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"The fruits of philosophy, not the philosophy itself.  When we ask the time,
we don't want to know how watches are constructed." –Lichtenberg

3 Parables

Parable of the Wise Traveler

Three starving, thirsty philosophers were walking along the trail of life when they came to a major junction with three roads leading away.  One road had a sign that said, THIS WAY TO THE DESERT WHERE GOLD, SILVER AND PRECIOUS JEWELS ARE SCATTERED AROUND ABUNDANTLY ON THE DESERT FLOOR.  The first philosopher, being somewhat enamored with the noble metals and precious stones, said to himself that he had time to find some of these valuables before he found something to eat and drink.  He took this road, going to the desert, and got caught up in finding so many wonderful specimens that he did not think in time about drinking and eating.  He died a rich but starving man in the desert.

 The second road had a sign that said, THIS WAY TO LIFE VIA THE MOUNTAIN WHERE THERE ARE MANY UNSURPASSED SCENIC VIEWS UPON THE WORLD.  The second philosopher, being somewhat enamored with scenery and glorious vistas, said to himself that he had time to see the magnificent outlooks before he found food and drink.  He took this road, going to the mountain, and got so caught up in enjoying the sweeping panoramas that he no longer thought about drinking and eating.  He died on the mountain having seen many wondrous things.

The third road had a sign that said, THIS WAY TO LIFE WHERE THERE IS FOOD AND DRINK AND GOOD FELLOWSHIP.  The third philosopher, being somewhat enamored with both riches and panoramic vistas, yet said to himself that he needed to find food and drink in order to stay alive.  He took this road going directly to life and was fed and sustained.  Since taking that road, he is still gathering gold, silver and many fine jewels, still encountering many fine panoramic vistas, and enjoying many other fine things.

Let him who has ears hear!

Parable of the Gate

He told them this parable, saying, "Entering the Kingship/Kingdom of the Heavens is like unto this.  A certain man already having searched his world over for the truth and not finding, he began to wander away again from the village.  This time in wandering he soon comes upon a sign put up by the authorities saying, DANGER: BEYOND THIS POINT THOU SHALT NOT LOOK.  But looking anyway he goes past that sign, and upon passing he turns to see the sign saying WOE TO YOU WHO HAVE LOOKED TOO HARD AND TOO FAR.  He comes upon another sign saying DANGER: BEYOND THIS POINT THOU SHALT NOT THINK.  Again, thinking more and thinking further, he goes past that sign and glancing back he sees WOE TO YOU WHO HAVE THOUGHT TOO MUCH.  Coming upon a third sign saying DANGER: BEYOND THIS POINT THOU SHALT NOT WANT, he again glances back to see WOE TO YOU WHO HAVE WANTED TOO MUCH.  And he came upon a fourth sign saying EXTREME DANGER: BEYOND THIS POINT THOU SHALT NOT GO.  Upon going he has by now learned not to look back, and having passed all these signs he comes to a huge and high wall with imposing gates.  He is uneasy about the rosy glow coming over the wall when he reads in huge letters over the gates THE GATES OF HELL–ABANDON HOPE ALL YE WHO RETURN.  Upon seeing the footsteps he girds up his mind, follows them and enters through the gates."

His followers say unto him, "Master Teacher, finish the parable and explain it so that we can understand it."  He replied, "What?  You do not understand this parable?  How are you going to understand any parable?  Nevertheless, I will finish the parable for you."

"The rosy glow is from the sunrise on a beautiful tropical beach behind the Guide he is looking at.  He does not notice the sign over the gates reading THE GATES OF HELL–ABANDON HOPE ALL YE WHO ENTER."  And the Master said, "He who understands this parable may understand all the parables. Let him who has ears hear!"

Parable of the Two Peaks

And he told them another parable, saying, "Once there was a very intelligent, sensitive boy born into a village on the side of a very old and large mountain. Most of this mountain, including where the village was located, was continuously shrouded in mist and fog, and no one could ever see the territory around the base of the mount, nor could they ever even see extensively around the sides of the mount except in bits and pieces of glimpses.

"Along with being immersed in this cloudiness, the village was most often uncomfortably cold and damp. The available growing areas were sloped and the soil was rocky and poor. Of course, the light was also less than ideal for growing, and the villagers were usually uncomfortable and sometimes ill and in poor health. Of course, they worked hard to provide themselves with shelter and techniques to stay as comfortable as possible.

"There were other villages around the side of this mount at greater or lesser altitude, but they were all enveloped in the mountain mist and fog, and had yet a more or less harsh environment. These village cultures were generally in competition, and the boy's village culture, though small, considered itself to be significantly better than the others. The villagers were often reminded of their village superiority, taught to distrust those of the other cultures, and cautioned to stay close to the village.

"Since the terrain was steep and challenging and he was able-bodied, the boy learned to climb, and was encouraged to practice and develop this skill. As he matured, he became an intrepid climber and climbed in areas of the mountain that were deemed unsafe. Even though severely warned, from time to time he ventured into these areas to try to get a better view.

"As per usual for such a risk-taking climber, at times he fell and painfully wounded himself; but his injuries were not life threatening and he was able to recover most of his physical ability and continued to climb when able. One day while exploring a particular different and challenging region he experienced a drastic fall and kept tumbling all the way down to the valley at the base of the mount. His injuries were severe but barely recoverable, and at least now he was in a different clime, one that was clear of fog, and warmer with better soil.

"Now, when he looked around, he could see two mountains, the one he had tumbled from, shrouded in the mysterious fog, and another high mount that was clear of fog. After a prolonged, painful  period of recovery, he began to climb again and explore the new mountain territory. As he regained his stamina and ease of movement, the top of the mountain and the view wherewith beckoned him. At some point there was nothing to do but scale the peak. As he did so, he found an inner strength and his climbing ability increased remarkably.

"As he ascended to ever higher altitude, he beheld an unfolding view of a fabulous land at the base opposed to his old mount. Upon cresting the pinnacle, resting yet gasping for breath, he could survey enough of the territory of this fabulous land to understand that this was a good land as far as the eye could see, vast beyond comprehension. Here was an uncharted and unoccupied land of rolling hills and lush dales, fertile meadows along with forests, streams and lakes. Here  was where all the villagers, his own culture and the others, should dwell and thrive. This was the land of plenty where humanity could flourish in timeless good health and freedom from danger and want."

As usual, when he told them this parable, they did not understand and asked him to explain it. His response was, "What?! You don't understand this parable? How are you going to understand any parable? Nevertheless, I will explain it.

"The mountains represent two paradigms, and the mountain sides are the spiritual and intellectual understanding territory of these. The fog represents the confusion engendered by the effects of sin, the human condition, and the old paradigm, resulting in a lack of being able to think critically and clearly for seeing the truth. The cold and dampness represent the discomfort and lack of love and acceptance by the villagers of themselves and others. The boy's village is a certain fundamentalist denomination of Christendom and the other villages are the other denominations and religions. You can guess who the boy was. Do you not understand what the fabulous land represents?"

Let him who has ears hear!

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