Mistaking Interpretation for Fact
For thousands of years a jungle tribe lived on their wits, historical knowledge of their environment, and natural abilities. They knew every inch of their land, and every animal, insect and plant. They taught their children how to recognise dangers, such as tigers, water poisoned by algae, and steep cliffs.
One day, a man from the tribe, knowing all the dangers, begins to muse that a tiger is not dangerous. It is just misunderstood. The tiger has eaten three locals in the past week, but the man steadfastly continues to believe the tiger is misunderstood. If only the tiger could become part of the community, he said, it would live happily amongst us and be a friend.
One day, he was at the riverside and pondered on the bright red colour of a section of water affected by poison algae. The more he pondered the more he was convinced that the algae were not dangerous after all - they were a means of introducing colour into the drab lives of the locals. All that was needed was acceptance of the colour.
As he was out walking, he came close to a perilous cliff. He looked down at the rich vegetation and over towards distant mountains. He deduced that the cliff was really a philosophical break, between the life of the tribe and a better life out there somewhere. All that was needed for that better life was for the tribe to somehow bridge the gap. In his mind, the way to do it was to just jump off and fly. No-one had done it before. Therefore, any danger was only perceived and not actual.
The man chatted to the elders of the tribe, but they did not accept his beliefs. They argued that for centuries the tribe had been well-honed in what was good for them and what was not. But the man went off in a huff, thinking they were just idiots who could not see beyond their own trees.
He took to thinking and rethinking the whole basis of his life and thought he should go it alone and come out to prove his case. He would bridge the gap, reach the new land far away, and bring back proof!
Next day he walked towards the river, which was half way to the cliff. When he reached the river the algae had turned the whole river bright red. The man was thirsty. He looked into the water and thanked his local god for the lovely colour. Then, because he thought everything was okay, he drank deeply of the cool fluid.
He quickly moved on, but as he neared the cliff, he began to feel very odd. By the time he reached the high cliff, his head was painful and his chest felt tight. But, he had to carry on regardless of the bad feeling. So, consistent with his belief that the cliff was only a philosophical barrier, he jumped off and flapped his arms, looking to the far horizon.
He fell like a stone onto the trees below. Apart from cuts and bruises, he had no real injury as he slipped between branches and finally came to rest on the valley floor, on top of soft undergrowth.
As he lay there catching his breath a tiger roamed nearby and started to come slowly towards him. The man, grateful to be alive, said out loud, "Hello, my friend! I know you are not a danger to me. Come and let us talk, and we can go on to the distant mountains together."
The tiger said nothing and came closer and closer. When he was about six feet away, the tiger jumped in the air and landed on top of the man. The whole thing was over in seconds, as blood spurted from his jugular. The tiger tore off his left arm and ate it. Then he ate the rest at leisurely pace.
The problem all along was that the man simply could not count! Throughout the ages two and two always equalled four. Even the tribe, who the man thought was stupid, knew that. By making two and two equal five, the man had vivid ideas but no sense. Thus he died. It was he who was stupid, not the majority, the tribe. And do you know, there were others just like the man, who lived in the mountains he was trying so hard to reach. They, too, tried to fly after drinking poisoned water. And they, too, fell off cliffs and were eaten by tigers.
In ordinary terms, facts are observably extant and interpret themselves. Poison is poison, cliffs can kill, and tigers eat you. When we start to redefine what is true, we enter fantasy and myth and no longer have a grip on reality. Is it not strange that dangers known as fact for millennia are now called by another name and re-interpreted? As a result people everywhere are harmed.
Those who believe their own untested definitions die, because they ignore what has been known since the beginning of time. Fortunately, the rest of the tribe have more sense, and who stay alive, shake their heads in disbelief as some imbibe poison, fall off the cliff, and get eaten by tigers. They know what happened to the others before them, but they insisted on following the same path of destruction. Full marks for trying… but, when's the funeral?
(A man in Iowa was convinced trucks were really made from jello. To prove it he stood on a bend and waited for a truck to come along. As he stood there he shouted his beliefs to onlookers, who shook their heads, saying "He's nuts". A truck came and mowed him down. Maybe he was a cousin of the tribesman?)
(Note: Each of these 12 articles (A-800 to A-812) were first published in 2006 on a news-article website, now closed down. They were then republished by Yahoo and rediscovered by us by accident.
At the time they were the top-ranked articles on the site, but homosexual activists hacked into the system to reduce their popularity - such is their free speech and tolerance! It is this fascism that proves the weakness and intellectual paucity of their arguments.
© November 2006
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