Saturday, October 23, 2010

What Does It All Mean?

Over the past week or so, I posted three little fables that I claim have a lot to do with survival. And I asked you readers to think about the underlying meaning of these tales. Now I'm going to weave these three stories together into a concept that I believe is critical in a survival situation.

First — Two Wolves: One is evil, the other is good. They are in a constant battle with each other. The question is, "Which one lives?" The answer is, "The one you feed."

The wolves represent what's inside of you — your habits, your patience, your hatred, your forgiveness, your ability to be calm in a crisis, your tendency to fly off the handle, your judgment of other people, your ability to keep your thoughts to yourself, your desire for the limelight, your teamwork, your selfishness, your generosity, your compassion … everything about your personality and character traits. The ones you feed are the ones that will live. And in a survival situation, they are the ones that will rise to the surface in the moment of crisis to either pull you through or condemn you. If you're alone in the wilderness, this can be crucial to your survival; but in a public setting like an urban survival situation, it is even more so. When other survivors are involved, your character traits can either help you or get you killed. Which ones will you feed?

Second — The Man and The Snake: In this tale, the man believes the snake when it promises not to bite him if the man will just save the serpent by picking him up and carrying him to a safer location. In the end, the snake bites the man anyway, much to the surprise of the human rescuer.

The snake represents reality. Rattlesnakes bite; it's what they do. Play with fire, you'll get burned — pick up snakes, you'll get bit. Don't expect a fundamental change of nature when dealing with snakes or people. If you're dealing with a person who has fed the evil wolf (in the first tale), then you must absolutely expect that the characteristics of the evil wolf will rise up in a moment of crisis and bare its fangs. To expect otherwise is foolishness. Oh yes, every once in a while, someone will surprise you by becoming a better person. But most of the time, the nature of the individual takes over. And if you happen to be in the company of the evil wolf, expect to be devoured. Don't pick up a snake, no matter what it promises you. And as we approach mid-term elections, I might add, don't vote for a nice smile and a pack of promises … the snake might be charismatic and promise you the world, but the pack of promises is really a pack of lies. Examine the history and nature of the beast.

Third — The Carpenter: Overcome by self-interest, he takes shortcuts and installs cheap materials to cheat his employer. In reality, he only cheats himself, because the house he builds is the house he will have to live in. There's an old saying, "No matter where you go, there you are." Might sound silly at first, but the reality is that you cannot outrun yourself. No matter what situation you find yourself in, you have to deal with yourself. If you are a poor choice of companion, well, that's tough luck because you cannot get away from yourself. Your character is the house you will live in forever. If you take shortcuts and use cheap components in the building of your character, you will have to live with the consequences. In a survival situation, everything gets ramped up — your best and worst qualities will show up loud and clear. Alone in the woods, you have only yourself to deal with. But in an urban survival setting, other survivors might take steps to rid themselves of those who don't play the game well.

My advice:
  • Engage in deep self-examination to discover which wolf you're feeding. Stop feeding every aspect of the evil one. Don't even throw small scraps to that one. Every time you feed it, it becomes more powerful. Feed only the good one. 
  • Learn to be wise and to use discernment about the type of people you are around. Snakes are snakes. Don't fool yourself into believing otherwise. Don't be a snake yourself, or others will be reluctant to help save you. 
  • Your character is the "house" you will live in. Build the best personal character you can. Don't shortchange yourself, because you're going to have to live inside yourself forever. If you have drafty windows, so to speak, change them. Do it now before the storm comes. 

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