Humility- A Life Long Journey toward rediscovering a lost art


In the first post on humility- Two Ducks and a Tortoise– I explored my recent humbling experience and also began distinguishing the characteristic that humanity the world over considers a virtue with what Ghandi described as the “arrogant caricature” of humility when the virtue lacks truth, which in its essence is a person acting out humility but lacking the internalizing truth that makes it the virtue it is.

Aesop’s fable begins with the Tortoise who is tired of her home and envisions the ability to travel to foreign lands.  Unable to figure out how to make good on her desire she proposes to Two Ducks that they help her with her quest.  The ducks respond that the best way to travel is by flying through the air.  The Tortoise requests that the Two Ducks take her with them, and so began the journey as the Two Ducks hoisted the Tortoise into the air, each carrying a side of the stick as the Tortoise used its mouth to grab hold of it.  As they flew people on the ground took notice, pointing and shouting at the sight, kids running after the sight of a Tortoise and Two Ducks high above their heads.  The Tortoise seeing the spectacle on the ground mistook herself to be more then she is and exclaimed “I must be a Queen for them to behave as such”  But the thought barely escaped her mouth because as soon as she let go of the stick she came crashing down to the ground and shattered into bits and pieces.

Those who are unable to roam, should stay at home.

Lovely how a simple message is conveyed in stories.  I think the fact is we are far removed from understanding what the fable is trying to convey.  Its like a lost art you see, much like building sailing ships, the art form has been replaced with metal container ships that are behemoths.  But if oil and metal were to disappear from the Earth we would be left with no ability to sail besides the small plastic canoes maybe, because we don’t have the skill set to build the sailing ships of old.  In a similar fashion modernity or post-modernity has left us with an understanding of human nature and virtues that are far removed from virtues that I would call universal, in that they are shared virtues amongst the great religions and civilizations of the world- humility being a foundational virtue.

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