Virtue of the Week: Knowledge

THE SHEPHERD STORY

A shepherd was tending his flock in a field, when a new sports car screeched to a stop on the road nearby in a cloud of dust. The driver, a young man in expensive designer clothes and sunglasses, leans out of the window and shouts over to the shepherd, “If I tell you exactly how many sheep you have here, can I take one?”

The shepherd looks up slowly up at the young man, then looks at his peaceful flock, and calmly answers, “Sure, why not?”

The young man steps out of his car holding a state-of-the-art IPHONE, with which he proceeds to connects to a series of websites, first calling up satellite navigation system to pinpoint his location, then keying in the location to generate an ultra-high resolution picture of the field. After emailing the photo to an image processing facility, the processed data is returned, which he then feeds into an online database, and enters the parameters for a report. Within another few seconds a miniature printer in the car produces a full color report containing several pages of analysis and results. The young man studies the data for a few more seconds and returns to the shepherd.

“You have exactly one-thousand five-hundred and eighty-six sheep, including three rams, and seven-hundred and twenty-two lambs.”

“That’s right,” says the shepherd, mildly impressed. “Well, I guess that means you get to take one of my sheep.”

The young man makes his choice and loads the animal onto the back seat of his car, at which the shepherd says, almost as an afterthought, “Hey there, if I can tell you what your business is, will you give me back my sheep?”

The young man, feeling confident, agrees.

“You’re a consultant,” says the shepherd.

“Wow, that’s right,” says the young man, taken aback, “How did you guess that?”

“No guessing required,” answers the shepherd, “You showed up here even though nobody called you. You took a fee for giving me an answer that already know, to a question I never asked, and you know nothing about my business.

Now give me back my dog.”


The Death of Common Sense
By Lori Borgman

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as knowing when to come in out of the rain; why the early bird gets the worm; life isn’t always fair, and maybe it was my fault. Common sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don’t spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults are in charge not children). His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of an 8 year old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate, teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch, and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition. Common sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children. It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student, but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant. Common sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses, and criminals received better treatment than their victims. Common sense took a beating when you couldn’t defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault. Common sense finally gave up the will to live, after a women failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement. Common sense was preceded in death, by his parents, truth and trust, his wife, discretion, his daughter, responsibility, and his son, reason. He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers: I know my rights, I want my rights, I want it now, and I’m a victim. Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone.