June 24 2014

* star psychology

"Healthy citizens are the greatest asset any country can have."
(Winston Churchill)

A trick to try in spying comes from Francois de La Rochefoucauld who wrote:

"Sincerity is found in very few men, and is often the cleverest of ruses - one is sincere in order to draw out the confidence and secrets of the other."

By pretending to bare your heart to another person, in other, words, you make them more likely to reveal their own secrets. Give them a false confession and they will give you a real one.

Another trick was identified by the philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer, who suggested vehemently contradicting people you're in conversation with as a way of irritating them, stirring them up so that they lose some of the control over their words. In their emotional reaction they will reveal all kinds of truths about themselves, truths you can later use against them.

Another method indirect spying is to test people, to play little traps that make them reveal things about themselves. Chosroes II, a notoriously clever seventh century king, had many ways of seeing through his subjects without raising suspicion. If he noticed, for instance that two of his courtiers had become particularly friendly toward each other, he would call one of them aside and say he had information that the other was a traitor, and would soon be killed. The king would tell the courtier he trusted him more than anyone and that he must keep the information secret. Then he would watch the two men carefully. If he saw that the second courtier had not changed in his behavior toward the king, he would conclude that the first courtier had kept the secret, and he would quickly promote the man, later taking him aside to confess,

"I meant to kill your friend because of certain information that had reached me, but when I investigated the matter, I found it was untrue."

If, on the other hand, the second coutrier started to avoid the king, acting aloof and tense, Chosroes would know that the secret had been revealed. He would ban the second courtier from this court, letting him know that the whole business had only been a test, but that even though the man had done nothing wrong, he could no longer trust him. The first courtier, however, had revealed the secret, and him Chosroes would ban from his entire kingdom.

It may seem an odd form of spying that reveals not empirical information but a persons character. Often, however, it is the best way of solving problems before they arise.

By temping people into certain acts, you learn about their loyalty, their honesty and so on. And this kind of knowledge is often the most valuable of all; armed with it, you can predict their actions into the future.

(Pose as a Spy, Work as a Friend | by Robert Greene)

La Rochefoucauld


"No persons are more frequently wrong, than those who will not admit they are wrong."

"Our envy always lasts longer than the happiness of those we envy."

"One cannot answer for his courage when he has never been in danger."

"The height of cleverness is to be able to conceal it."

"Almost all our faults are more pardonable than the methods we resort to hide them."

"How can you expect another to keep a secret if we have been unable to keep it ourselves?"

"Neither the sun nor death can be looked at steadily."

"We have no patience with other people's vanity because it is offensive to our own."

"We would often be ashamed of our best actions if the world only knew the motives behind them."

"Listening well and answering well is one of the greatest perfections that can be obtained in conversation."



"As a single withered tree, if set aflame, causes a whole forest to burn, so does a rascal son destroy a whole family."

"Those most moved to tears by every word of a preacher are generally weak and a rascal when the feelings evaporate."

"The fox has many tricks. The hedgehog has but one. But that is the best of all."

"If you trick an honest person into doing evil, you will fall into your own trap. The innocent will be well rewarded."

"One Trick Pony; is used to describe a friend, acquaintance or stranger, who has very few talents, sayings, jokes or skills."

"Charm can fool you, and beauty can trick you, but a woman who respects the Lord should be praised."

"The only trick the incapable has, are his tears."

"Trickery comes back to its master."