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December 5, 2014 / Michael E Picray

Fables and Fairy Tales

Not long ago I posted a piece where I referred to the book, “Mote In God’s Eye” (Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle) and the concept of the Motie Museum, which functioned as a “reset” of knowledge and technology for when (not if) the Motie civilization destroyed itself. The function of the Museum was so that the Moties didn’t have to start from scratch when (not if) they destroyed their civilization.

Then I said maybe we (humans) need a motie museum.

This AM, while having a discussion with my wife about “fairy tales” and myths and legends, it occurred to me that perhaps we DO have a “Motie Museum” of sorts. Perhaps our “museum” doesn’t just have technology in it. Perhaps it also has sociological and cultural tips and pointers, and yes, warnings, as to the best ways to live and to conduct a healthy successful society?

One of the “fables” that came up was the story of Jason and the Argonauts and the quest for the “Golden Fleece”. She had been reading one of the “Science News” type web sites, and it was mentioned that in one location a stream passed through a gold bearing area, and rather than “panning” for gold as the ’49ers did, the people just laid out a sheep skin with the wool still on, and it caught the gold dust and nuggets. Has anyone in Alaska considered doing something like this? Maybe they have. So the story of Jason and the Argonauts is probably based on actual fact/history.

And the fables and fairy tales that demonstrate that honesty is the best policy, and that right action pays rewards, and hard work is rewarding, and that dishonesty (almost) always catches up with the dishonest and there can be dire repercussions from it… perhaps these are timeless principles for creating and maintaining a healthy civilization with happy prosperous people in them?

And perhaps these principles were more than principles… perhaps they weren’t “stories”. Perhaps they are history lessons that we should learn from because violating the principles found in them leads to destruction?

But I’m thinking that even if true, we must remember that humans are what they are. Or said in a different way, “People’s People.” Despite that truth perhaps someone, many someones, wrote the “stories” back in “the day” in the hope that humanity could rise above it’s nature and improve? And how could they do that without a guide map to a better society, to a better life for we humans?

So… find and read a fairy tale today. See what principles you can glean from it… and ask yourself “Are these principles worthy of being followed?” “Would the world be a better place if we all learned from this story?”

I dunno. And I keep coming back to that “people’s people” thing… which is probably why we need “forgiveness.” Wouldn’t it be better if we didn’t?

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