Aphorism of the Week
A prize of great value is not meant to be given away.
Dedicated to Pussy Riot's call for freedom from Russian President Putin's restoration of dictatorship in collusion with the Russian Orthodox Patriarch.
Parable of the Week
The Forceful, The Persuasive
Rulers of men oft rise at night.
Come into power upon the hastened death of his predecessor, he quickly cast off all whose ability threatened his supremacy. He declared himself king, and when he barked his imperial orders, those who disobeyed or hesitated were exiled or executed.
One day he was to receive in his royal court the Leader of a powerful neighboring country.
"This is a Leader?" the king asked, laughing, as his courtiers briefed him about the man he would soon meet. "He did not usurp power, but asked the people for it? He can be removed from power simply by a majority vote?"
He smirked. "And he has never held an Army commission, nor ever fired a gun! Hah!"
It shall be a simple matter to dominate this man in our trade negotiations, the king thought to himself.
As the Leader of the other country entered the throne room, the king ordered him, "Kneel!"
As the Leader kneeled, the king saw his face -- a face of complete calm and equanimity.
The king became angered. "Why aren't you afraid of me, little man! I could have you executed!"
The Leader replied, "So you could, but my people wish you to have this."
He passed a scroll to the king, who handed it on to his general and demanded it be read before the royal court.
Thus did the general read aloud the Leader's letter to the king -- who heard its words with growing incredulity and horror: "O King, we, the people of your neighboring country, have massed a great army and navy in support of our Leader, whom we love. Our economy is strong, and our armed forces are unified and at the ready in his support. We wish you well, but know that our Leader is to return unharmed, or your small military takeover will see this day its last day."
The Leader then said to the suddenly perspiring king, "It is my gift of persuasion that is my power. Using it I've led my people into prosperity. My might is their gratitude." Then the Leader gestured casually around him.
"Yet, look here, at the faces of all the men around you, O King. If gratitude resided there, indeed I would be afraid. But all I see is fear and hatred of you. In my country, these men would lay down their lives for their leader -- here, they will not."
The king, in his fear and rage, exploded.
"Kill him, and may war come!"
The king's general steeled himself, strode forward, unsheathed his sword, and, sinews steady, raised it high -- and brought it down not upon the Leader's neck, but upon his own king's.
After the thump of the head, the king's bejeweled body collapsed to the ground with the sound of dry leaves and tinkling chimes.
"Our King, the fool!" muttered the general, as he sheathed his bloody sword.
He turned to face the Leader. "If your people will agree to trade with us as peaceful neighbors, I will instate free elections for our people, too."
Thus, the power of muscle is weaker than the power of reason.
August 18, 2012, excerpt from The Parables of Reason (Chapter 2, "Assumption's Denial"), Copyright © 2007-2012 by Frank H. Burton, Ph.D., Founder and Executive Director, The Circle of Reason. All rights reserved.