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gorillapaws's avatar

Has there ever been a villain with the superpower to manipulate people through logic?

Asked by gorillapaws (30457points) January 30th, 2020
15 responses
“Great Question” (0points)

Are there any examples of a villain with the “superpower” to convince people to do whatever he/she wants to an extreme degree. This would be similar to the “jedi mind trick” without the magic. Instead of a supernatural explanation, this villain would simply be incredibly intelligent and charismatic. The villain would bend and twist logic and reason to an artful degree.

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Answers

rebbel's avatar

Jim Jones?

gorillapaws's avatar

@rebbel Would Jim Jones have been able to convince you to commit suicide? I’m talking about being able to walk up to a security guard at a bank and convince him to let you into the vault and help carry the money to your getaway vehicle because it’s the morally right thing to do.

si3tech's avatar

Nope.

ragingloli's avatar

Frankly, that is any old propagandist, like Göbbels.

LostInParadise's avatar

Isn’t Satan regarded as a master of deception?

Yellowdog's avatar

I have never heard of this, and it sounds like an excellent idea, @gorillapaws

No deception, no threats, no Jedi spirituality involved—just sheer logic to manipulate and convince in fairly quick time that what the villain wants is what the person they are manipulating wants. It even sounds very plausible, and probably happens a lot more than we like to think, to a lesser degree.

The problem is, thinking and writing out the dialogue. You’d have to understand the characters very well, and almost have this skill yourself to write about it. And, what seems logical to one person may not fly at all with someone else. So, that’s why the villain and the writer would have to know the victim character very thoroughly, or be able to read them like a fortune teller.

chyna's avatar

Isn’t that really what some of these scammers do?
They phone a random number, say “grandma it’s Billy, your grandson. I need money right now. Can you wire it to me?”
It happens more than we will ever know.

gorillapaws's avatar

@Yellowdog _”...or be able to read them like a fortune teller”

Yes that’s kind of what I was going for. He can see your own fears/hopes/dreams and use that against you to manipulate you. And you’re right about the challenge of writing the dialogue. Maybe he literally has a forked silver tongue?

I was thinking if there were a screenplay introducing this character there might be a scene like I described above where the villain convinces the guard to help rob the bank, it would involve inter-cutting the conversation with the guard and the actual robbery. I’m not sure if you’ve ever seen Boondock Saints, but it might be shot like the flashback sequences.

Also the superhero in the story could be deaf. Maybe he/she’s a genius with robotics and their AI isn’t susceptible to the villain’s manipulation.

Zaku's avatar

Socrates.

Zaku's avatar

The problem I see, is that such a hero, if truly logical, would tend to destroy the fabric of practically all comic book super hero universes, because those tend to not make much sense in the first place.

Actually, that’s the super-villain I’d want. The one who shows up and says things like, “shouldn’t someone moving as quickly as The Flash require ridiculous amounts of energy, burn up through air friction, and cause a massive shock wave and huge kinetic energy impacts on everything he touches at that speed?” And then the universe would listen, and Cleveland (or wherever the Flash was speeding at the moment) would explode. Etc.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

I’m talking about being able to walk up to a security guard at a bank and convince him to let you into the vault and help carry the money to your getaway vehicle because it’s the morally right thing to do.

Somewhat in that vein:

1)
I’m sure I’ve read more than one story about thieves dressing like delivery or service people and taking away the goods.

Guy with a clipboard: “We’re here to take the ATM in for service.”
Random person who works in the building: “OK. It’s over there”
Guy with a clipboard: “Over there guys, put it in the van.”
Guy’s minions in matching overalls take the ATM away with an appliance dolly.
Guy with a clipboard: “Sign here, please.”
Random person who works in the building: “OK. Thanks!”

2)
Another good one was a guy who put an ad on Craigslist: “Manual laborers needed: $12/hr. Show up at noon, 123 Main Street in jeans, a blue shirt, safety goggles, hard hat and boots.”

A group of guys showed up in the proscribed outfit. One of them robbed the bank at 123 Main Street, ditched the costume and made his getaway.

janbb's avatar

Professor Moriarty- the Napoleon of Crime

And Dr Faustus

Darth_Algar's avatar

“Instead of a supernatural explanation, this villain would simply be incredibly intelligent and charismatic. The villain would bend and twist logic and reason to an artful degree.”

That’s not a superpower. What you just described is basically every confidence man in the history of the world.

gorillapaws's avatar

@janbb “Dr Faustus”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doctor_Faustus_(comics)
Yes, I think this is essentially the character I had in mind. Thanks and GA!

dabbler's avatar

A lot of people think lawyers fit this description.

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