Posted by: Botolff | January 17, 2011

Seduction and the Projection of Sadness

A long time ago when I wrote the post called “Evil Presents as Shameless“, my then roommate mentioned that I really should write a post about seduction, and how evil is very seductive.  I had been writing about the projection of emotion for a while, and the projection of emotion is highly seductive, so let’s mix the two.  Have you ever known someone to explicitly use their tears to try and elicit sympathy and support from you?  I’m not talking about someone’s grief naturally drawing the sympathy of the people experiencing that grief.  I’m talking about people who know that others are particularly sensitive to tears, and exceptionally sympathetic, who then use their own manipulative and dishonest tears to intentionally gain their onlookers support?  A mother who doesn’t have the obedience of her children, who then cries, not out of frustration, but out of an attempt to get them to feel guilty so they do what she wants.  This is even more common with older (teenage) children, as they are no longer small enough to physically control; and more common for a woman to perpetrate than a man.  A church leader caught in their shame who, not out of repentance, but out of an attempt to cover their own wickedness, uses their tears to redirect their congregation’s loyalty back to themselves.  I have known a few people like that.  Some were evil and some just had very wicked intentions in the moment.

Somehow we have come to believe that evil is easy to spot because we think it ultimately resides in loud, brash, mean faced, yelling, screaming, fist swinging people.  These are not typically evil people, as they are less concerned about calculating the consequences of their actions. Evil people are ones who pay very close attention to their experiences, and determine not only the best way to insulate themselves from the consequences of their own actions, but often the best way to wound other people without having to take responsibility for it. In some cases, however, quietly bragging about it.  These types of people cannot get away with doing what they do best without being incredibly seductive.  Therefore, the idea of evil looking like evil isn’t a very reliable way to go about looking for it, or dealing with it.

Seduction is a very important tool and has great value.  We often think seduction is a bad thing.  But seduction can be used in very redeeming ways.  Seduction that is used to draw people to goodness, or to something truly better for them than what they ascribe to, can be a good form of seduction.  Ruth was an incredibly seductive woman, but it seems she drew Boaz, Naomi and herself into a better place with her seduction.  Good seduction is when you draw someone to a place that you are willing to help protect and support them if they step in to that place.  Bad seduction is that which draws someone into a place where they ultimately serve the seducer.  This kind of seduction is the kind that uses people.  This may be the most common form of seduction, and is really quite prevalent in many religious institutions.

Those who are most wicked have found a way to manipulate other people into giving them what they want (seduction), all the while making the giver feel like it’s their responsibility to keep on giving to them.  False sadness is a great way for someone to do this, and there are those who are masterful at it.  I know because I have lived with some, worked with some, and been friends with some…for a time.  The projection of sadness is when one uses false grief to make others feel sad on their behalf.  And sadness can be one of the most seductive emotions.

There is something beautiful about grief.  Ultimately, when we are willing to grieve, it is a wonderful sign of our willingness to relinquish control.  If we refuse to truly grieve, what we’ve done and what has been done to us, I believe we cannot truly heal from these things.  This is why it is exceptionally damaging when one uses false grief to manipulate and control in order to gain people’s support of their perpetual wickedness.  That kind of manipulation can really mess with someone’s experience of and confidence in the real reward of grief.  True grief is a sweet smell of redemption blooming.

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