Gather round Addicts, and I’ll tell you a tale. The time is 50,000 years ago (about 44,000 years before Jesus’ dad busted out his toolkit and built the universe). The place is somewhere in Eurasia.
A tribe of early humans have themselves a dilemma. Winter is coming, and they’d like to build some shelter. But they need to build it high enough to avoid being buried by falling snow. This requires moving a large amount of stone up a sizable hill.
Luckily, there are two huge, strong men in the tribe. They can carry stone with the best of them. Some even say they’re the best stone-carriers in the world, although truth be told, this is a ridiculous claim. They carry a decent amount. But the rest of the tribe really loves these guys. They’ve loved them ever since they showed up. Both of them came from the same place, actually. A swamp, a few hundred miles to the South. They showed up one day, and they were very big. The tribe loves big people.
These two guys have a system of stone-carrying they follow that can get enough stone up the hill to build a shelter in three months’ time. This is the way stone has always been moved, and it always takes three months. But winter is in two months. What is the tribe to do?
find out after le jump:
There’s another member of the tribe, named Ug. Ug is smaller and less beloved than the big two, but he thinks he may have a solution to their problem. He has a circular device, a “wheel” as he calls it, that, if used properly, can allow a smaller, more skilled man to move twice as much stone as a larger, stronger one. Ug gives some demonstrations. The power of the wheel is confusing and frightening. The tribe fears change. Ug and his wheel are laughed out of the room, and the big guys are told to follow their system. Sure, it usually takes three months, but maybe for some reason it will take less this time. Or maybe winter will come late. One thing is for sure: the wheel is a crazy, stupid idea. Ug obviously doesn’t know anything about moving stone. Word is he may not even have been on his high school’s stone-moving team.
The next two months pass. The tribe is thrilled with the progress being made by the big guys and their carrying system. It may be very, very slow, but gosh, there’s just something so impressive about watching big guys push and pull hard. Ug is allowed to fill in with his wheel occassionally, but nobody bothers to count how much stone he is moving. It obviously isn’t the answer. If it was, why haven’t people been doing it forever? Ug is a wack-job. He doesn’t make any sense.
Winter arrives, and not enough stone has been moved. Their shelter will not be finished. This is not the big two’s fault, or the fault of their system. People have been doing things this way for thousands of years, it obviously works. For everyone. Something else must’ve gone wrong. Maybe if that guy who does the hunting wouldn’t have hurt his leg? Had he been healthy, they’d have had more meat. That probably would’ve made the big guys work even harder.
Next year, things will be different. They will be prepared for the winter. And it won’t be because of that idiot Ug and his wheel. He left, to find another tribe. This tribe is glad he’s gone. And they’re not curious at all about his wheel. It was obviously a ridiculous idea. They just need to carry better, not try new things.
The tribe huddles in their half-completed shelter and freezes to death, 100% confident in their own rightness.
The lesson in this parable? Wallace Gilberry’s new nickname is The Wheel.