Thursday, November 21, 2013

Parable of The Truthsayer

Suppose 100 people are joined together in some venture.

To insure its success, those 100 have conferred together, considered strengths and weaknesses, abilities and disabilities.  Enlightened by such consideration, the group decides that the work of the venture should be divided amongst the 100.  Each of the group takes a solemn vow to perform their duties for the success of the venture.

Time passes.

Those who have made vows begin to discover that they can skirt duty in small ways without shame or discovery.

Others, seeing that this is so, discover that they can skirt duty in large ways with little shame or meaningless discovery.

Finally, the word "duty" comes to mean "opportunity," as those who took vows to accomplish the commonly agreed on goals, begin to equate their role in the venture as means to other ends.

In the end, the venture ... its purpose, its nature, its importance ... becomes distant memory.

Every now and then, someone who knows the story of the beginning, and had a hope for the end, stands in a public place and proclaims truth.  His truth is about the venture.  His truth is about the goals.  His truth is about the duties.  His truth is about the loss.

A strange thing happens when he speaks.

Crowds gather.  His words penetrate their minds and hearts.  He speaks with passion.  He speaks with certainty.  His knowledge is substantial and his claims supported.

The crowds, responding to the force of his elocution, are angered.  Voices murmur among the crowd, "we must do something, and we must do it now."  "Yes, yes, we must do something."  "Action now."

As he paints the pictures, the grand one of the glorious venture, the dark one of the loss and betrayal, passions ignite.  Murmurs rise to whispers, whispers rise to audibility, and audible voices rise to shouts and cries:  "To arms, to arms," is heard; "ACTION NOW" echoes.

The crowd can be contained no longer.

They surge as one.

They knock the man from the milk crate on which he stood to speak.  They tear from his hands his notes, his copies of ancient writing, his proof of truth.

Then the kicking and stomping commences.  The anguish of the crowd, raised to fever pitch in the coaxing of public shaming and loss of memory, burns in blind hatred.  Nothing recognizable remains of the speaker or the truth he spoke.  The climax reached, the crowd begins to still.  "Serves him right," the voices speak.  "Anachronism," others reply.  "People like that don't understand the need to grow, to be flexible, and to allow for change."

One by one the crowd diminishes, some to work, some to play, some to Starbucks, some to Chipotle.

In the end, it is almost as though the venture was never lost, because the vision of it was lost first.