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Book Summaries Psychology

Part 2: Enter Their Spirit (The Art of Seduction)

The most devilish seductive tactic is to enter someone’s spirit. It gives your victim the feeling that they are seducing you since you are indulging and imitating them. You will not seem dangerous in this way. And by mirroring them and paying attention to them, you give a boost to their vanity, and this sets up the seduction. When you begin to take over the dance, they will not even notice the shift.

Women are not at their ease except with those who take chances with them, and enter into their spirit.

NINON DE L’ENCLOS

One of the frustrating things about life is that we constantly hit walls when trying to influence others. They apparently agree with us but revert to their own ideas as soon as we turn our backs. But instead of complaining, we should see them in a different light. To lure them away from their narcissism, their self-obsession, and intractability, we should enter their spirit.

We are all narcissists. As children, we are obsessed with our own body and as adults in our own psychology – our tastes and opinions. We form a hard shell that others find difficult to penetrate. To make people go out of their selves, we must give them what they love: a hint of who they are.

In the eighteenth-century Chinese novel The Dream of the Red Chamber, all the young girls in the prosperous house of Chia are in love with the rakish Pao Yu. He is certainly handsome, but what makes him irresistible is his uncanny ability to enter a young girl’s spirit. Pao Yu has spent his youth around girls, whose company he has always preferred. As a result, he never comes over as threatening and aggressive. He is granted entry to girls’ rooms, they see him everywhere, and the more they see him the more they fall under his spell. It is not that Pao Yu is feminine; he remains a man, but one who can be more or less masculine as the situation requires. His familiarity with young girls allows him the flexibility to enter their spirit.

Robert Greene, The Art of Seduction

Pao Yu has a great advantage, by spending time with girls, he learns about them. The difference between the sexes is what makes love and seduction possible, but there is also fear and distrust. Because of this apprehension, the sexes are often kept apart.

The greatest seducers in history, from Casanova to John E Kennedy, grew up surrounded by women and had a touch of femininity themselves. The philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, in his novel The Seducer’s Diary, recommends spending more time with the opposite sex, getting to know the “enemy” and its weaknesses, so that you can turn this knowledge to your advantage.

Robert Greene, The Art of Seduction

But do not mirror your target for too long, they will be repelled by you. You must have a strong sense of your own identity. After you have completed the first phase of seduction by mirroring them, it is now time to reverse the dynamic.

"Silence is the best expression of scorn" - G.B. Shaw

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