A Proverb by Ed Kozney


A friend, Ray Becvar, sent this missive as a followup to a recent conversation: Alan Watts recounts the tale of the Chinese farmer: One day his horse ran away. And all the neighbors gathered in the evening and said, “That’s too bad.” The farmer said, “Maybe.” The next day the horse came back and brought with it seven wild horses. The neighbor’s said, “Aren’t you lucky.” The farmer said, “Maybe.” The next day, his son grappled with one of these wild horses and tried to break it in and he got thrown and broke his leg. And all the neighbors said, “Oh that’s too bad that your son broke his leg.” The farmer said, “Maybe.” The next day the conscription officers came around gathering young men for the army, and they rejected his son because he had a broken leg. The neighbors said, “Isn’t that great, your son got out.” The farmer said, “Maybe.” The point that Watts is making is about the limits of rational human thought and the relativity of things we define as good or bad. He notes that we can’t always know in which direction “progress” lies. We have been told that the same Chinese symbol is used for crisis and opportunity. My thanks to Ray for the above: I see juveniles in detention once a week. Part of the message I bring is that there is a good side and a bad side to everything that comes into our lives. I'm often surprised by the number of these young people who can see the good side of being locked up for weeks or months at a time. My hope is that each and every one of us can see the good side of each and every thing that comes into our lives, including yours truely, Ed

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