Monday, June 10, 2024

Troll Strength

There is a quote that I vaguely remember from the mists of my past. 'Never argue with fools; they drag you down to their level and beat you by experience." After all they have spent all their lives at their level whereas you are a total amateur there. (It is quite a different affair that ANYONE who has fought an inconclusive or losing argument tends to feel that HE has been dragged 'down'!)

Tiru probably had to deal with his share of trolls too. AND, just to clarify, a troll is not anyone who opposes you but someone who opposes you without bothering to (OR being unable to) understand your point of view. Opposing for the sake of opposing, so to speak, knowing only WHO they are opposing, if that, and not WHAT.

So, Tiru has this to say...

Inmaiul inmai virundhoraal vanmaiyul vanmai madavaar porai - Tirukkural

The worst poverty is inability to extend hospitality to a guest; the best of strengths is to bear the gibes of foolish men - Loose Translation

One does get a sidelight about what hospitality meant to ancient Indian culture. To not be able to feed a guest is seen as worse than to not be able to feed your family. THAT is the priority of hospitality!

But, in this case, it is just a comparator. It is used to say something like 'Just as THAT is the worst of poverty THIS is the best of strength'. THIS, in the instant case, being the ability to handle the gibes of the foolish with equanimity.

Quite the right advice for today. You start getting all heated up under the collar about a troll and reacting to him in like measure and, soon, people find it tough to differentiate between the two of you. THAT is the problem with descending into an argument with a fool - you end up getting taken for one as well.

IF, on the other hand, you have the strength to be trolled without letting it affect you, you will be able to react with grace. You may not rise to the heights of being cool enough to hear, "You will either die of syphilis or be hanged" and reply, "THAT depends on whether I embrace your mistress or your principles". No, you may not rise to those heights but even silence is a far more graceful reply to a troll than mudslinging.

But, then, Tiru does not think it is an easy thing to do. Which is why he says it is the 'best of strengths'.


  1. Trolling has been weaponised now. People are finding it difficult to ignore when the comments indicate possibility of physical harm, especially to family members.

    1. True that. Gives an altogether different spin to that 'best strength' 😀