Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Ocean and the fjord

The captain did not get angry. Instead he slowly approached the lieutenant, took him by the shoulder and walked him aside. By that time he already regretted his insolent behaviour.

"Look at all these fjords, dear," the captain said. "See how many there are, and how impetuously they flow."

The lieutenant didn't know what the captain was trying to say, but he obeyed.

"Now look the other way and see how vast the ocean is, as if it were drinking up all the light of the sun. See how its movements seem to swallow everything. Do you think the fjords are greater in majesty than the ocean?"

"No Sir, I don't."

"Really? But there are so many fjords. And they flow so much faster than the gentle swell of the sea."

"But still, Sir, the ocean is stronger and more majestic than a fjord."

"That's exactly what I wanted to hear you say, my dear," said the captain. "If rivers and seas are greater than streams and brooks, it is because they are always lower. If you want to become a captain one day, you first have to learn to obey, to listen to what I say and to learn from me. One day you may surpass me, but that day has not yet come."

This story contains a profound truth: If you want to learn, you have to know how to hold back, observe and forget yourself. Every living creature grows by assimilating what comes from outside itself.

"The sage who wants to lead his people acts as a servant to his people." Lao Tzu

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