Prompt #75 Influence the Dark Side

Antonia Mora

Antonio Mora

I am rewatching Star Trek: The Next Generation and in one of the episodes Troi meets a Betazoid who uses his empathetic abilities to manipulate negotiations. There is a huge moral debate as Troi feels that Monsieur Sleeze is using his abilities for his own benefit and not in service to others. She believes he misrepresents himself through nondisclosure. This whole debate got me thinking about how we influence others via our talents.

I could theoretically write a book inventing a fictional religion and end up with a handful of zealous converts. Even if the philosophy is based on peace promoting concepts there is still the possibility of my pacifistic fictional work inciting others to violence. The more popular, persuasive, attractive, and charismatic an individual the stronger the influence.

An inventor might create something in service to mankind only to have it adapted for war when it falls into the wrong hands. The beauty of a woman might drive the men around her mad with desire or the women around her mad with envy. That’s the scary thing about influence, about having the ability to inspire other people, about having a gift which we are, at least partially, enslaved too. Still to not do the very thing for which you are clearly designed also seems a disservice.

For this week’s prompt you are to explore the dark side of influence. Both fiction a nonfiction are welcome


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