The settling of scores
War is the perfect time to settle a personal score. If someone has long annoyed, disgusted or envied you, if he or she has triggered you with every post, achievement or fact of existence, now you can destroy them. And you’ll probably get away with it. Why?
In extreme situations, whether war, riot, or natural disaster, the spectrum of worldview collapses, becoming black and white — life and death, good and evil, friend and foe. Shades, nuances and halftones disappear. Rows of zeros and ones run across the retina. To each event, fact or person the mind immediately assigns a label “+” or “-“. How else could it be? In chaos, time works against you, and real human lives are at stake.
Only professionals — military officers, policemen, firefighters, surgeons, psychotherapists — are able to act in a differentiated, measured and cold-blooded manner, despite adrenaline splashes. They are trained to make micro-pauses to let the wave of emotion pass by, opening up a space of options. The vast majority of people don’t have the skill or energy to go into detail. It’s enough to shout out loudly, “That’s the villain! Sic him!” and a cloud of arrows will fly off the drawn bows.
Even if the truth about the smear comes out later, everyone will try to hush up the incident, out of shame for participating willy-nilly. In the dissident literature of Soviet times, this kind of settling of personal scores was called “putting a person on an ideological plane”. Of course, there are no such inquisitors among the readers of this newsletter. But here’s a key for you — if someone in chaos tries to bite you from a high moral position, know this — he/she hated you long ago and secretly.
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As a business therapist, I help tech founders quickly solve dilemmas at the intersection of business and personality, and boost company value as a result.