Philosophy for Sixty Somethings

Famous Russian Farmer

 Here’s a tale that is the closest thing to a philosphy of life that I can come up with. It’s commonsense advice that suggests that we try keep our eyes on the task at hand  without anxiety, blame, judgment or taking events personally.

There was a poor Russian farmer. He had a very poor strip of land to cultivate and only one son to help him, and one horse for the plow.  One day the horse ran away.  All the neighbors came to commiserate with the farmer and deplore his bad luck that he no longer had this horse to work for him.  The farmer sat quietly and said, “how do you know it is bad luck?” The following week the horse cam back with ten wild horses.  The farmers again came to congratulate him on his good luck. And the farmer sat quietly and said, “How do you know it is good luck?” A week later his only son, riding one of the wild horses, was thrown and broke his leg. Now the farmer had no son to help him.  The neighbors came again to commiserate and deplore his bad luck. Again he sat quietly and said, “How do you know it is bad luck?” A week later a war broke out, and the soldiers came and took all the young men away except the farmer’s son who had a broken lege.

We are not here to judge good luck, bad luck, success, failure.  We don’t know what they are.  We are here to do our share, to make our contribution, and to let the chips fall where they may.  If all goes well, fine; it doesn’t go right, let us see what happens.  Let the chips fall where they may; let us not get personally involved in possible success or failure.

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Categories: observations

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