Let’s say you want to do A, which benefits you but harms everyone else, while at the same time you need their supports to do so. Surely you won’t do A directly or you’d be opposed by them.
Instead, you can break down A into A1, A2, A3, …, An, in the ways that A1 will be supported by almost everyone else, and for i < k, where Ak is the break even point, A(i + 1) will be supported by almost everyone else when Ai is done. Then After Ak is done, everyone will realize what’s really going on under the hood, but by that time it’s too late due to already reaching the point of no return. They can only learn how their sunk cost fallacy make them suffer slowly until An is done.
That’s how dark managers can utilize the boiling frog strategy. That’s how they can fool people.
What if someone suspects that those dark managers actually want to do An when they’re just doing A1? They’ll have to portray him/her as a conspirator and naysayer and the rest will just think that he/she’s panicking over nothing. The same trick can be repeated until Ak is done. The key to succeed is to ensure that, by the time there are enough clues and cues to form reasonable suspicions that those dark managers want to do An, Ak should already be done, otherwise it’s be nearly impossible for those dark managers to downplay those reasonable suspicions as ungrounded conspiracy theories. By the time there are solid evidences, An should already be done.
Now, if no one openly suspects that those dark managers want to do An before they’re doing Ak, everyone will end up having An done by them; If someone openly suspects that, he/she’ll be portrayed as a conspirator and naysayer who’s panicking over nothing; If most people openly suspect that, those dark managers, instead of insisting on making An done, can openly cancel An in ways that they seem to play safe by reacting to the mass panic to win credibility and reputation.
The real goal of such a move, however, is to skew everyone’s intuition into that conspiracy theories and panicking are always good for them, so overtime they’ll begin to be unable to trust more and more things around them, eventually to the point that they simply can’t trust anything. Once such thinking becomes the norm, those dark managers can covertly spread conspiracy theories to make everyone panic over each other as well as those dark managers(or it’d be obvious that those conspiracy theories are made by those dark managers). Repeating this long enough, and everyone will panic on even the most absurd conspiracy theories, thus removing mutual trust from the communities.
Once those communities have no more mutual trust, those dark managers can then incite conflicts among their members in order to utilize divide and rule. Now it’d be almost impossible for them to unite and fight those dark managers, as alliance needs at least a certain amount of apparent trust, which is lacking in those communities, to exist. If someone spreads conspiracy theories to make the others panic over those dark managers, they can simply spread some other conspiracy theories to make the others panic over him/her as well, effectively isolating him/her from fellow supports. A good enough dark manager should be able to deal with a scattered individual directly, unless he/she’s also a good enough dark manager, in which they might have to bargain with each other instead of starting a PR war that can make both of them lose in very ugly ways.
So it seems that a good enough dark manager can shape the situation to make him/her always be the winner. Now let’s shift the perspective from those dark managers to their targets:
- If they insist being rational — Only voice out their suspicions when they’re reasonable, those dark managers can do An over and over again, causing everyone to be harmed while benefiting those dark managers. Being too rational can be harmful in such circumstances.
- If they insist being irrational — Always spread conspiracy theories whenever they’re panicking, those dark managers can eventually cause them to panic over even the most absurd conspiracy theories, thus removing their ability to trust each other. Then those dark managers can simply exploit them as scattered individuals. Being too irrational doesn’t work either.
- If they accept/discard conspiracy theories based on whether the conspirators are panicking over the same things, they’ll eventually think and act based on their stances rather than facts. This can lead to them unconditionally agree on their perceived allies and disagree on their perceived enemies, ultimately fostering KOLs on each stance as those capable of being KOLs will treat this as a golden opportunity to be seized. If those dark managers can covertly manipulate all those KOLs, those dark managers can exploit almost everyone, as they’ll end up benefiting those dark managers no matter which stance they’ve chosen. So thinking and acting based on stances rather than facts also won’t work in this case.
- If they trust nothing but themselves, they’ll have a hard time to live in any modern society where everyone’s so connected with each other. Unless they’re to be dark managers who can utilize the lack of trust to apply divide and rule, their lives won’t be effective nor efficient as important things that could have safely delegated to the others are done by themselves or simply ignored. Trusting nothing but themselves won’t work well too.
- If they try to make contingency plans over the conspiracy theories that are deemed to be the ones implying the most risks and assume the worst, there would still be too many conspiracy theories to be weighted against. Those dark managers can simply pull believable conspiracy theories out of thin air, so it’s nearly impossible to have everything covered. Also, some conspiracy theories are so contradictory to each other that their corresponding contingency plans will be mutually exclusive. Solely relying on contingency plans can end up being no better than solely relying on educated guesses(i.e., guesstimates) as well.
So the real power of the boiling frog strategy isn’t just to cover the tracks, but also force its targets to panic on conspiracy theories when they do figure out the game. Thus those dark managers can reach the always win situations if they managed to always get the boiling frog strategy right.
As for their targets, does it mean they’ve to become dark managers themselves in order to have a remote chance to win instead of always losing and being exploited? I wanted to give a definite no, but unfortunately I’m highly skeptical on whether the real answer is a probable yes instead.
Another way out for those targets is to train themselves to be able to live well enough despite being constantly exploited by those dark managers. While those dark managers tend to use up their targets, which will be consistently replaced by the new ones, to maximize their self-interest, one may still be powerful enough to never be able to be used up by even the best dark managers.