Tag Archives: Stories

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

tortoise-and-hare_orig

A hare one day ridiculed the short feet and slow pace of the Tortoise, who replied, laughing: “Though you be swift as the wind, I will beat you in a race.” The Hare, believing her assertion to be simply impossible, assented to the proposal; and they agreed that the Fox should choose the course and fix the goal. On the day appointed for the race the two started together. The Tortoise never for a moment stopped, but went on with a slow but steady pace straight to the end of the course. The Hare, lying down by the wayside, fell fast asleep. At last waking up, and moving as fast as he could, he saw the Tortoise had reached the goal, and was comfortably dozing after her fatigue.

The moral of the story has always been told as – slow & steady wins the race.

Why is this the only moral of the story? Can the moral not be stated as – Do not be too proud of your strengths?

Is it not possible that this particular hare was foolish enough to doze off? Is it not possible that the hare learnt his lesson after losing the race?

What is the probability that the tortoise has more than 50% odds of winning in any given race with a hare? Will you bet on the hare or the tortoise?

Why is the moral told from the tortoise’s viewpoint but not from the hare’s viewpoint?

I think there would be no story if the hare had won the race. The tortoise was the underdog & therefore his winning is the crux of the story.

But it is still difficult to wrap one’s head around the point that a slow & steady approach of the tortoise will always be a winning strategy against the hare.

While this seems obvious, there is another perspective from which this approach makes real sense and this is what Aesop was referring to as the moral of the story.

​The slow and steady approach is actually a mental attitude towards attaining one’s aim. It refers to remembering one’s aim and not forgetting it. Even if one makes a slow and steady progress, it is better than making fast, random, distracted efforts like the hare, who got lazy, tired and slept off. The hare did not remember his aim and ultimately lost to the tortoise.

Looking at Life as a Story

 

story

How do you describe yourself? Don’t you say something like the following:

​My name is Y. I was born in N city on DD-MM-YYYY. I attended this school and that school. I studied graduation from a reputed college and post graduation from an even reputed college. I work as a manager in some renowned company. Previously, I have worked in many companies like M, F and C. I am married and my wife’s name is B and I have two kids A and A. My parents stay in N. I like to read books. I like new age and fusion music. I also like watching movies.

That is my story. I can add more details and elaborate on it. But doesn’t everyone have a story? What is your story? You have a name. You were born somewhere. You did this and did that. You went here and went there. You like this and you dislike that. And many more things like this. Then you have your goals. “I want to do this in life. I am working on a great project. I want to earn a million dollars. I want to drive a BMW and live in a penthouse.”

Observe this carefully. Is there anything apart from the story? I say there is just the story and nothing else. Our mental life is made up of nothing but the story. The obvious question you might raise is then what is all that we see and feel. “The hand that I see is not the story; it is apart from the story. The sky, the tree, the road, the bus, other people and so on.. they are not simply stories. They are real.”

What all those things are cannot be said in words. All words and descriptions are again stories. Whether it is the story of the big bang, or how the earth was formed, or how Alexander conquered countries, how a bud becomes a flower and how a child grows into a man, all these are stories – descriptions made out of concepts invented by us. You read stories in novels, you read stories in newspapers, you listen to stories on television and radio..

Reality is not compelled to follow these stories. Reality cannot be understood with these stories. You will see what is real only when you empty your mind of all stories. You must not attach importance to these stories but know them simply as yarn woven out of thin air.

The Six Blind Men and the Elephant

elephant

Once upon a time, there was a king who, wishing to amuse himself, ordered the Royal Elephant to be brought before him. He also ordered some blind men, blind from birth, to be brought near the elephant. He then asked these blind men to touch the elephant and give a description of the elephant to him.

The man who touched the tail said the elephant was like a rope.
The one who touched a leg said it was like a tree.
The one who touched the body said it was like a wall.
The one who touched the ear said the elephant was like a fan.
The one who touched the trunk said it was like a snake.
The one who touched the elephant’s tusks, said it was like a spear.

elephant-blind-compo

Thus, each described the elephant differently, but each was sure that his own version was the true description of the elephant. They did not realize that each one touched only a part of the elephant. Each blind person had only a one-sided truth. They started arguing with each other, each sticking to his own point of view. The argument ended up in quarreling and fighting. The king and his ministers rolled with laughter as the blind men continued to quarrel and fight with each other.

The origins of this story are unknown but it appears in almost all religious literature through the world. There are many many ways to look at this story and understand it. Just goes to prove what the story intends to convey.

When the blind truly open their eyes, they will see there was no elephant there.