The Sands of Time


“When he is afraid, it is easy to capture him, when he is angry, it is easy to provoke him. When he is sensitive, it is easy to insult him. When he is emotional, it is easy to worry him.”–Sun Tzu.


You know what the #1 excuse I hear for why people don’t write, or exercise, or meditate to heal their hearts?   Lack of time.  And this is on Facebook. The irony is crushing.


People talk about how the internet coarsens communication, removing cues that tell us the full spectrum of meaning, leading to misunderstanding and argument.


I am beginning to wonder if it does something else as well–denies us the cues that ordinarily tell us when a discussion is pointless.  I have a general rule of three. If a conversation with someone about something repeats three times, if the argument does not progress, it is pointless, and in fact a very poor use of the only resource that cannot be replaced: your time.


But somehow, I watch people on the internet seem to continue these “looped” conversations for DAYS, when in “real life” the exact same discussion would generally last only minutes.  Something…something in the eyes, body language, vocal tonalities, the “aura”…something triggers the “this isn’t going anywhere” response and people excused themselves.


It doesn’t seem to happen that way in cyberspace. It is well known that people will be far more antagonistic and threatening, demanding, rude in ways they never would be in actual face-to-face interactions.  If I’m accurate, is it related to this?   Quite possibly.


But I ask you to look and see if you apply different rules in Cyberspace than you do in “real” life.  Do you transgress more, or tolerate more transgression?   Argue longer, or through more “loops” that leave you back where you started?   Suffer insult without realizing the person is trying to manipulate you emotionally?


If he can lure you into a “loop”, trolls can tag-team you to death. While talking to them, are you moving toward your goals and dreams?  If not, you lose. They “win” only by a sick definition.  Maybe you both lose, in that sense.


Remember the five principles:

  1. Love yourself
  2. Love at least one other person
  3. Understand humanity without guilt, blame, or shame
  4. Find and support your tribe.
  5. Win.


Be sure you have a definition of “winning” that makes sense. There is an argument that has been going on on one of my threads for three days now.   Both sides are acting as if they are winning–I peeked at one side’s thread, and they were indeed crowing about how they were crushing the opposition with their steely logic and incontrovertable facts.


That…is sad.  There are so many better things to do in life.  Ask: what do you really want? Really want in life?   Clarify why you want it.   Get VERY clear.


Now…is this action really taking you toward your goal?   If so, double down. But if not, no matter how it feels, walk away. And you may need some arbitrary standards.  Mine is “three times and I’m out” regardless of whether the other person feels they’ve won or not.  I CANNOT ALWAYS RISE TO THIS STANDARD.   I can get engaged.  Have to “win” when there is nothing worth winning.


And always, always, the clock is running.  There are only so many grains of sand, and the confused and frightened would love for you to run out the clock with them.


Be careful.






One comment

  1. Thanks. You published this at a timely and tragic time in my life. “Emotional” is a minimization of what’s happening in my life. Thanks for the reminder to direct my scarce energy at/to my tribe.


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