refe  Roxanne

              Scratch that–thinking FFCHS set its site at Burger King because of me would be delusions of reference.

              February 24, 2011 12:03:49 PM

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