Tuesday, 9 March 2010
Refusing to Give
He seemed to be a good clan chief, the people lived in peace and all seemed to be well with little trouble or in-fighting among them.
It was therefore with some surprise that the people heard the news that the chief was going to hand over half of his realm to a younger man. This younger man on his death, if he had proven to be a good chief would inherit the rest of the realm. The decision would be made on the basis of a simple contest.
The person who could come before the chief and teach him how to make a good bowl of porridge would take both the hand of his daughter in marriage and half of his realm. Being a wise chief the daughter would be given say in who was permitted to take part in the contest. The people were surprised, knowing him of old, it seemed out of character.
On the appointed day the first stage of the process was begun. All those who wished to be put forward appeared before the daughter and were either selected to go ahead or were not. At the end of the day there were still some two hundred candidates.
The next day began, each candidate in his allotted time trying to show the chief how to make good porridge. The process continued over a number of days. After all had been given their turn, nobody had managed to teach the chief how to make good porridge, so he continued to reign on his own.
Once power has been gained it is very difficult to give away.
I have noticed artists who have achieved that allusive something in their work and wondered how they managed it. I have asked them, but found many very reluctant to give away their secrets. I asked them, “If I become a student of yours will I learn how to achieve this effect?” The answer has also often been in the negative. “I do not as yet have that included in my course.” or something to that effect.
I have said it before, but say it again, “This is sad.” Because others may in fact be able to assist in making the effect or technique even better, to the advantage of all.
This is the way of the Tao.
The image above was used because it was inspired by that beautiful part of Scotland where one of the worst ever clan battles took place, Glencoe. My thoughts on the painitng and its construction can be read at Large Mixed Media