John McCreery (JLM@TWICS.COM)
Wed, 4 Oct 1995 08:32:49 +0900

Tibor Benke writes,

"When I learned what little I know about the subject,
way back in C.K. McClatchy High in Sacramento, CA., I
was told that these fables were generally used to
illustrate single processes sharply, for instance, recall
the story of the "fox and the crow", from where our
expression "sour grapes" derives. John succeeds in
muddying my point by complicating the fable. I could
do the same, by pointing out, that the entrepreneurial
(sp? I can never spell that word - maybe a reflection
of my attitude?) Bear might well find that the rice
paddies breed some plague which wipes out
everyone, Bear, Monkey, Stork, Fox, leaving only frogs
and mosquitoes. But that would only cause an
endlessly escalating cycle of sillyness, until we both
ran out of steam and would have to suddenly stop,
with no one the wiser."

When Tibor writes that "John succeeds in muddying
my point by complicating the fable," his observation is
accurate. That is precisely what I do. But unlike Tibor
I don't conclude that continuing this process would
lead to a "endlessly escalating cycle of sillyness." It
might, in fact, help to illuminate the complexities of
the world in which we live. Tibor himself does a nice
job of this in drawing our attention to the ecological
consequences of the bear's building a rice paddy.

John McCreery