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The Parable of Tickleberry Town

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by KenBrace, Jun 2, 2015.

  1. KenBrace Bird Administrator

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    The Parable of Tickleberry Town
    By KenBrace

    A long time ago there was a village called Tickleberry Town that was located on a remote island out in ocean. It was a fairly large town with thousands of busy people. These people didn’t always get along. They often fought and argued. Most of the time they would eventually come to agree on matters, but there was one particular dispute that this village just could not settle. Generations of people continued to debate this issue. Most of them roughly agreed but they had problems with the details. What was this topic? It was the construction of houses. They never could agree on a single plan for building a house. Some people thought houses were best built in the shape of a square and that every corner should be sharp. Other people saw no reason to keep the corners sharp. They viewed it as ugly and simplistic. They thought it best to round the edges and add designs. This way an artistic dimension was added to the architecture. Those other folks considered this a waste of time. Still others thought the entire idea of a square house was ridiculous. They built their houses in a dome shape. Square houses were more likely to be destroyed by a violent wind. If houses were built in the shape of a dome then winds could easily pass over without blowing anything down. But even within this group there were disagreements. Some thought houses should be built like long ovals so that the entire family could live in one space. Others disagreed and said that separate houses should be built in a circle so that the family is together, but the houses themselves are separate. And so you get a picture of this society. Many opinions. Many ideas. They simply couldn’t agree on which design to use. Some members of this society even claimed that divine revelation had delivered their code of architecture. But that caused even more confusion because many people made this claim and they pretty much all disagreed. Oh my, things were a mess. What to do?

    Over the years this arguing caused more and more separation between groups. They spread out and claimed their own areas of the island on which they all lived. The children in each group were taught that their own method for house building was superior to that of the other groups. They were told that long ago one of the great members of their village was visited by a god who told him the perfect way to build a house. They explained that there was only one true revelation and that the other villages were using defective designs that were merely a perverted version of their own. Only their village had preserved the original design handed down from the gods. So each village when on believing that the other had “borrowed” their own design and had twisted it into something that was no longer perfect.

    One day a boy named Jered thought hard about this issue. He wasn’t so sure if what he had been taught about “perfect architecture” was correct. He wondered if perhaps one of the other tribes were right. Or it might be that there is a better design than all of them. He asked his Aunt Jemi about this. Aunt Jemi looked disappointed, “You doubt the divine revelation of our great ancestor? How do you think we should create houses? By a plan of your own?”

    Jered replied, “Well, not by myself alone but perhaps the leaders from each tribe could meet together and discuss the issue.”

    Aunt Jemi shook her head, “But if we leave the job of engineering to mere men then who is to say which person is right? If the gods are no longer involved then every man will build what he thinks is right. We have no measure of standard without the divine revelation that our ancestor received.”

    Jered thought for a second and spoke up, “Well we would simply need to test each idea and see which one works best. We could use mathematics to find out which way is the most efficient and we could test the endurance of each design to find out which one lasts the longest. Plus, there are elderly construction workers in each village. I’m sure they’ve seen which methods work best after all those years of work. And besides, there isn’t one ‘perfect’ design. Some people prefer beauty over strength and certain designs work differently based on the conditions. By the sea shore it would be best to have a house that can endure the crash of waves. Up in the highlands you need a house that can keep tigers and other wild animals out. So there isn’t just one ‘perfect’ design. We should all do our best to find out which design works the best for the areas in which we live. What do you think Auntie?”

    Aunt Jemi had never really thought about it this way before. But she still wasn’t’ convinced that this little boy was correct. “But my dearest Jered, what is to determine ‘best’? By what standard do we measure?”

    “We find out what makes our village the happiest. That’s what determines the ‘best’ design. Isn’t that the point of creating good designs to start with? To make ourselves happy?” came Jered’s reply.

    “But…” Aunt Jemi continued, “There are some workers that do not care about what makes the village the happiest. They only care about themselves and making their work easier. Without the divine revelation given to use by our ancestor we have no grounds by which to judge them. They are making themselves happy. Doesn’t that conform to your plan? If they are making themselves happy then aren’t they right in what they are doing?”

    Jered thought about this. “Yes, I’ve seen people like that before. They’re the type of people that steal from you and do not care if your loved one has died. They are very selfish. But there will be selfish people like this regardless of where we get our building designs. Most of us want to make ourselves and the villagers around us happier. So why should we let people like that stop us? We know that their lazy building plans only hurt our society. It’s unfortunate that people like this live in our village but it’s something we simply have to live with. Some people are parasites and that is a fact of life. How exactly does this fact stop us from getting together and figuring out which building plans work best?”

    Aunt Jemi responded, “Because who are we to say that our plans are better than theirs if there is no divine revelation to back us up?”

    Jered looked up at the ceiling and then back at his Aunt, “Because we can prove that our plans work better by testing them. The point of designing good buildings is to create a happier village. If our designs make people happier, then our designs are better since that is the point of using good designs in the first place. What do you think?”
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2015
  2. patriciakay Fish

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    I always regarded happiness as one of the lesser states of being. It is something we can strive for, but not maintain. And then, if it is an expected state of being, losing it is devastating.
    KenBrace likes this.
  3. KenBrace Bird Administrator

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    Well the parable was more or less about ethics and morality rather than happiness. Good point though.
    patriciakay likes this.

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