Thursday, August 27, 2009

Surviving ‘My Way or the Highway’ Religion

“In Pakistan it is quite common that I tell the story of a man who had the opportunity while alive to visit both heaven and hell. He was first taken to hell where he saw a large banquet table covered with every variety of food and delight. The people sitting around this table could see all of these things yet were starving and wailing because the handles on their spoons were too long to get them into their mouths. The man was quite disturbed about what he saw but there was nothing he could do. He was then taken to heaven and was very surprised to see the same table furnished with the same delightful foods and with people sitting around holding the same spoons but they were happy and fed. Then he noticed that they were feeding each other! They were helping themselves by helping each other. This is a story that relies on intuition to understand its meaning. Intellectually we want to think that people can only help themselves directly and that with the long spoons they will starve, but this is the old thinking. The truth is that in life just as in this story we cannot survive without the cooperation of others. The idea that cooperation is the only way we can survive conflicts with our western notion of survival of the fittest, go it alone and self made millionaires, but it works.” (an unattributed Internet quote)

No comments: