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wherewith we fly

18 May 2011 2 comments

There were once two men who walked along a path, and to either side of the path were fields full of berries.  The berries were full and sweet, and bathed in perfumed aroma.  But there was a fence there, and the first man never crossed over the fence to pick and enjoy any of the berries.  The second asked him, “Why do you not cross over the fence? There is no sign of warning, and there is nothing stopping you.” The first man replied, “No, the fence is there to protect me.  Look at the thorns; they would pierce me.  Look at the abundance of berries; I would eat too many, and be sick.”  So the men walked along the path.

One day, the men awoke, and the fences were gone.  And seeing this, the first man leaped headlong into the fields, picking berries and eating them as he went.  And at every turn, he was stuck by the thorns, and he bled and was pained.  And after some time, his stomach was full, but he kept eating the berries.  Soon, his stomach hurt, and he doubled over in the fields with pain.  And looking up, he saw that the second man was unpierced by thorns, and had only what berries he needed to end his hunger.  And the first man said, “How is it that you are unpierced by the thorns, and are not sick from the berries, yet I am?”  And the second man said, “The berries are always here, as are the thorns.  For you, the fence was a barrier to protect you from the thorns and the berries.  I have known, however, that the thorns and the berries are their own warning, yet they are their own reward.  Thus, I take my care in the fields, and be happy.  It is up to you, not the fence, to keep you safe in the fields.”


  • Deb said:

    Good one. I frequently say I learn the rules so that I can break them. Since often the rules are meant to protect the daft from themselves, and by dint of will and work, I no longer consider myself Daft.

    However, it’s good to be reminded that I’m not always golden in my rule-breaking. Sometimes there’s a reason the rules are there, and it’s much more than protecting the daft. I wonder what commuting behaviour prompted this parable?

  • dan (author) said:

    Cogito; ergo, cave!

    This was me thinking about the number of believers I’ve spoken to that make the claim that, without god, there’s nothing stopping them from stealing, raping, killing, etc. Yet here all the atheists are, NOT stealing, NOT raping, NOT killing (c.f. the demographic of prison religious populations). As I’ve alluded to in the above, that sentiment says way more about the claimant than it does the claim.