The parable of the equitable, rational bridegroom and the arbitrary, superstitious bridegroom

There were two similar villages, and in each village lived a young man who was of marriageable age, and in each village there were a dozen equally suitable potential brides for this young man.

In the first village, the bridegroom was rational, and didn’t want to commit to any girl so long as there were equally suitable girls. So he was involved with each of the dozen women, but he could only give each woman 8.33% of his attention, so no successful marriage resulted with any of these women, and furthermore all of their reputations were ruined; no man believed that any of these dozen could still be a virgin after having been involved with a potential suitor.

In the second village, the bridegroom was initially befuddled by the prospect of a dozen equally suitable girls. After a short period of confusion he resorted to his village’s ancient superstition of haruspicy, that is, divination-by-examination-of-entrails.

The rationalists hated him for his superstition. The prosperous villagers sneered at him for getting involved in entrails (which were normally left for the most impoverished villagers). His bride was shocked that he did not even pretend to love her romantically, but rather resorted to haruspicy rather than make up his mind about which of the dozen girls was best. His parents were upset because he had drawn negative attention to himself.

However, this young man seized the moment and successfully married just one woman. This young husband was able to devote 100% of his attention to his young wife. His marriage was not paradise – they did not actually love each other romantically, but as the years went by, they grew accustomed to each other and became unwilling to live apart from each other. That is to say, their marriage did not inspire anyone, but it was about as successful as it possibly could have been.

Moral: Even if you commit 100% of your attention and achieve your goal, your success won’t be as inspiring as a heroic saga; however, if you never commit 100% of your attention, your failure will be epic.

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1 Response to The parable of the equitable, rational bridegroom and the arbitrary, superstitious bridegroom

  1. Bob Wallace says:

    One of the first things they told me in journalism class in college is “Show, don’t tell.”Tell stories, People are made to understand stories.

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