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Unmarked spoilers ahead! You Have Been Warned.

Why Clarice's generation follows Miria into her rebellion

As undeniably cool as the scene of Miria's return from the (seemingly) dead is, the psychology of just why the entire current warrior contingent chose to follow her into rebelling against the Organization is even more fascinating. After all, it's not like Clarice's generation in particular had faced worse abuse than any of the previous ones — so why them? The answer has less to do with the warriors themselves than with Miria's skilled manipulation of their (ultimately) human psychology.

The warriors' conversion takes place in two steps/phases (although Miria had probably hoped that it would only take one): the initial battle culminating in Miria's defeat, and her return with a call for rebellion. Phase one begins when Miria engages the warriors in what they believe to be a life-or-death battle — but while they strike with a lethal intent, she instead deliberately attacks to subdue. By single-handedly incapacitating the entire contingent in fair combat, she establishes a very particular social relationship between them and herself, where:

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  • she has a clear combat superiority over even the single-digits of the current generation, and
  • the warriors now owe their lives to her, because even though they gave her every justification to kill them and Miria had ample opportunity to do so, she instead took considerable risks to spare every last one of them.

When the warriors regain consciousness, they are understandably confused, but in the absence of a clear call to action from Miria (who has just been incapacitated by Raftela), they instead seem to follow that from their Organization handlers — namely, to finish Miria off. At this point, however, Miria has already arrayed two out of Cialdini's six "weapons of influence" in her defense, reciprocation and liking:

  • As noted above, all of the warriors who were ordered to kill her now owe their lives to her benevolence and skill. Reciprocity is the strongest "weapon of influence", and in this case, it demands that the warriors spare Miria's life in return.
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  • By deliberately putting on her old uniform before this battle, Miria signals to the younger warriors that she is like them; by gracefully defeating them in fair combat, meanwhile, she also shows respect for them as Worthy Opponents. The combined result of these actions is that, even if only subconsciously, the warriors grow to like her more than their own handlers.

When the unnamed warrior strikes at Miria and deliberately misses the vital parts, another of Cialdini's weapons is deployed against the Organization's orders (albeit without Miria's conscious effort): social proof. When other warriors see that one of them sabotages their superiors' will, it becomes the new norm, and the rest follow because it is easier than making the first step in a different direction. And so the warriors' compromise between the authority's verbal orders and Miria's nonverbal persuasion is to maim her without actually killing her.

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When Miria comes back from the "dead", the first thing she does is to deliver her overdue call to action — that the younger warriors rebel against the Organization. Because of earlier events, she does not need to put any more effort into persuading them. In fact, had Raftela not prevented her from delivering her appeal before, the rebellion would have probably started much earlier, but by doing just that, the Organization ultimately only strengthened Miria's persuasion. In somewhat formalized terms, three parties are involved in the exchange: Miria (an agent of influence), the Organization handlers (also agents), and the warriors (patients of influence).

  • Miria's appeal to the warriors is a call to action: "Join me in destroying the Organization and killing your handlers".
  • The handlers' appeal to the warriors is also a call to action: "Kill the rebel Miria and protect us".
  • The warriors are faced with two directly contradictory appeals and must make a decision of which one to follow.

The handlers' deploy two "weapon of influence" in support of their appeal: commitment/consistency ("you have always followed our orders, so follow this one, too") and authority ("we are your superiors, so obey our order"). The former is the second-strongest of the six (after reciprocation), but as we will see in just a bit, its effectiveness has been sabotaged unbeknownst to them, leaving only authority on their side. In terms of French and Raven's bases of power, the handlers' appeal relies upon their legitimate power within the Organization's hierarchy ("we are officers, you are grunts, therefore you should obey our orders").

Miria, on the other hand, has three of the six influence weapons arrayed against the Organization: while the warriors have mostly invalidated reciprocation (by paying off their debt to Miria by letting her live earlier), they are now bound by commitment and consistency (even though their handlers have not realized it until now, they have already rebelled against their orders when they defied spared Miria — openly rallying under her banner is just an escalation of commitment). Plus, the social proof (because everyone has been complicit in not-killing Miria earlier, going through with it now would go against the collective grain) and liking are still on her side.

Miria's appeal additionally relies on not one but three bases of power: expert, referent, and reward. The expert power claim is perhaps the most straightforward: as mentioned earlier, Miria has established her combat superiority, so there is no question that she is really good at killing people. Referent power is also obvious: during the earlier battle, Miria went to great pains (literally) to show her respect and care for the younger warriors — and was reciprocated by them, creating a relationship of tentative trust that she can now draw upon. Miria's reward power is perhaps the most subtle, because at first glance, she doesn't actually offer anything to the warriors. However, her implicit offer, following from everything she has done up to this point, is a change in leadership — from that by their handlers who don't view, let alone value, them as humans, to that by a fellow warrior who has treated them with every ounce or respect and care.

In summary, while Deneve is absolutely right that Miria's decision to face Clarice's generation alone was extremely risky, it was also, in retrospect, a helluva shrewd political move.


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