Once there was a man in a forest with a hammer, nails, and 23 pieces of lumber. The forest was thick and it was hard to see through it. So he started hammering some of the lumber onto a nearby tree, and made a ladder. He used up all 23 pieces, and wasn’t very far up the tree, so he climbed down and took out the first rung and climbed back up and nailed it at the top of the ladder. Then he climbed back down and took out the second rung and climbed back up and put that at the top, and so on, and he kept clambering down and up and down and up again until he was about as high as he could go. The view of the whole forest was very satisfying, so he used the lumber to build a tree house up there.

Life was nice for a little while but then the man started to think carefully. He had just picked a tree at random. He could have picked some other tree. Another tree would give him a different view of the forest, one he probably couldn’t even imagine from where he was now. What to do? It was a long way to the ground from where he was. So he started to take apart his tree house, using each board for a ladder rung once again, and worked his way down the tree, down and up and down again, until he was on the ground. Then he picked another tree. And he did the same damn thing. But guess what? He started thinking carefully, and wanted to see the forest from yet another tree, so (you guessed it) he worked his way down that tree, and then picked another tree and went up that one, and then another, etc..

He managed to go up six and a half different trees. Halfway up the seventh, one of the boards he was using, weakened from being hammered through again and again, broke into little pieces and fell to the ground. It wasn’t long before the other boards followed suit. And finally the one he was standing on broke and he fell to the ground and died.

Plato wrote: “The unexamined life is not worth living.”

About Huenemann

Curious about the ways humans use their minds and hearts to distract themselves from the meaninglessness of life.
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