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Disdain Things you cannot have: Ignoring them is the best Revenge

By acknowledging a petty problem you give it existence and credibility. The more attention you pay an enemy, the stronger you make him; and a small mistake is often made worse and more visible when you try to fix it. It is sometimes best to leave things alone. If there is something you want but cannot have, show contempt for it. The less interest you reveal, the more superior you seem.

Desire often creates paradoxical effects: the more you want something, the more you chase after it, the more it eludes you. The more inteest you show, the more you repel the object of your desire. This is because your interest is too strong - it makes people feel awkward, perhaps fearful. Uncontrollable desire makes you appear weak, unworthy, pathetic.

When G.K. Chesterton's economic views were abused in print by George Bernard Shaw, his friends waited in vain for him to reply. Historian Hilaire Belloc reproached him. "My dear Belloc," Chesterton replied, "I have answered him. To a man of Shaw's wit, silence is the one unbearable repartee."

You need to turn your back on what you want - show your contempt and disdain. This response forces your target to respond with a desire of their own, which is simply to have an effect on you - perhaps to possess you, perhaps to harm you. If they want to possess you, you have successfully completed the first step of seduction. If they wish to harm you, you have unsettled them and made them play by your rules.

Contempt is the perogative of the king. Where his eyes turn, what he decides to see, is what has reality; What he ignores and turns away is as good as dead. This was the weapon of King Louis XlV - if he did not like you, he acted as if you were not there, maintaining his superiority by cutting off the dynamic of interaction. This is the power of playing the card of contempt, periodically showing people that you can do without them.

Nay, with most people there will be no harm in occasionally mixing a grain of disdain with your treatment of them; that will make them value your friendship more. Chi non istima vien stimato, as a subtle Italian proverb says - to disregard is to win regard. But if we really think very highly of a person, we should conceal it from him like a crime. This is not a very gratifying thing to do, but it is right. Why, a dog will not bear being treated too kindly, let alone a man!
Arthur Schopenhauer

If choosing to ignore enhances your power, it follows that the opposite approach - commitment and engagement - often weakens you. By paying undue attention to a puny rival, you look puny and the longer it takes you to overcome such a rival, the larger the rival seems.

A second danger: If you succeed in crushing the irritant, or if you merely wound it, you create sympathy for the weaker side.

It is tempting to want to repair our mistakes, but we often make them worse by trying harder. It is sometimes more politic to leave them as they are. Instead of inadvertantly focusing attention on a problem, making it seem worse by publicizing how much concern and anxiety it is causing you, it is often far wiser to play the conteptuous aristocrat, by not acknowledging the problem's existence. Ther are several ways to execute this strategy.

First, there is the sour grapes approach. If there is something you want but can not have, the worst thing you can do is draw attention to your disappointment by complaing. An infinitely more powerful tactic is to act as if it never interested you in the first place.

Imagine the tiny wound. It is small but painful and itrritating. You try all sorts of medicaments, you complain, you scratch and you pick at the scab. Doctors only make it worse, transforming the tiny wound into a grave matter. If only you had left the wound alone, letting tiime heal it and freeing yourself of worry.

Second, when you are attacked by an inferior, deflect attention by making it clear that the attack has not been recognized. Look away, or respond sweetly, showing how little the attack concerns you. Similarly, when you have committed a blunder, the best response is to make less of it by treating it lightly.

Remember, the powerful responses to petty annoyances and irritations are contempt and disdain. Never show that something has affected you, or that you are offended. Contempt is a dish that is best served cold.

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