Tuesday, July 29, 2008

LAW 33: Discover Each Man's THUMBSCREW

No one is invincible. Everyone has a weakness. It can either be well disguised or openly seen. What matters is that you find your enemy's weakness before he or she finds yours.

Finding one's weakness is easier said than done however. Everyone develops a psychological defense as they grow up to cover-up their weak points. It would take sly tactics and a strong set of nerves to break that defense.

Carefully examining the unconscious signals sent by your enemy is vital in finding a weak point. Pay attention to your victim's actions and see if anything can be used to your advantage. If your foe is an emotionless rock and doesn't give anything away, pretend to open up to him or her and hope that he or she opens up to you. Remember that most weaknesses develop during childhood, so try to go as far back as possible when talking to your victim.

When dealing with a group of people, make sure to go for the weakest member first, or as most call it: the weak link. Again, search for any insecurities or uncontrollable fear, and take advantage of it.

The trickery an art dealer named Joseph Duveen performed is a perfect example for this law. There was this humble woman named Arabella Huntington who was branded as a gold digger for marrying a very wealthy man. Realizing her insecurity for being wrongly perceived by society, he began courting her and getting to know her for who she really is. She loved the way Duveen treated her, so when her husband eventually passed away and left her all his riches, she used the money to buy his paintings. Duveen's plan worked perfectly. Instead of simply selling her his paintings right away, he first found her soft spot then capitalized on it.

Now before you run off and begin looking for your nemesis' thumbscrew, remember that you're doing this for power, not for the pleasure of toying with your enemy. Danger lies in losing control when pushing the wrong buttons.

So... What's your weakness? I'll tell you mine if you tell me yours!

-Marvin Velasco-

35 comments:

Kiara Lagrisola said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kiara Lagrisola said...

"remember that you're doing this for power, not for the pleasure of toying with your enemy" --However, if you think about it, you ARE toying with your "enemy," whether it is the purpose [of the course of action this law is asserting] or not.

This makes me question the ethics [or lack thereof] behind this law. :| It IS true that everyone has his weakness. But isn't it that others should learn how to help these people with their respective weaknesses in order to make them better people for a better-functioning society?

This law is simply stating that one must be on the look-out for his peers' weaknesses so that he will be able to "hit" them through these weak points and use these to his advantage. Does one's search for power really entail that others should be subordinated contrary to these "subordinated's" prerogative?

- Kiara Lagrisola, Hi 18 O

Jamie Bauza said...

hmmm it seems that the 48 laws of power all entail manipulating other people for your own advantage.. there's so much deceit going on! haha
personally i don't believe in stepping on other people just to get what i want, and i wouldn't promote taking advantage of other people's weaknesses..it seems unethical and immoral..
And how would you know if you've gone past doing this "just for power?"

Jamie Bauza
HI 18 N

Dexter Tanengsy said...

This law is interesting. I didn't even know that weaknesses or insecurities develop usually during childhood. Knowing the tactics mentioned is really a force to be recognized. If one master this art, no enemy will stand in his/her way too long. The key is finding the weakness and focus all your firepower towards that crack. A boulder is very hard. If you punch it, most probably nothing will happen but if you are like water wherein it sips inside the boulder. Through time, it will cause the boulder to crack and then eventually crumble.

I have a fear of heights. How can anyone possibly use that against me?lol =))

Dexter Tanengsy Hi18-N

patricia said...

It pays to know about this law because for one thing, you can use it against your enemy and at the same time, you can guard against others using your own weaknesses against you. That is, if you're actually aware of what weaknesses you have. So maybe before going about psychanalyzing and poking at the crack other people have in their defenses, we should start by looking at our own walls for cracks first. Kinda like being more self-aware.


Patty Geollegue
HI18-N

iancadelina said...

Actually, you can get a hold of that person by knowing an information on him/her, or any information for that matter, that he/she wouldn't want to be broadcasted to anyone. That way you can get control over that person (Law 11)
---

Wait. I don't think you have to resort to breaking your moral ethics in order to gain power. As what is stated in the title of this law, "Discover Each Man's THUMBSCREW". I think discovering that thumbscrew is enough.

iancadelina said...

Actually, you can get a hold of that person by knowing an information on him/her, or any information for that matter, that he/she wouldn't want to be broadcasted to anyone. That way you can get control over that person (Law 11)
---

Wait. I don't think you have to resort to breaking your moral ethics in order to gain power. As what is stated in the title of this law, "Discover Each Man's THUMBSCREW". I think discovering that thumbscrew is enough.

Ian Cadelina
Hi18-N

Ian Christian cadelina said...

And how would you know if you've gone past doing this "just for power?"

Well, you woudn't know for sure, until it's too late. That's actually probably why Greene wrote two laws, "do not go past the mark you aimed for; in victory, learn when to stop", and "plan to the very end".

I mean, if you are to discover each man's thumbscrew for example, you should have had that plan of up to what extent you should discover a man's thumbscrew. It's should be included in this one giant "power" package.

-Ian Cadelina

alex salaveria said...

I was just curious...
what if your enemy is too smart?i mean, he disguises his weakness so well that he makes you believe that his weakness is what you think his weakness is. Is there anything to counter that tactic?

alex salaveria HI18 -N

Marcy Leonora V. Pilar said...

I don't think the book is trying to discuss ethical matters- I think Greene wants to leave the ethical matters to ourselves. Greene simply gave us the laws, the application is all up to us.
I like what Patty said about looking at our own walls for cracks first, because in saying that 'everyone has a weakness', we might forget that that includes y-o-u. Master your strengths and weaknesses first! Or, in the words of Lao Tzu, "Mastering others is strength. Mastering yourself is true power."

dueyselphy said...

@ Jamie: well come to think of it . . . well these 48 laws think more on how to take advantage of others, in both good and bad ways. . . haha :))

As for this law . . . well all I could say here is that to do this law, you must act like a fox who is very clever at things. And through that cleverness, trying to foil your enemy's weakness would be easy then.

But on the other hand, you should likewise be very careful with your weakness, that you must be smart enough that your enemy would not be able to find your weakness because if they do so, it's going to be deep S*** for you.

This law is a double edge sword; You can use i to your advantage, yet the enemy can use it to his advantage as well.

Duey T. Guison
Hi18N

Dan Vitan said...

I agree with alex and duey that this law is a double edge sword as it can be used for and/or against you. There is a chance that when you’re using this law against someone, that same person might be able to read your actions and act accordingly by disguising his own weaknesses. In return, he might also discover your own weaknesses without you knowing it. In the end, whenever you would want to use this law, I would suggest that you should be smarter and more cunning than your chosen victim; know thy enemy, know thy self.

mariel said...

Know a man’s weakness, what makes him tick. I believe this law to be kind of, ‘below the belt,’ as it plays more on the psychology of a man than actual physical ability. I guess it’s a way of being able to read your enemy that counts. Using personal secrets against an enemy is something only a weaker person would come to do. I believe that a victory won through this way is not a victory to praise, nor one to respect.

I guess it is a matter of knowing how your enemies think, that would be alright in this case. Having an idea of one’s character would be acceptable too. Just as Hannibal used gallic spies to tell him about Longus’ character during the battle of Trebua. He found out that Longus was arrogant and using this information made a plan that would work on his arrogance in order to defeat them. That played a part in how he was able to succeed.

Marian Janelle Aliwalas
HI 18 N

Marvin Velasco said...

When it comes to war, a win is a win. There is no "2nd place" or "honorable mentions". If you got it, you got it. In times of desperation, I really don't think it matters if you did hit below the belt. While it may be dishonorable to most, who comes out on top is what's most important in the history books.

And yes, you have to be more cunning than your opponent when applying this law. For all you know, you're playing into his or her game. Like Dan said: know thy enemy, know thy self. Figure out your own weaknesses and conceal them before looking for the weaknesses of others.

Marvin Velasco
Hi18 N

Frederick said...

I've always hated power play. It's so... Dishonorable. So... Dirty to say the least...

But no matter how much I could gripe and damn it to oblivion, it remains a fact of life. The best thing about this law is that it embodies how power play could be a double edged weapon. It's well and good that you know what makes your opponent crumble. But we must realize that it's actually even better for you to know what makes you crumble.

And hopefully, when armed with that knowledge, you are to use it for the better. As with all the laws here, it seems that they can only be counted as "good" or "bad" depending on the person who is applying them. Be it for personal gain or a greater cause.

camille martinez said...

Psychological warfare is awesome...as long as you're on the winning end.

I think this is one of the more obvious tactics when it comes to power struggle. Find your opponent's Achilles heel and crush him. Don't stop to think about whether or not it's ethical. The adage goes, "all is fair in love and war."

@Dexter: afraid of heights? I'll lure you onto a cliff and inspire fear in you with a beautiful view of the deathly crags below. That's how I'll use your fear against you.

haha. peace, man!

majic said...

this law actually relates to law 1 (outshining the master) and most of the laws.

weaknesses are indeed very important to make plans and actions in destroying, avenging other people

@ alex:
i think that no matter how hard you try to disguise your weaknesses, it will eventually show no matter what happens. it is very hard to eliminate it. consider for example a person who is afraid of cats. it is highly probable that he will encounter a cat when he is in presence of his friends. and his body will involuntarily react because of his phobia. and, there are also physical weaknesses which are readily noticeable by people.

marion adalia
bs mgt
N

Marvin Velasco said...

Marion is right. Weaknesses are bound to be discovered. They could be revealed by tiny hints or clues, which makes them hard to detect, yet still manageable. This is where you have to apply certain techniques to bring them out, such as what I mentioned in my entry, where you could open up to your targets to make them spill the beans.

Discovering one's thumbscrew isn't one of those things you can learn overnight. It takes experience, and of course, a crafty mind.

Marvin Velasco
Hi18 N

biks said...

Everyone has weaknesses. It depends on how to exploit the weakness. Very interesting yet normal at the same time. We use this all the time during matches, contests, etc. to get an advantage and win over the competition.

Don Faylon
Hi18N

Eric said...

I'm getting brainwashed by all this commenting... HAHAHAHAHA. These Laws of Power, however effective, seems to be all about how to get what you want--and in the process, deceiving and manipulating others...

Anyway. I agree with Jamie Bauza: I don't believe in stepping on other people's weaknesses to get what you want. It's just too unethical. It's picking a fight with a disabled person...

Eric said...

^^Oops, I forgot my personal data. ^^

=D

Eric Andres
HI 18 Section N

Marvin Velasco said...

Eric, it's hard to deny that this law is unethical, since I'm sure most, if not all of us were raised to be respectable members of society. There just comes a time when you have to apply such a law for your own survival or probably even the safety of someone close to you. At such a time, anything goes, even if it involves playing dirty.

Just keep this law in mind so you can use it for the right moment. You never know what perils may await you. Discovering a thumbscrew may save you.

Marvin Velasco
Hi18 N

katherine conde said...

More to discovering our enemies’ ‘thumbscrew’, is knowing how to take advantage out of it. Like as mentioned in the other laws, people are bound to their imperfections. Everyone has his/her own weaknesses. Play upon our enemies’ weaknesses and insecurities. Use them, and turn them to benefit us.
Katherine Conde
Hi18 O

Anonymous said...

Don't think about how you use this power on others, think more about how you don't let others use it on you

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