General

The wolf who cried boy

In the homely village of Fullville, far away from the hustle and bustle of the major port city of Crissborn, there lived a group of wolves. These wolves, unlike the wolves you have heard about or have seen, were vegetarian. That’s right, vegetarian. They grew their own fruits and vegetables, such as tomatoes and corn, and had vegetarian dish 1 for breakfast, vegetarian dish 2 for lunch, and vegetarian dish 3 for dinner. For dessert, they would have fruit salad.

While everyone enjoyed their fruits and vegetables, this little wolf known as Sheila was bored with it. She didn’t feel like it was right to eat vegetables and thought there was more to life. She had heard from her friends about meat and about how it tastes far better than vegetables. Sheila decided to see if the adults knew anything about meat in a tricky way.

She went to a nearby hill and yelled at the loudest of her voice: “there’s a boy coming!” All the adult wolves rushed to the hill and looked around for the boy, only to find Sheila laughing and scowling at the same time. “You adults can never be honest. Why aren’t we eating meat if we are supposed to eat meat? What would all these vegetables help us with?”

“Well, the climate is getting hotter and they said eating less meat would make the world cooler. Anyway, that’s besides the point. You lied to us! That’s bad!”

“I’m sorry, I just heard about meat and wanted to see if what they said about meat being delicious is true.”

“Meat is indeed delicious but no more playing tricks with us. Vegetables are better.”

The next day, Sheila couldn’t resist and went to the hill again and yelled “There’s a boy!” The adults rushed to the hill only to see Sheila laughing again. They were so angry with her that as punishment, she wasn’t given dessert, which wasn’t a problem because she hated the fruit salad anyway.

The next day, Sheila found that no one in the village was speaking to her so she went to the hill to be by herself. This time, she found a boy heading towards Fullville and so she yelled, “there’s a boy coming. I’m serious!” However, the villagers weren’t amused and one of them yelled back “shut up Sheila. We won’t fall for your lies again.” Sheila was confused and the boy looked ever so tempting.

She decided to do what any rational wolf would do and ran towards the boy and ate him up. Meat was indeed delicious, it was unlike anything she had eaten before. She went back to the village, licking her chops. She then noticed everyone staring at her. Someone asked: “Did…did..you just eat meat?”

“Yea, a boy! Boy, was he delicious!”

“You ate a boy and you didn’t tell us? You didn’t think of sharing the boy with us?”

“But I did, you were the ones who thought I was lying.”

Sheila then went back home, with a smug look on her face, while the rest of the wolves were utterly frustrated.

The moral of the story: If you do not want to share a good thing with others, lie enough times that you have it. People will stop believing you and when you do indeed have the good thing and enjoy it by yourself, no one can accuse you of being selfish.

 

(Note: This was written almost two years ago. I viewed the draft a few weeks ago and also showed it to Branka. She suggested I publish it immediately; I decided to do so after making some very small edits. I wish I knew what state of mind I was in when I originally composed it.)

General

Signing up for Facebook

I used to have an account on Facebook but I deleted it a year ago. But now it seems like there are people trying to create an account on Facebook using my email. I have no idea who they are but it is likely they won’t succeed, since they would need access to my email account to complete the registration process.

If you see anyone on Facebook claiming to be me, just know that it is NOT true. I will not create a Facebook account again and in the extremely unlikely case that I actually do, I will make a post here.

General

The Betrayal of Technology

Here’s a very thought-provoking documentary: The Betrayal by Technology: A Portrait of Jacques Ellul. As the title suggests, it’s a general portrayal of a man who has questioned the dominance of technology in our lives. If you’ve already been questioning yourself, then his thoughts would likely spur your quest for a better understanding of the conditions we live in.

General

More Literary Nuggets

There is a time to admire the grace and persuasive power of an influential idea, and there is a time to fear its hold over us. The time to worry is when the idea is so widely shared that we no longer even notice it, when it is so deeply rooted that it feels to us like plain common sense. At the point when objections are not answered anymore because they are no longer even raised, we are not in control: we do not have the idea; it has us.

- Alfie Kohn in Punished by Rewards

General

Literary Nuggets

I really like it when every so often, when I read something, I come across a paragraph or a line that has wisdom behind it, wisdom that illuminates. Just take the scene from Guards! Guards! where the dragon king debates with Wonse on his non-confrontational approach of getting people to do the king’s bidding:

 

Wonse flung up his finger-spread hands in a conciliatory fashion. ‘Of course, of course,’ he said. ‘But there are ways and ways, you know. Ways and ways. All the roaring and flaming, you see, you don’t need it …’

Foolish Ape! How else can I make them do my bidding?

Wonse put his hands behind his back.

“They’ll do it of their own free will,’ he said. ‘And in time, they’ll come to believe it was their own idea. It’ll be a tradition. Take it from me. We humans are adaptable creatures.’

The dragon gave him a long, blank stare.

‘In fact,’ said Wonse, trying to keep the trembling out of his voice, ‘before too long, if someone comes along and tells them that a dragon king is a bad idea, they’ll kill him themselves.’

The dragon blinked.

For the first time Wonse could remember, it seemed uncertain.

‘I know people, you see,’ said Wonse, simply.

The dragon continued to pin him with its gaze.

If you are lying … it thought, eventually.

‘You know I can’t. Not to you.’

And they really act like this?

‘Oh, yes. All the time. It’s a basic human trait.’

Wonse knew the dragon could read at least the upper levels of his mind. They resonated in terrible harmony. And he could see the mighty thoughts behind the eyes in front of him.

The dragon was horrified.

‘I’m sorry,’ said Wonse weakly. ‘That’s just how we are. It’s all to do with survival, I think.’

There will be no mighty warriors sent to kill me? it thought, almost plaintively.

‘I don’t think so.’

No heroes?

‘Not any more. They cost too much.’

But I will be eating people!

Wonse whimpered.

He felt the sensation of the dragon rummaging around in his mind, trying to find a clue to understanding. He half-saw, half-sensed the flicker of random images, of dragons, of the mythical age of reptiles and – and here he felt the dragon’s genuine astonishment – of some of the less commendable areas of human history, which were most of it. And after the astonishment came the baffled anger. There was practically nothing the dragon could do to people that they had not, sooner or later, tried on one another, often with enthusiasm.

You have the effrontery to be squeamish, it thought at him. But we were dragons. We were supposed to be cruel, cunning, heartless, and terrible. But this much I can tell you, you ape – the great face pressed even closer, so that Wonse was staring into the pitiless depths of his eyes – we never burned and tortured and ripped one another apart and called it morality.