Second observation : it really is buttwork giving you guys this number, because I am currently manipulating the OED, that's short for the Oxford English Dictionary, in two HUMUNGOUS volumes that you have to consult with a magnifying glass. This is very awkward going, so I hope you appreciate...
1) The method of digging silver ore. Obsolete. The sole sense recognized in English dictionaries down to, and including Todd, 1818. (I think that you can appreciate the terrible irony in this. WHAT was silver ore dug for, among other principle reasons in 1818 and before ???? if not.... FILTHY LUCRE, that pale drudge twixt man and man, as Shakespeare so aptly puts it.)
2) Chem : the method of handling apparatus in experiments, Pharm, the preparation of drugs. 1828
3) General : the handling of objects for a particular purpose, manual management ; also, making motions with the hand. 1840
4) The act of operating upon or managing persons or things with dexterity especially with disparaging implication, unfair management or treatment (of documents). 1864.
The verb "manipulate" was constructed using "manipulation" as its point of departure.
Commentary : (Geez, I really love this type of stuff, it gets my imagination riled.)
First comment : this is essentially a 19th century word, coined (lol) with the industrial revolution. AND... it is a word that has semantic links to filthy lucre, as stated above.
You will notice that INITIALLY this expression is NOT abstract ; it deals with an action done by the HAND, a part of the body. BUT... we could say that the more ABSTRACT this noun becomes, the more it detaches itself from the physical body, the more it takes on a pejorative sense, and persecutory connotations.
How about a little history here ?
What is happening to THE HAND as an "object" that is not an object to us in the 19th century ?
What kind of "manipulation" is it doing ?
Compare factory work (taylorized) with string instrument making.
The HAND is not doing the same thing at all, is it ?
And, we SHOULD know that our brains, our minds, our intelligence, are intricately tied to WHAT OUR HANDS ARE DOING.
And when our hands are not doing beautiful, meaningful, creative things, or creating beautiful objects to last and be cherished, well then, maybe the road is just paved for that last sense of manipulation, where our lost dexterity comes around to persecute us ?
(This number was brought to you by... the OED, and NOT Wikipedia, if you please...)