Once upon a time there was a Chinese farmer who lost a horse.

It ran away.

All the neighbors came around that evening and said – “that’s too bad.”

He said – “maybe.”

 

The next day the horse came back and brought seven wild horses with it.

All the neighbors came around and said – “wow, that’s great. Isn’t it?”

And he said – “maybe.”

 

The next day his son was attempting to tame one of these horses and was riding it.

He was thrown off and he broke his leg.

And all the neighbors came around in the evening and said – “well, that’s too bad. Isn’t it?”

And the farmer said – “maybe.”

 

The next day the conscription officers came around looking for people for the army.

And they rejected his son because he had a broken leg.

All the neighbors came around in the evening and said – “well, isn’t that wonderful?”

And he said – “maybe.”

 

The whole process of nature is an integrated process of immense complexity.

And it’s really impossible to tell whether anything that happens in it is good or bad.

Because you never know what the consequences of the misfortune will be.

Or, you never know what the consequences of the good fortune will be.

 

Good Thing? Bad Thing?

I don’t know.

horses

Credit: Centuries of Chinese stories passed on for generations; Alan Watts.

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