The master of manipulation, the puppet master. Someone who controls those you have no free will, it is immoral, but easy. Suppose you want to control another puppet master, or at least someone who acts of their own accord. It's simple, you manipulate their mind. The mind is what pulls the strings, lifts the arm, and pulls the trigger. It is incredibly difficult to manipulate the manipulative, but in doing so you can make a lot more happen without any repercussions.
It's like the classic conundrum. The puppet master controls the puppet, but who controls the puppet master? The basic answer would be he controls himself. He acts in order to fulfill his desires and needs.
Desires and needs. That is the answer. If you can convince a mind that it needs something in order to continue their illusion of free will, you become the puppet master. A terrible act of manipulation that leaves the puppet, or in this case puppet master, broken and begging to be controlled just so they can do something. The unfortunate truth is that there are always these strings pulling us in one direction. No matter what time period, no matter what society, there is a puppet master and there is a puppet. The unfortunate truth is you are one or the other, or a scummy third party, the audience. You are manipulating someone or they are manipulating you or you are watching the whole sordid mess unfold for your entertainment.
Exploring that point further, does that mean the government is the puppet master and the common man the puppets? If so the rich would be the audience, the third party that the puppet master seeks to please for their money.
So who is the real puppet master? Are greed and entertainment the strings? These strings that bind us to where we are in life. The strings that bind us to a society, the strings that bind us to our upbringing, our standard of living, our family, our friends and even the way we walk and talk. Our mouths are constantly being censored by our mind, even though our brain would rather we speak what we believe. Can we be a puppet to the puppet master side of our personality? Or is it simply from the day we've been born that billions of strings were attached to us, deciding what we are. How we feel, think and act in situations. Is it possible that through all we've experienced as a species that we have been a part of some larger play with an unimaginably cruel puppet master? If so, who is the audience?
"What are you on about?" The boss asked.
I must have drifted and began speaking my thoughts aloud. I sat back up and pretended to work. I looked back at the entrance of my cubicle to see there was a crowd. My boss stood at the front while my piers crowded around the cubicle. Heads peaked over the small walls and watched on. My face turned red as my co-workers observed me and my ramblings. I tried my best to ignore them but then they started talking amongst themselves.
"Do you see how he jumped back onto the computer?" Someone asked. "Maybe fear is one of the strings."
There was silence for a moment.
"Fear is definitely another string, our bosses can pull us around with that string easily."
"Sometimes that is only string a person needs...fear making them do everything, feeling no desire to have anything else, but fear of having something bad."
"It sounds right, but maybe it's bigger than that."
"Like all of our desires?"
"All of our emotions are strings."
"Our very humanity is controlling us in some way. We belong to a puppet master, always."
"So that's why he said it was unavoidable. We will always be controlled."
"But maybe there are specific boundaries that constitute free will and manipulation?"
"What about fate? Is fate just a predicted outcome of where our emotions will take us?"
"Like greed. Eventually fate will carry us towards money or some other superficial desire."
"So we bounce from one emotion to the next, our humanity desiring to desire?"
"What about love. Which will carry us towards another person."
"But not all humans desire love, so is love a desire that was thrust upon us by a puppet master or is it a string that was cut?"
"A string that is cut?"
"An emotion holding us back from love, perhaps we destroyed that lock and uncovered love. An emotion of free will."
"What if your partner is controlling you? What if they are the puppet master?"
"That wouldn't me love, that would be an illusion by the puppet master."
"And your friends and family the audience as you fawn over an illusion."
"Is it even good to cut all our strings?"
"It seems so cold to be part of the audience...like you let something happen."
"You watched someone pull the trigger."
"But sometimes there is nothing you can...what are you then?"
"You're another puppet."
Silence once more. The crowd was far larger now, with me at the very center. They all had a thousand yard stare. I cleared my throat.
"When someone has lost a limb, for some reason or another and they accept that they lost, it becomes a standard rather than a restriction to them. A string created by a lack of limb is cut the moment they accept it," I said. "So perhaps the only way to achieve free will is to accept that you will never have free will."
The entire office pondered this for a minute. Some were satisfied with this answer and drifted off back to their desks. Soon they rest followed and the familiar keyboard tapping noise returned. Only my boss remained.
"I think you should clock off for the day," He muttered. "Your mind is somewhere else."
I looked at him and saw that he was quite serious. I grabbed my bag and climbed into my car, starting the engine. I smiled.
That was easy.