- Be personal. Seek to color every exchange by flattering interest, appetite, and sentiment. Appeal to the instant concerns of your audience or redirect them elsewhere, according as they advance or oppose your own. Change sides with the alignment of interest, appetite, and sentiment. Take umbrage at imaginary slights to elicit sympathy from accomplished victims.
- Be careful. Allow yourself to be understood only in a way and to the extent that suits you. Insist on understanding others only in a way and to the extent that suits yourself. Leave no traces of past opinions, stratagems, or alliances, lest they be turned against you. Discover your interlocutors' past opinions, stratagems, and alliances, to reveal them to your advantage. Cultivate ambiguity in yourself and excoriate it in others. Admit only in equivocation. Commit only to circumlocution.
- Be proud. Collect official credentials. Invoke them before impressionable audiences. Expose and exploit the limitations of your neighbors. Feed your ego with the evidence of their inferiority, be it physical, mental, social, or economic. Seek advantage at all times. Trade it for goods or status.
- Be determined. Never retract a word in lieu of accusing your critics of misunderstanding your message for want of wit, erudition, or propriety. Enlist useful idiots to second your gainsaying of the obvious. When all else fails, change the subject and volunteer a fresh paradox.
- Be mysterious. Never get pinned down in factual minutiae. Support doctrine with fey anecdote. Refute theory by irrelevant observation. Impugn experience with fictitious principles. Acquire a learned vocabulary. Cultivate an authoritative diction. Never condescend to certify your expertise. When bluster fails, drop hints and deploy insinuendo.
- Be satisfied. Nothing else matters.
John Flaxman, Lucifer