November 13, 2018

It’s quite difficult to not fall into the trap of interpretation. If something happens, it’s only natural (or at least automatic) to make sense out of it and put in context to the past and the future. Why did it happen and what are the implications of it? This kind of rationalization creates a feeling of security, at least stability, and control. When in fact, it’s really difficult to know.

This old taoist fable is one of my favorite texts when it comes to interpretation of circumstances:

There was an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. „Such bad luck,“ they said sympathetically. „Maybe,“ the farmer replied.

The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. „How wonderful,“ the neighbors exclaimed. „Maybe,“ replied the old man.

The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune. „Maybe,“ answered the farmer.

The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out. „Maybe,“ said the farmer.”