Thank you for reading! Please note that children do visit this site, and moderate your language in comments accordingly.

23 Comments

C10P54 – Message for You

July 28, 2014

Tricks and machinations from our rogue knowledge god. Cunning, but to what end? I’d say, but it would ruin the surprise. :)

On matters of cunning and charming fellows, Cory and I have recently started playing what we call “The Garak Game” with a book of Aesop’s Fables.

For those of you unfamiliar with Star Trek, Deep Space Nine, and the character of Elim Garak, I’ll provide a touch of context. Garak is from a race called Cardassians. Cardassians, in general, are a people that value loyalty to the state, military might, perception of justice above actual truth, and perhaps above all, cunning. By and large they are a prideful people with an intense sense of superiority towards other cultures and species. Garak is a banished member of the Obsidian Order, a shadow intelligence organization greatly feared. And he has a very unique perspective compared to the Federation folks on the station.

The Garak Game comes from an episode where Garak is told the Earth fable of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf,” in an attempt to convince him that he should try, for once, to give a straight and truthful answer. Garak, however, gets a very different moral from the tale — “Never tell the same lie twice.”

So the game is to read an Aesop fable and then try to think up ways that Garak might interpret it differently than its traditional moral. If the moral turns out the same, to look for yet another angle to view the message of the story. It’s a great exercise in twisting perspectives to look at something familiar and find something new. Want to give it a try? How about this one, chosen at random from my book:

The Lion, the Bear, and the Fox

A Lion and a Bear seized a Kid at the same moment, and fought fiercely for its possession. When they had fearfully lacerated each other and were faint from the long combat, they lay down exhausted with fatigue. A Fox, who had gone round them at a distance several times, saw them both stretched on the ground with the Kid lying untouched in the middle. He ran in between them, and seizing the Kid scampered off as fast as he could. The Lion and the Bear saw him, but not being able to get up, said, “Woe be to us, that we should have fought and belabored ourselves only to serve the turn of a Fox.”

The traditional moral is: It sometimes happens that one man has all the toil, and another all the profit.

What would Garak say? Or, perhaps, a character from one of your own stories? Or simply you, from a different perspective? Or, if you have a favorite fable yourself, share it, and see if you can find a new message in the tale!

23 Comments

Be up for sharing even if it’s with your worst enemy. You never know what sort of benefits could be reaped.


I suspect Garak’s take would be “be the fox”.

My take is “pick your battles for absoluteness carefully, strive to compromise in the bulk of situations. When you’re divided with another person, a third may take advantage of you both.”


I like the phrasing on that last line in particular. And the emphasis on compromise within conflict is one that you don’t see much. I’d love to explore a cultural mind-set that viewed most conflict as a way to create compromise, rather than to conquer.


I’d really love to see a culture like that too! Coming from the culture I’m in, it seems like a version of the prisoner’s dilemma to approach problems in that way; if everyone focused on conflict as an opportunity for compromise, I think as a group we’d benefit a lot. But, a large enough portion of defectors would be able to take advantage of the group.

I suspect additional cultural norms around fair compromises could help alleviate that problem; I just don’t have those cultural norms to work from, so they aren’t obvious to me.


Ultimate moral: whoever was watching the flock should have paid better attention to their animals.


Haha! Ah, seeing beyond the inner working of the tale to the big picture problem. You’re right, if the person managing the flock was doing a better job, the entire situation would have been avoided. I like how you think!


Wouldn’t Zhiro recognize his own handwriting? Or does Dream Eater have handwriting that’s distinct from that of whoever’s he’s possessing?


When Dream Eater is wandering around in Zhiro’s body, the body moves differently, walks differently, talks differently. It also writes a little differently…and he’s a trickster god. Forgery is among his many skills. :)


Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>