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Quest for Sense

Can we change our nature

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Watching recent developments around what is rather quaintly called "strike action" in our country, I couldn't help but think of the tale of the fox and the scorpion. For those that don't know it, it goes something like this:

A scorpion was walking along the bank of a river, wondering how to get to the other side. Suddenly, he saw a fox. He asked the fox to take him on his back across the river.

The fox said, "No. If I do that, you'll sting me, and I'll drown."

The scorpion assured him, "If I do that, we'll both drown."

The fox thought about it and finally agreed. So the scorpion climbed up on his back, and the fox began to swim. But halfway across the river, the scorpion stung him. As poison filled his veins, the fox turned to the scorpion and said, "Why did you do that? Now you'll drown, too."

"I couldn't help it," said the scorpion. "It's my nature."
I'm sure it doesn't take much pondering to see the story seems pretty apt. But have we learned anything from the lesson?

To test yourself, here's a question for you.

When looking at our current industrial action woes, who is the fox and who is the scorpion?

The business owner would probably say "The business is the fox. The workers want more, and to get what they want they deliberately harm the income stream of the business to get what they want. But in so doing they're hurting my ability to give them more. Now we are both dying. I'm the fox. Those striking employees are the scorpion."

The striking employee would probably say "The business is the scorpion. He came to me and said help me make money. I've been carrying this business. It is my sweat that makes that money, and yet I struggle to have a decent living while the business owner lives a great life. This business owner has poisoned me and now we are both dying. I'm the fox. The business owner is the scorpion."

Actually it's a trick question - does it really matter who is the fox and who is the scorpion when both die anyway!

The original lesson is there are some people you just shouldn't have pacts with because disaster for both is inevitable. Just avoid getting into that situation.

Good advice if you've got a choice. A rather chilling prophesy of what lies ahead if you don't.

For most of us here in South Africa, there is little choice - this relationship needs to be entered.
And rest assured those with a choice will heed the lesson of the tale, avoid us and leave us to our fate.

So there is only one way we can survive. We have to change our nature.

But can we change our nature?
Time will tell.

But I predict this much - we stand absolutely no chance if we forget the real goal is to get to the other side of the river alive and well.
And it seems we have to do that together.

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  1. vieome's Avatar
    We can change our nature, but will we?
    Here is a good tale on how we can change our nature

    The Legend of the Two Wolves
    An elder was teaching his grandchildren about life. He said to them, “A fight is going on inside me, it is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One wolf is evil—he is fear, anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, competition, superiority, and ego. The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, sharing, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, friendship, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. This same fight is going on inside you, and inside every other person, too” They thought about it for a minute and then one child asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?” The old man simply replied, “The one you feed.”
  2. Citizen X's Avatar
    Human nature is an ugly thing left uncontrolled. The rule of law is imporatnt to prevent us from rearing our ugly nature. If there was no law and order, then if someone wanted your house, they'll simply violently take it, someone wanted that woman, they'd simply violently take her, rape her and make her their life time slave...we need law and order!
  3. Jade's Avatar
    I think with the economy of this country going the way it is at the moment, we do not have it in us to change our nature. The fact still remains that we as human beings let ourselves destruct under false pretenses and false promises from our Government. We, as human beings unfortunately are also very naive, in the fact that we allow ourselves to be manipulated to these so-called promises and to have a misconception of the way that Government is run (we, in our minds, lead ourselves to believe that the Government is running the country correctly.) The more damaging effect of the country is the youth of today listen to these "promises", they also want to change things in the country. Have a look at what our President Jacob Zuma did to the Nkandla residency. He went and had a R203 Million revamp on land that he does in fact not own. Four in five youths said that they disapprove of this. However, the youth of today is scared because of people like the ANCYL form president Julius Malema's militant style of leadership. The youth is becoming more and more intimidated by him and others like him in Parliament each and everyday. In order for us to stand together, we need to get rid of Racial issues (and no one can say that there are no racial issues, because there are). I feel that if everybody, and I mean everybody regardless of race, (isn't this how the striking miners also pointed fingers while they were striking?) stand together, put any apartheid feelings aside and stop blaming each other, we could perhaps win this war that we are all waging on ourselves. Remember the Employer wages a war upon himself, as well as the Employee. I think when we look at the bigger picture of things and perhaps have a leadership willing to listen and to respond publicly, us as human beings will be able to grow together and not against each other.

    The fox and the scorpion story is correct, there is no real 'answer' as to who is the fox and who is scorpion, because we all basically sting each other when one wants to help another.

    @Vanash law and order will only come when the right people put in the right positions will see what is actually wrong and fix the problems as they promise. We will slip into an undevine intervention with ourselves if we do not vote the correct people in place, and if we do not educate ourselves further and investigate on the party that we are wanting to vote for. We need to see what they stand for and what their 'beliefs' are. ( i know it is difficult, because all of them promise the same thing, but I tell you what when you see all of the differrent parties and sum them all up and compare, you will be amazed at what you will see)