I am indebted to a friend, Paul, for the thought of today’s posting. He expressed it at a club meeting and the accuracy of his observations struck me immediately.
Briefly, it is the chance that one takes when encountering a new situation and seeking advice. You are entering into a cosmic lottery sometimes and your position is that of one of the bouncing balls in the hopper…
An example from Paul: A man walks into a village and asks the first person he sees what the colour of the sky is. ( We must presume here that the questioner cannot determine this for himself but must be advised. ) If he has encountered a normal villager he gets the answer ” Blue “. If he commits this to memory and then repeats this to others he is seen as a truthful and wise man.
If the first person he encounters in the village is the village idiot and he gets the answer ” Green ” he can still believe it, commit it to memory, and repeat it…but with the result that he is seen badly by everyone else.
The judgement upon him is harsher than that put upon the village idiot as the village idiot is a known source of folly, while he is a new professor – and if it happens that he knows other facts that are correct the additional appellation of ” Liar ” is added to ” Fool”. Again no-one has asked the fool to tell the truth.
There is a further disaster in the making if he insists that he thinks the sky is green because he was told that. People can now put him down as ” Gullible”. They may make the trial of giving him some further silly mistakes to see if he will bite on them.
The saddest thing about this is the fact that the questioner might have some defect of perception that does not distinguish between blue and green naturally – and that original question may have been asked in all innocence. He has been unwillingly made ” It ” in Village Idiot Tag and has no way to rid himself from the disgrace except passing it on to someone else.
The moral of the tale? Ask not for whom the fool tells, for he tells for thee…