Contempt is the prerogative of the powerful
By acknowledging a petty problem, you give it existence and credibility. The more attention you pay a rival, an opponent, 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.
You choose to let things bother you. You can just as easily choose not to notice the irritating, to consider the matter trivial and unworthy of your interest. That is the powerful move. What you do not react to cannot drag you down in a futile engagement. If you waste time and energy in futile engagement, in such entanglements, it is your own fault. Learn to play the card of disdain and turn your back on what cannot harm you in the long run.
Many things which seemed important at time turn out to be of no account when they are ignored. Playing the card of contempt is immensely powerful, for it lets you determine the conditions of your action and the conditions of a conflict. The war is waged on your terms. This is the ultimate power pause: you are the king, and you ignore what offends you.
Turn your back on what you want
Desire often creates paradoxical effects: The more you want something, the more you chase after it, the more it eludes you. The more interest you show, the more you repel the object of your desire. When you show too much interest, it makes people awkward, even fearful.
Uncontrollable desire makes you seem weak, unworthy, pathetic. You need to turn your back on what you want, show your contempt and disdain. This is the kind of response that will drive your rivals and opponents, your targets crazy. They will respond with a desire of their own, which is simply to have an effect on you, perhaps to possess you, perhaps to hurt you. If they want to possess you, you have successively completed the first step of seduction. If they want to hurt you, you have unsettled them and made them play by your rules.
Contempt is the prerogative of the king
Contempt is the prerogative of the powerful. Where his eyes turn, what he decides to see, is what has reality. What he ignores and turns his back on is as good as dead. This is the power you have when you play the card of contempt, periodically showing people that you can do without them.
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, opponent or enemy, you look puny, and the longer it takes you to crush such an adversary, the larger the adversary seems. If you succeed in crushing the irritant, or even if you merely wound it, you create sympathy for the weaker side. Many people will naturally side with the “underdog”.
Leave your mistakes alone
It is always tempting to want to fix our mistakes, but the harder we try the worse we often make them. It is sometimes more politic to leave them alone.
Instead of inadvertently focusing attention on a problem, making it seem worse by publicizing how much concern and anxiety it is causing you, it is often wiser to play the contemptuous aristocrat, not deigning to acknowledge the problem’s existence.
There are several ways to execute this strategic move.
First, there is the “Sour-grapes” approach. If there is something you want but that you realize you cannot have, the worst thing you can do is draw attention to your disappointment by complaining about it. An infinitely more powerful strategy is to act as if it never really interested you in the first place.
Second, when you are attacked by an inferior, deflect people’s attention by making it clear that the attack has not even registered. Look away, or answer sweetly, showing how little the attack concerns you. Similarly, when you have committed a blunder, the best response is often to make less your mistake by treating it lightly.
Never snivel nor apologize, but signal your own worth and power by treating your mistakes or blunders with a touch of disdain. Just be careful, among equals this strategy may backfire: Your indifference could make you seem callous. But with a master or superior, if you act quickly and without great fuss, it can work to great effect: You bypass their angry response, save them the time and energy they would waste by brooding over it, and allow them the opportunity to display their own lack of pettiness publicly.
By making excuses and denials when we are caught in a mistake, a blunder, or a deception, we stir the waters and only make the situation worse. It is often wiser to play things the opposite way.
Understand and remember: The powerful responses to niggling, petty annoyances, and irritations are contempt and disdain. Never show that something has affected you, or that you are offended. That only shows you have acknowledged a problem.
Know how to play the card of contempt
You must always play the card of contempt with care and delicacy. Most small troubles will vanish on their own if you leave them be; but some will grow and fester unless you attend them. Ignore a person of inferior stature and the next time you look he has become a serious rival, and your contempt has made him vengeful as well.
Often, then, while you show contempt publicly you will also need to keep an eye on the problem privately, monitoring its status and making sure it goes away. Do not let it become a cancerous cell.
Develop the skill of sensing problems when they are still small and taking care of them before they become intractable. Learn to distinguish between the potentially disastrous and the middle irritating, the nuisance that will quietly go away on its own. In either case, though, never completely take your eye of it. As long as it is alive it can solder and spark into life.
Owner of Bunkumless.com and King Global Earth and Environmental Sciences Corporation, JMD, a former attorney, is a Columnist for The Futurist Daily News and editor of the Social and Political Blog JMDlive.com Follow JMD @ jmdlive