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A Parable

Discussion in 'Enlightenment Games' started by ThunderRd, Dec 21, 2016.

  1. ThunderRd

    ThunderRd Irreverent Query Chairman Staff Member

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    In one of the world's most prestigious universities works a gifted philosopher. With his powers of genius he instantly demolishes any idea he comes across. From the works of ancient philosophers to the latest scientific theory, he can immediately see the flaw. Art and religion he dismisses as "imaginative fantasy" with no basis in fact or logic. He wins every argument he takes part in. Soon no one dares disagree with him.

    Still he feels unsatisfied with his life, and bored of his status as the world's greatest thinker. He sets a challenge: if anyone can defeat him in argument, he will relinquish his position to them.

    The world's brightest minds come forward to challenge the philosopher. Theologians argue for the existence of God. Writers try to convince him of the value of literature. Scientists rigorously defend their theories.

    All are defeated.

    One day, a young lady knocks on the philosopher's door. He can tell she has no special intelligence, and he almost laughs her out of his office but for her meek beauty and her shining eyes. "Come with me," she says. The philosopher is intrigued, and follows her through the city. As they walk, the philosopher finds out the young lady is an actress, but she will answer no questions about where they are going.

    They arrive at a small theatre. In front of the stage are three seats: one for the philosopher and one for the actress. The third seat is taken by a man who introduces himself as the director of the play they are about to watch. The play begins. However, as soon as one of the actors walks on stage and begins speaking, the director shouts: "Clear the stage."

    This happens many times.

    Eventually the philosopher storms out. The young actress follows him. "What kind of joke was that?" he shouts at her.

    "Please, be calm," the actress says. "You are angry because I showed you a mirror of yourself.

    "I know you are a man of great genius, and it is unlikely I could never understand your academic arguments. But I do know this: each time you come across a new idea, you demolish it simply because you have the power to do so. You are like the director, shouting, 'clear the stage, clear the stage', and the actors obey because he has the power."

    To this the professor has no reply. After a few moments of silence, the philosopher confesses he has lost the argument. "I will resign this evening, and you will have my seat at the university tomorrow," he says.

    "I do not want your seat," the actress replies.

    "What do you want then?" asks the philosopher.

    "I only ask you one thing: that you share your university seat with imagination and wonder. Instead of looking for the flaw in everything, look first for the beauty."

    The professor agrees to her terms. During the next fortnight, his life is completely transformed.

    On Wednesday afternoons he starts going to the theatre. Thursdays he spends at the local art gallery. On Fridays he prays at the mosque, Saturdays he is found at the synagogue, and on Sundays he goes to church.

    Within weeks he is dismissed from his post as a lunatic. As he leaves his office for the final time, he dances out into the rain, happier than ever before.

    Never again does he feel dissatisfied with his lot in life.
    Daniel~ likes this.
  2. Daniel~

    Daniel~ Chief BBS Administrator Staff Member

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    Thank you ThunderRd.
    You've put me in mind of:

    "The moral of this story, the moral of this song is
    one should never be where one does not belong"

    Bob Dylan

    Belonging as I'm sure your life has shown you, can be much more difficult than simply knowing where you were born...Yes? ":O}
  3. ThunderRd

    ThunderRd Irreverent Query Chairman Staff Member

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    I lived where I was born, I functioned there, and was successful there; but after years of experience, I am quite sure that I no longer belong there, if I ever really did.

    Although I enjoy some aspects of visiting, I admit that every time I return for some reason, the trip is always prefaced by a feeling of dread. It just isn't where I want to be.

    Soon it will be 40 years since my first assignment in Asia. Then it was a long period of time when I lived here roughly 8 or 9 months a year before staying permanently in 1995. I don't regret any of it.
  4. Daniel~

    Daniel~ Chief BBS Administrator Staff Member

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    I've often wondered how you came to a new land. Have you a facility for languages or did you have to tough it out?
    I'm very happy to hear you have settled into a new life that better sustains you.

    I've never had a talent for this world. I think it goes beyond my dyslexia. I just never felt myself to be in agreement with very much that I've found here. I spend so much time in rebellion, I lost touch with much that is good.
    Like Business,
    The world lives and breathes business yet I had this picture of total corruption.
    I don't know why but I was in my 30s before I realized that there is nothing wrong with business!

    Probably got it from the movies! ":O}
  5. ThunderRd

    ThunderRd Irreverent Query Chairman Staff Member

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    I was first sent here [rather against my will] when I was 21, fresh out of the U, because my company believed I had the 'personality' to handle the Asian psyche. Don't exactly know quite how they came to that rather weird conclusion, but it worked out in the end.

    As for the language, it was hard work. I speak Thai at a well above average level, can read and write at about a 7th grade level, but I would not call it near-native. I am less sure with Lao, but I can get by if needed. I guess I'm fairly adept at languages, but two of the four languages that I speak are native to me, so they really don't count. I know people that can blow me away in the language department.
  6. Daniel~

    Daniel~ Chief BBS Administrator Staff Member

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    About all I can do is raise my voice and stab the air with one finger.
    To be honest it's really not very effective with non-English speakers. Although those who speak English can usually make out what I'm trying to say!

    I dreamed that you wrote and wanted me to change the name of a "Young monk" in one of my stories to "Pete."
    You explained at length that you had a Thai friend that was a Monk who had a thing for the name Pete.
    You even offered me completely unnecessary inducements Like correcting my spelling for a whole year!

    Alas, I awoke before I could get you to commit to doing my punctuation as well.
  7. ThunderRd

    ThunderRd Irreverent Query Chairman Staff Member

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    LOLZ, that's funny :)

    TBH, I don't think I've ever met a Thai named Pete. I've known a few Phets, some Poots, a Pitt or two, and several Phats.

    [Thais have long, difficult to remember names, so their parents give all of them a short nickname when they're babies. Read this:
    https://www.into-asia.com/thai_language/reference/nicknames.php
    to learn a little about the tradition of Thai nicknames.]

    My kids both have Western names, so their nicknames are Dan and Ann, but lots of Thais have those nicknames too. Western nicknames are becoming more popular as time goes by.
  8. Daniel~

    Daniel~ Chief BBS Administrator Staff Member

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    I have never known a Pete,( several Peters, no Petes.)
    BUT, My First wife, a wonderful woman, was named Ann!

    I'll leave you to ponder that while I check out nick names in Thailand.
    "O}
  9. Daniel~

    Daniel~ Chief BBS Administrator Staff Member

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    I found my self moved by the motivation. In many primal cultures keeping babies hidden in one form or anther seems paramount. The losses that bring about and maintain such customs break ones heart.

    On the good side as one can be named shorty and grow to be quite tall... The older you get the harder it is for such spirits to find and steal you away!

    Bless those who came before and endured such losses that they had to resort to every means possible to bring forward their generations.
    As always, thanks T.R. you better my life.":O}

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