Thursday, August 11, 2011

Death by a Bazillion Little Lizard Bites

Fairy tales, fables and myths have outlasted almost every other kind of story, and certainly will outlast heavy tomes written by Ph.D.s from Ivy League universities, because they're easy to understand, and make their point simply and clearly. Here's an example:

This is a story with which everyone is familiar, even unto a four-year-old child: a village is menaced by a dragon, so the hero rides out, slays it and saves the village.

True, it's a simple story, but, in different versions, it's the basis of many stories all over the world. Look at the great Japanese film, The Seven Samuri: the village is menaced by bandits, so the villagers hire samuri to slay the attackers. Village, Dragon, Hero. See? Simple!

Now imagine what people would think of this story: the kingdom is under attack by what the inhabitants think is a dragon. None understand the reason the dragon is attacking them is because the king, his advisors and their soldiers have been kicking the dragon for 50 years.

So the king sends his soldiers out to kill the dragon. What they find is not a dragon, but some tiny and not very dangerous lizards. Still, the king uses up his soldiers and the kingdom's wealth chasing the lizards all over the world so they can kill them in order to impose democracy on them.

At the same time, the king and his advisors throw open the borders of the kingdom so tens of millions of lizards can move into the kingdom and eat up the kingdom's wealth, impoverishing the people. The lizards want to kill or expel the people in the kingdom, so they can take over the land, somehow thinking the wealth will still be there even after they've devoured every last scrap of it.

Could not even the youngest of children see though this? Of course they could.

The moral: the real attacks in any kingdom come from the inside, from the king and his advisors, not from the tiny little lizards outside, that everyone has magnified into being a dragon.

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