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Famous "Maybe" parable dials down drama

Updated: Oct 18, 2020

It's almost impossible to tell whether anything that happens is truly "good" or "bad." Only time will tell the whole story. Nonetheless, humans are always in a hurry to classify the positive or negative nature of an event, perhaps so they can infuse the appropriate emotion or manufacture the necessary drama. Maybe they want to feel better about the uncertainty that comes next. The famous "Maybe" parable teaches a lesson about the value of not getting too emotionally attached to life events. Here's the video version and the text is below.

Once upon a time there was an old farmer whose horse ran away. That evening, all of his neighbors came around to talk about it.

They said, "We are so sorry to hear that your horse has run away. This is most unfortunate."

“Maybe,” the farmer replied.

The next morning, the horse returned, bringing three other wild horses. “What a great turn of events. How wonderful!” the neighbors exclaimed.

“Maybe,” replied the old farmer.

The following day, the farmer's son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown off and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune.

“Maybe,” answered the farmer.

The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they rejected him. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out.

“Maybe,” said the farmer.

The morale of the story

Things may seem great when you evaluate an incident, but over time things may sour.

Similarly, something "bad" might occur, but one day you may view the incident as one of the best things that ever happened to you.

Taoists believe that everything in the universe is constantly changing. There's no room for judgement because nothing is forever.

To be able to forget the sorrows of my past and worry not about the uncertainty of the future — to be able to truly live in the present, and see life as not good or bad but just as "is."

Did the "Maybe" parable resonate with you?

Maybe, maybe not. You will see. In any case, the best way to deal with uncertainty is to be okay with it.

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