12.23.2004

The Poisoned Well

This is my favorite story.

I mention it every chance I get, 'cause nothing else seems to explain the times we live in quite so well. It's all about your perspective. You see, we are (thanks to technology, various rationalizations on the nature of objectivity, propaganda, the consolidation of major media outlets, etc.) increasingly able to choose our reality. What was once willful ignorance (ex.: "You read that in the New York times? Then it's bullshit!") is now just another point of view.
Facts are bent, lies are put forth as gospel truth and even minor details are contested to the point that the very nature of 'reality' starts to warp...without wormholes or time machines!
I wonder what will happen when we can actually rewire our brains to alter, accept or reject sensory input? What shape would public debate take when people can instantly turn on their "Chomsky", "Marx" or "Limbaugh" filters while perusing the paper or listening to The State of the Union Address?

I digress.

There are different versions of this tale...but it's pretty short. Enjoy!

The Poisoned Well

There once was a tiny little kingdom of peace and plenty.
One night a jealous foreign agent snuck in and poisoned the well in the town square with a foul potion. Everyone who drank from the well became mad and of course, everyone did drink from it.
Except for the king, who had his own well.
As the days went by, the townsfolk became agitated. They stirred and murmured among themselves about how the king seemed to be acting strangely and talking nonsense.
One day the king's madness became so bad that the people seized him and brought him to the
town square for public examination.
They asked him questions in logic, which he answered with crazy talk!
The king began to fear for his life. However, it was a hot day and naturally the king asked for water.
One of the women drew him a cup from the well.
Soon after, the king started answering his subjects questions with increasing clarity and his
madness diminished until finally he was sane again.
The kingdom rejoiced that their beloved king had recovered!

But it was odd how their crops perished when they fertilized them with salt...

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