Thursday, May 12, 2005

Who's to say?

"A poor farmer's horse ran off into the country of the barbarians. All his neighbors offered their condolences, but his father said, "How do you know that this isn't good fortune?" After a few months the horse returned with a barbarian horse of excellent stock. All his neighbors offered their congratulations, but his father said, "How do you know that this isn't a disaster?" The two horses bred, and the family became rich in fine horses. The farmer's son spent much of his time riding them; one day he fell off and broke his hipbone. All his neighbors offered the farmer their condolences, but his father said, "How do you know that this isn't good fortune?" Another year passed, and the barbarians invaded the frontier. All the able-bodied youg men were conscripted, and nine-tenths of them died in the war. Thus good fortune can be disaster and vice versa. Who can tell how events will be transformed?"

from the Notes to Stephen Mitchell's translation of the Tao te Ching

1 comment:

erin said...

This reminds me of an old Testament scripture passage: (Ecc. 7:13-15)

"13 Consider what God has done: Who can straighten what he has made crooked?
14 When times are good, be happy;
but when times are bad, consider:
God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, a man cannot discover anything about his future.
15 In this meaningless life of mine I have seen both of these:
a righteous man perishing in his righteousness, and a wicked man living long in his wickedness."

Ecclesiastes, as a whole, is my favorite old Testament book to read/meditate on. It's very humbling.