This week’s blog is a parable from Robert Pirsig’s amazing book “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”.
A small Indian village had a monkey infestation problem. They asked for help in designing a humane way to capture and relocate the animals. A villager devised a trap which “consists of a hollowed-out coconut, chained to a stake. The coconut has some rice inside which can be grabbed through a small hole”. The monkey’s hand fits through the hole, but his clenched fist can’t fit back out. “The monkey is suddenly trapped.” But not by anything physical. He’s trapped by an idea, unable to see that a principle that served him well – “when you see rice, hold on tight!” – has become lethal.
The lesson is to always be prepared to adjust your perspective. We are so rigidly attached to certain ideas and atittudes that we can’t let go even when those ideas and attitudes no longer serve us well.
“The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones”. —John Maynard Keynes
Sometimes you just have to let go.