Some of you may wonder why the material on this website is given out freely. Many years ago I was told the following fable by a man I regard as a truly great and gifted teacher. It became one of the principles on which I base my work. I have adapted it slightly to incorporate the inner villagers into the story.

The fable of the Two Explorers

 

Once there was a small band explorers who discovered a wonderful new land peopled by a number of  fascinating tribes which they named the "inner villagers". In time they learned the language of the inner villagers and were able to dialogue with them. From this they learned much about the land itself, the habits of the tribes and what went on in each of the local inner villages that made up the territory.

They agreed that it was now their task to help others who visited the land to learn about the territory and its people and to encourage those who wanted to stay to live peacefully with the local tribes and grow in knowledge and understanding of the territory.

Two of the explorers talked at length about this, but they could not agree on the best way to do this. "We know more about this land and these people than anyone else", argued the first explorer. That means we are the best people to set the guidelines and teach everyone what to do and how to do it. And if people donít do it correctly they should not be allowed to stay here, because they could undo so much of the good work we started."

"Well," replied the second explorer, "it would be wonderful if we could do that. But you know what new settlers are like, they all want to be pioneers just as we did when we came here. They will want try out ideas of their own and make their own discoveries. And there are many hundreds of them already moving in and exploring the territory. We can try to set some standards but already I notice that some groups of new settlers are doing things differently and they seem to be getting the same results as the ones who follow our guidelines. Quite a few of them, I confess, seem to be doing better than we have in learning from the inner village people."

Hearing this, the first explorer grew agitated (feeling vulnerable inside of course). "But we were the original explorers, we discovered this land, we developed the guidelines for working with these inner villagers.  If other people take over and start teaching their versions of the rules there will be chaos. And what if they get it wrong? Think of the damage to the people in the inner villages!" 

"I am going to set up an official settler training program.  That must be better than leaving it up to those newcomers to start experimenting and maybe do real damage."

And so thatís what the first explorer did. He also decided to charge rather expensive fees for the course. 

The second explorer gradually became more and more uncomfortable about this and withdrew his support.

"This isnít what explorers like us are meant to do." said the second one." One thing we cannot do any longer is try to set fixed  rules about what other people can and canít do. 

"Whether we like it or not, the other  new settlers are already out there all trying out new ideas for developing the territory and getting to know the local villages. Thatís just the way it is with settlers."

"They may be getting mixed results, but each one of them is learning in the ways that suit her or him best. Less and less of them seem interested in your program. If you set yourself too far apart from the majority, you may even be left behind."

" I think Iíd rather pick out a block of land of my own and become a settler too." said the  second explorer.

Many years later they met again. 

"Itís amazing", said the second one "You know I discovered so many useful skills and information from my neighbours. Some of what I learned from them was brilliant, some was useless, much I had to discover for myself but today we are all successful settlers."

"Whatever we learned we shared freely with everyone and never worried about fees or whether or not our new knowledge fitted in with the old rules. We just used the knowledge as best we could."

"But I learned even more by listening to the inner village people. They are the best teachers of all when it comes to explaining about what goes on in each of their villages."

"I am still running my course." said the first explorer. "It’s hard work but somebody has to keep doing it, even though these days only a handful of people still seem interested.. But I am supported by the knowledge that I am still doing the right thing even if no one else can see it."

"I notice", said the second explorer, that the settlers' course you started with has changed very little over the years. But you know,  the territory as it was when we found it no longer exists. The land and its people have changed so much. New discoveries have added many more options to way we now work".

"Well" replied the first explorer, "I will do things my way and you do them your way and see what happens."

And it's strange, but this was the one point, where they were actually in agreement.

MORAL 1
Skills, knowledge and understanding belong to everyone. They must be shared freely. Those who try too hard to claim ownership over such things lose the power to teach them.

MORAL 2
The best learning is that which allows the student to  make her or his own discoveries and to grow as an individual. The worst learning is that which teaches old rules or fixed rules.

MORAL 3
Be careful of those who claim to be teachers, if all their lessons come from only one book.


Feedback - please e-mail  me John Bligh Nutting -   at   bligh3@growingaware.com


Copyright © John Nutting 1996 - 2010  and   ©   GROWING AWARENESS   All rights reserved World Wide   LAST UPDATE 

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