(About a 4 minute read)
As everyone knows, the world has its malicious people. One of the challenges malicious people pose for nearly everyone — even other malicious people — is their dagger words can wound us.
Quite a lot has been written about how to blunt, turn, or even turn back those daggers.
One of my favorite turn-backs was Churchill’s rebuke of Lady Nancy Astor, who according to the story, was Churchill’s harshest society critic. One evening at a party she is reputed to have told him:
“Winston, if you were my husband, I’d poison your tea.”
To which he retorted:
“Nancy, if I were your husband, I’d drink it.”
Turning back the daggers quite often has the advantage of being amusing on top of everything else. But you never can have too many ways of thwarting daggers. To blunting, turning, and turning-back, I would now like to suggest another way too. Turning them to ashes before they can find their mark.
But how do you turn a dagger to ashes?
Well, the principle is actually simple. When was the last time you were inclined to take seriously anything a toddler said about quantum mechanics?
I’m not saying you have ever heard a toddler say anything about quantum mechanics. Rather, I am asking when were you last in a mindset in which it would have been even possible for you to take seriously a toddler’s words on the subject — assuming a toddler had words on the subject?
You see, that’s the principle involved here. To see with perfect clarity that a man or a woman is a genuine fool is to immediately reduce any daggers they attempt to plunge into you to ashes.
But here’s the catch. At least nine out of ten of us fail to see fools clearly enough to turn their daggers to ashes. It is just as if we somehow failed to see that a toddler was not an adult with a PhD in quantum physics. It’s exactly that remarkable.
Basically, we don’t look deep enough. There’s a trick to looking deep enough to see fools with nearly absolute clarity. That trick is to first see the fool in us.
The path to becoming a wizard capable of almost instantly magicking daggers to ashes begins with seeing the fool in yourself. In principle it’s not all that much different than recognizing the mental limits of a toddler because you yourself were once one.
Anyone who cannot see the fool in his or herself cannot magic daggers to ashes. Rather, he or she will on some level or another — consciously or subconsciously — believe the fool is wiser than the fool is.
Any and every genuinely malicious person is a fool. By “genuinely”, I mean someone who is the intentional and willing aggressor in trying to hurt someone else’s feelings merely for the sport of it, the pleasure of it.
Perhaps you have forgotten now, but that was once you — around the age of three or so. You were then doing what all children do and must do. You were testing things, trying things, coming to an understanding of things by trying them out for yourself (Most likely, you were also beginning to experiment with lying around the same age).
In humans, the eternal fool — the biggest fool — is sometimes called the “ego”, and sometimes called other things. First, see that fool clearly. Once you have seen that fool clearly enough, you’ll magic daggers to ashes almost before they are properly unsheathed.
And if you get really good at seeing the fool in you, and thus seeing it in others, you won’t even notice most of the time when you’re magicking daggers to ashes.
This post was inspired by a charming story posted on Deepa Kadavakat’s blog.