Monday, May 16, 2016

There is a parable I've told many times, over the years, which I think is very useful in understanding some aspects of human behavior.  It is the story of the frog and the scorpion.  The story goes like this:  Mr. Frog and Mr. Scorpion are standing by the edge of the river.  Mr. Scorpion wants to get to the other side, but of course, he cannot swim, so he is unable to cross.  He approaches Mr. Frog, and asks of Mr. Frog "Mr. Frog, might I catch a ride across the river on your back?"  Mr. Frog scoffs at the request, laughing, and stating "Of course not!  As soon as we get to the middle of the river, you will sting me, and we will both sink to the bottom of the river and drown."  Mr. Scorpion answers "Now, Mr. Frog, why would I do that?  I want to get to the other side...it would be dumb of me to sting you, because then I wouldn't be able to accomplish my goal."  Mr. Frog stops for a minute, and thinks.  "Mr. Scorpion, you are right...it would make no sense for you to sting me.  Hop on, and we will make the trip across the river together."  Mr. Scorpion hops on, and Mr. Frog begins the trip across the river.  At the half-way point, as predicted, Mr. Scorpion stings Mr. Frog.  As paralysis begins to set in, and both he and Mr. Scorpion start to drown, he cries out "Why, Mr. Scorpion, why?"  To which Mr. Scorpion replies, simply "It is in my nature."

The point, at least from the way I see it, is that it is our responsibility to know who will sting, and who will not sting.  And, it is our responsibility to avoid those who sting.  There is another saying I like:  Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me.   Complaining about being stung, after you have been shown by life who will sting, probably won't get you much sympathy.  You should know.  And sympathy isn't what you need, probably, in the long run.  Sure, it feels nice, and is validating, but there is no strength in sympathy, and no strength in feeling the victim.  If you have been stung, there is no better response; no stronger rebuke, than shaking off the paralysis, bursting out of the water, and saying "NO MORE!"  Find your strength, find your way forward, and live an awesome life!