Sunday, December 27, 2009

Uncertainties of life

People who are too certain of their knowledge are quite often misguided people. Other than death and taxes few things are certain in life. Besides that, life is an enigma and full of uncertainties which reminds me of a Chinese fable which I read quite a while ago. It is a simple story but sheds extraordinary light on the uncertainties of human life. I read it under the heading of "An Old Man on a Hill". I did some search on the web and found it under the heading of "The Chinese Farmer". Anyway here is the story:
The Chinese farmer

There is a Chinese story of an old farmer who had an old horse for tilling his fields. One day the horse escaped into the hills and, when all the farmer's neighbours sympathised with the old man over his bad luck, the farmer replied, 'Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?'

A week later the horse returned with a herd of wild horses from the hills and this time the neighbours congratulated the farmer on his good luck. His reply was, 'Good luck? Bad luck? Who knows?'

Then, when the farmer's son was attempted to tame one of the wild horses, he fell off its back and broke his leg. Everyone thought this very bad luck. Not the farmer, whose only reaction was, 'Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?'

Some weeks later the army marched into the village and conscripted every able-bodied youth they found there. When they saw the farmer's son with his broken leg they let him off. Now was that good luck? Bad luck? Who knows?
After reading this story one gets the feeling that the only ones who can be sure of their knowledge are clowns with chia-heads.

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  1. Uncertainties of life - sometimes that is what keeps us going, allows us a vague hope when we can't seem to find a reason for it.

  2. Quite true. The idea is to do our best and hope for the best results and if the results are not to our liking then move on instead of crying over the spilled milk.

    Also life is uncertain and those who claim they know it all and impose their ideals on others are the clowns I refer to. Life's mysteries keep revealing themselves but very slowly. And our senses, as humans, are very limited to unravel those mysteries.