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Pose As A Friend, Work As A Spy

Knowing everything about your rival is critical. Use spies to gather valuable information, which will keep you a step ahead. Better still: Play the spy yourself. In polite social encounters, learn to probe. Ask indirect questions to get people to reveal their weakness and intentions. There is no occasion that is not an opportunity for artful spying.

In the realm of power, your goal is a degree of control over future events. Part of the difficulty you face is that people will not tell you all of their thoughts, emotions, and plans. Carefully controlling what they say, they often keep the most critical part of their character hidden - their weaknesses, ulterior motives, obsessions. The result is that you can not predict their moves, and feel constantly in the dark. The solution is to find a way to probe them, to learn, their secrets and hidden intentions, without letting them know.

If you have a reason to suspect that a person is telling you a lie, look as though you believed every word he said. This will give him courage to go on; he will become more vehement in his assertions and, in the end, betray himself. Again, if you perceive that a person is trying to conceal something from you, but with only partial success, look as though you did not believe him. The opposition on your part will provoke him into leading out his reserve of truth and bringing the whole force f it to bear upon your incredulity. Arthur Schopenhauer, 1788-1860

This is not as difficult as you might think. A friendly front will allow you to gather information on friends and enemies alike. Let others consult the horoscope or read tarot cards: You have a more concrete method of seeing into the future.

The most common way of spying is to use other people. The method is simple, powerful, but risky. You will certainly gather information, but you have little control over the people doing the work. Perhaps they will ineptly reveal your spying, or secretly turn against you. It is much better to be the spy yourself, to pose as a friend, while secretly gathering information.

The French politician, Talleyrand was one of the greatest practitioners of this art. He had an uncanny abilility to extract secrets during polite conversation. Throughout Talleyrand's life, people said he was a superb conversationalist, yet, he actually said very little. He never talked about his own ideas; he got others to reveal theirs. He would blurt out what seemed to be a secret, then watch his listeners' reactions.

Rulers see through spies, as cows through smell, Brahmins through scriptures and ordinary people through their normal eyes. - Kautilya, Third Century B.C.

During social gatherings and innocuous encounters, pay attention. This is when people's gurads are down. By getting people to talk, you can have them reveal things. The brilliance of this maneuver is that they will take your interest in them as friendship, so that you not only learn, but you will also make allies.

Imagine The Third Eye Of The Spy. In the land of the two-eyed, the third eye gives you the omniscience of a god. You see farther than others and you see deeper into them. Nobody is safe from the third eye, but you.

Nevertheless, you should practice this tactic with caution and care. If people begin to suspect that you are extracting information out of them under the cover of conversation, they will avoid you. Emphasize friendly chatter, not valuable information. Your search for gems of information can not be too obvious or your probing questions will reveal more about yourself and your intentions than about the information you seek.

Now the reason a brilliant sovereign and a wise general conquer the enemy, whenever they move, and their achievements surpass those of ordinary men, is their foreknowledge of the enemy situation. This foreknowledge can not be elicited from spirits, nor from gods, nor by analogy with past events, nor by astrological calculations. It must be obtained from men, who know the enemy situation - from spies. Sun-tzu, The Art of War

A method of spying come to us from La Rochefoucauld, who wrote, "Sincerity is found in very few men, and is often the cleverest of ruses; one s 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. The philosopher, Arthur Schopenhauer, suggest a method of vehemently contradicting people in conversation, as a way of irritating them, so that they lose some of their control over their words. In their emotional reaction, they will reveal all kinds of truths about themselves.

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