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Wisdom

04/08/2016

My friend Nathan Rose, a very handy Aussie Rules half back flank and, quite possibly, New Zealand’s foremost expert on equity crowd financing, made a wise comment on Facebook yesterday.

Nathan wrote:

School is not the only way to learn. Work is not the only way to earn.

I’m a wage and salary earner and have been for very nearly all of my professional life so I can’t speak to the second sentence but I wholly endorse the first and that is the inspiration behind this post.

It has never been more possible to acquire knowledge than it is today and to acquire that knowledge beyond the walls of formal educational institutions. The internet is an information superhighway. Wikipedia as a concept, on the face of it, sounds absurd. You mean, anybody can contribute any information on any subject and this is a useful store of information? It’s no wonder, all of us, including The Office, made ready fun of it.

But, while it isn’t a source to be quoted in academic articles, Wikipedia is a useful starting off point to gain background information on any number of subjects. Footnotes at the bottom of entries can give direction for further analysis.

Wikipedia and Google are the means to begin a quest for knowledge. And what knowledge we can readily draw upon. The collective wisdom of thousands of years is at our fingertips.

Another internet boon for information is the company Amazon, on whose kindle I have read numerous books drawing deep upon the inherited wisdom of much of the western canon.  A book I recently read (do bear with me I am getting to the point) was Aesop’s Fables. This is a book which my  father ( I have made prior reference to his well stocked book shelves) read to me as a small child.

Amazingly, and this is an extraordinary reality in our modern age, the book was available for download (and reading on the kindle screen which is much easier than a computer for long periods of time) for FREE.

That’s amazing and I thought, in light of Nathan’s remark, worth reflecting on. Anyway, back to Aesop and his fables.

So, what is a fable?

A fable is a pithy story, in Aesop’s case they typically involve animals, which illustrates an important moral to guide one’s life. Most people, when they think Aesop, think of The Tortoise and the Hare and the important lesson that “slow and steady wins the race” (as indeed a colleague at the Star newspaper did when I mentioned the well known fabulist).

Of course that lesson is worth remembering but I have discovered in reading the fables as an adult that wise Aesop, a slave who lived in Greece between 620 and 564 BC (according to wiki), had much more to offer than The Tortoise and the Hare.

Below, I post one Aesopian fable offering the reader an essential lesson.

The Man and His Two Sweethearts

A MIDDLE-AGED MAN, whose hair had begun to turn gray, courted two women at the same time. One of them was young, and the other well advanced in years. The elder woman, ashamed to be courted by a man younger than herself, made a point, whenever her admirer visited her, to pull out some portion of his black hairs. The younger, on the contrary, not wishing to become the wife of an old man, was equally zealous in removing every gray hair she could find. Thus it came to pass that between them both he very soon found that he had not a hair left on his head.

Those who seek to please everybody please nobody.

Nathan Rose, the gentleman and scholar who inspired this post (I doff my cap to you good sir), is the founder of equity crowd funding agency Assemble Advisory.

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