Three Wolves

This parable is attributed to Native Americans. Perhaps it is. Here’s the gist of it, reproduced from one among many sources.

One evening, an elderly Cherokee brave told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.

He said “My son, the battle is between two ‘wolves’ inside us all. One is evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

The other is good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.”

The grandson though about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf wins?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one that you feed.”

There is a third wolf. You needn’t feed it. You need only starve the other two.

The third wolf is pragmatic.

It is indifferent, devoid of love or hate.

It is calculating, comparing potential outcomes without regard to tradition or custom.

It is transactional, assessing each relationship and interaction for profit.

It is paradigmatic, eschewing truth and lies for modeling that is sufficiently accurate to predict outcomes.

It has no envy, and so takes what it needs and abandons what it doesn’t without regard to status.

The Injuns didn’t know this wolf. When white men pressed forward into new lands, they weren’t motivated by greed, or arrogance, nor hope or joy. This people chose its own over its competitors.

So, when you accuse a white man of racism, remember, we don’t shame upon being accused of favoring our own.

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