Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Lessons in Freedom

In the first episode of the second season of Kung Fu, there exists a dialog between a young Kwai Chang Caine and one of his instructors, Master Po which I think teaches an important lesson in freedom and what it means. I think there are a number of people in the Free Software community who are in desperate need of learning this particular lesson.

Master Po: What have you found?

Young Kwai Chang Caine: A spider, master. It has trapped the fly. Should I destroy his web?

Master Po: Why?

Young Kwai Chang Caine: So that it will not make a prison for other living things that were free.

Master Po: Look more closely, grasshopper. Were you to destroy this web, would not the spider, knowing no other way, build another?

Young Kwai Chang Caine: Yes, but I cannot kill the spider.

Master Po: Look more closely still. Is not the spider also trapped by its own web?

Young Kwai Chang Caine: Yes, but if I do nothing, it will capture more living things, make them prisoner, and kill them.

Master Po: You are concerned, then, with the fly to which nature has given wings so that it might move around freely?

Young Kwai Chang Caine: It is cruel to see it made a prisoner.

Master Po: Ha ha ha. Still you do not see. Which is truly the prisoner? The fly, which, moving freely enters unknown danger? Or the spider, which, having spun its web, remains, never knowing the pleasure or the danger of the fly?


adel said...

Well said, thank you.

Winni said...

There is an even more relevant question in this scene that is not discussed: It's the spider's nature to build a web and prey on other creatures. Do you have the right to take away the fly, deprive the spider of its food and doom it to certain death? Who is allowed to make the judgment call whether the fly or the spider has more right to live? Well, just a spontaneous thought.

Jeffrey Stedfast said...

Winni, that is indeed an interesting thought.

Anonymous said...

Well said, thanks

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