Patterns, Repetition, and Checking Your Premises

Interesting, isn’t it, the way the patterns repeat themselves? And how simple and predictable things become if one has the wit to understand them. Even failing that, how simple it is to get what one wants by speaking plainly and truthfully, and listening attentively to instruction that comes one’s way.

It’s also interesting how badly things work out when a person cannot understand the patterns before him, cannot speak his desires plainly and in truth, and does not pay attention to the instruction that comes his way.

Take, for instance, this guy I know of.

He keeps saying he just wants to be left alone. I’m sure he could get what he wants if he could only prove by his deeds that his words are spoken both plainly and truthfully. But by what he does, he disproves his words. He says he wants to be left alone, but every time he gets left alone, he gets lonely and, starved for attention, he goes picking fights.

There was a time back in August when he got several good days of being left alone. And then he decided he had to write a book all about how picked on he was, and he had to steal from blogs and brag about the theft. And a lot of people who had been leaving him alone, which was what he said he wanted, decided that he had not been speaking plainly and truthfully. What his deeds told others was that he wanted ATTENTION, and the coveted victim status that went with it.

And that was what he got. And oh, how he did complain!

He had missed the pattern, and he had not paid attention to the instruction that had come his way.

And he did not prosper, and he did not gain in wisdom and understanding, and he did perpetrate much folly, and he did suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous mockery. Many found it FUN! But he did not.

And during this time of foolishness and mockery he attacked others while continuously maintaining in childish and tearful tones, that he just wanted to be left alone. But his actions outweighed his words, and it was clear that the truth was not in him.

He treated this game like battle, as if he had a real reputation at stake. And for it, he stood to face still more mockery and ridicule.

During this time, I tried to explain to him the pattern. If he truly wished to be left alone, the path was open to him and unobstructed. Quit, I told him. Go away. The mockery will surely die after a time. Just as every sensational new thing has its day and fades, so would this. Go away and be left alone.

But he had not the wit to understand the pattern, to see the simple and predictable path to the oft-stated destination of his desires.

Then just a few days ago, he vanished again, promising a self-imposed exile until January 30. Perhaps, pending a show cause hearing where contempt changes might loom, understanding had at last dawned. For six days he remained silent, and many hoped he would vanish forever. Even I stopped posting, in hopes beyond reason that at last he had discovered the first step of the path to his desire.

Sadly, my hopes were misplaced, for his thick, mud-filled skull remained impenetrable. He returned a day early, first to attack Twitter users for things they had done several days before, then to offer condolences on the death of a longtime friend whom he had never mentioned before on Twitter. Where most normal people would make a phone call or send a sympathy card, he felt the need to tweet his grief. On its own it might have been noble, but it made exceedingly poor excuse for the attacks that preceded it.

And as before, the pattern remained elusive to him. Fully revealed, not once but twice in my observation (and likely many more times beyond it), he cannot see.

And so comes the time when I must Check. My. Premises.

Perhaps I must question whether this person is speaking plainly and truthfully. Perhaps what he truly wants differs greatly from what he says he wants.

Perhaps, when he says he wants to be left alone, what he truly wants is to be left alone to do as he wishes to whomever he wishes without being mocked, ridiculed, questioned or otherwise held to account for it.

This is a desire, stated plainly and perhaps even truthfully, which is entirely consistent with the actions he takes. He seems to want to play internet bully and have no one stand up to him. Because he can’t do that, he whines and cries like the defeated bully he is.

The sad, simple, predictable truth is that the internet is not a schoolyard where the biggest kid wins the fight. Or even the kid with the biggest brother. The internet is a playing field leveled for a different skill set.

Out here, the smartest kid wins. The kid with the quickest wit. The kid who can catch an insult and laugh, then double it and throw it back. The kid with the most friends.

And this guy, in this game, needing these skills…is ALWAYS the last kid taken.


Author: Paul Krendler

The Thinking Man's Zombie