"Know how to play the card of contempt. It is the most politic kind of revenge. For there are many of whom we should have known nothing if their distinguished opponents had taken no notice of them. There is no revenge like oblivion, for it is the entombment of the unworthy in the dust of their own nothingness." -Baltasar Gracian, 1601-1658
Too often in life someone or something catches our eye. A new idea, a new enemy, a new must-have-item. We think about it, we talk about it and in the end, find ourselves spending more time than we should on the simplest of things. We meet a girl or a boy and we find ourselves liking them. We want to be with them, think about what it would be like to spend time with them and the funny thing is: we barely even know them. Too often then we become to desire something and too often that object of our desire leads us on a chase that takes us physically, emotionally and mentally on a roller coaster through our lives. And in the end the harder we chase, the more we find ourselves empty handed and the object, eluding our grasp. This is where the law of contempt comes into play.
"Man: Kick him- he'll forgive you. Flatter him- he may or may not see through you. But ignore him and he'll hate you." -Idries Shah, 1968
Like most laws the easiest exemplification comes about in men chasing women. A guy sees a girl at a party, a bar and approaches them. He comes on too strong and paradoxically, the more he shows interest, the more he repels the female in question. Uncontrollable desire in this instance makes the man come off as weak, insecure and even creepy. Instead, counter-intuitively, we need to ignore the object of our desire, the new rival or the treasure just out of reach. In Fables a story of the wise fox and the grapes comes about. A starving fox is searching for food when he sees the most delicious looking fruit hanging from a branch above his head. But no matter how hard he tries, the grapes remain out of reach. With a grin, the fox saunters off, stating aloud, "Ah well, it's more than likely they're not sweet, good only for green fools to eat!" Instead of wasting his energy on a target that would not yield a success, the fox collects himself and moves on.
Even in business and politics, time is often spent on the wrong goal in mind. When a politic figure attacks a weaker candidate, they create a backing for the underdog- why is the big man picking on the little guy? When the United States entered Vietnam the West had the backing of money, advance technology and an army of overwhelming odds. Slowly, guerrilla warfare combined with a dropping moral, the United States eventually was forced to withdraw from the conflict
"image: the tiny wound it is small but painful and irritating. you try all sorts of medicament, you complain, you scratch and 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 time heal it and freeing yourself of worry." -Robert Green, the 48 Laws of Power