Stoic message (negative visualisation), Machiavellian messenger.
“…Sometimes when I try to understand a person’s motives, I play a little game. I assume the worst. What’s the worst reason they could possibly have for saying what they say and doing what they do?Then I ask myself: how well does that reason explain what they say and what they do? Then I ask myself: how well does that reason explain what they say and what they do?”
– Littlefinger, Game of Thrones
“He robs present ills of their power who has perceived their coming beforehand.”
— Seneca (premeditatio malorum)
"What is quite unlooked for is more crushing in its effect, and unexpectedness adds to the weight of a disaster. The fact that it was unforeseen has never failed to intensify a person’s grief. This is a reason for ensuring that nothing ever takes us by surprise. We should project our thoughts ahead of us at every turn and have in mind every possible eventuality instead of only the usual course of events.”
“This is a reason for ensuring that nothing ever takes us by surprise. Rehearse them in your mind: exile, torture, war, shipwreck. Misfortune may snatch you away from your country, or your country away from you, may banish you into some wilderness – these very surroundings in which the masses suffocate may become a wilderness. All the terms of our human lot should be before our eyes; we should be anticipating not merely all that commonly happens but all that is conceivably capable of happening, if we do not want to be overwhelmed and struck numb by rare events as if they were unprecedented ones; fortune needs envisaging in a thoroughly comprehensive way.
"I’ve taken sufficient precautions, more than sufficient precautions, to ensure that I’m not taken in by deceptive phenomena. At this you’ll protest: ‘Can you really say ” the day that follows never proves me wrong”? Surely anything that happens which one didn’t know in advance was going to happen proves one wrong?’ Well, I don’t know what’s going to happen; but I do know what’s capable of happening – and none of this will give rise to any protest on my part. I’m ready for everything. If I’m let off in any way, I’m pleased. The day in question proves me wrong in a sense if it treats me leniently, but even so not really wrong, for just as I know that anything is capable of happening so also do I know that it’s not bound to happen. So I look for the best and am prepared for the opposite.”
“When you are going to perform an act, remind yourself what kind of things the act may involve. When going to the swimming pool, reflect on what may happen at the pool: some will splash the water, some will push against one another, others will abuse one another, and others will steal. Thusly you have mentally prepared yourself to undertake the act, and then you can say to yourself: I now intend to bathe, and am prepared to maintain my will in a virtuous manner, having warned myself of what may occur.”