Thursday, February 05, 2009

Cooking the Golden Goose

The parable of the Goose that Laid the Golden Eggs is familiar to everyone, and the lesson to be learned is simple: don't kill the goose that lays golden eggs. The story is so old in western society, it has become a cliché that is largely ignored.

In our race to modernity, we attempt to cast off such deep cultural stories that no longer support the desires of a society on the move. The lesson of the Goose that Laid the Golden Eggs was critical to societies that lived within their means, did not over consume the resources on which they depended and did not destroy the earth around them with profligate waste. Today, the story is considered a quaint fairy tale suitable only for lulling children to sleep.

We've decided that we can no longer wait for the goose to nurture and lay the golden eggs, one at a time. We must have them all, immediately, with no thought of the cost. Even more, we must invent a Golden Goose machine that pumps out golden eggs as quickly and efficiently as possible. Our only measure of success is how many golden eggs we can toss in a pile. We give no thought to where the gold comes from, how much gold is left, how much energy it takes to run the Golden Goose, and what do we do with all this Golden Goose poop suddenly piling up in our neighborhoods?

We have forgotten the meaning of the parable. Worse, we have chosen to ignore the lesson, pretending that it does not apply to us, as we hurtle through the skies at 37,000 feet in our shiny goosecraft, or pile ourselves lane upon lane in miles of stalled goosemobiles, going nowhere as we cloud the skies and foul the waters with goose poop.

Not only did we kill the Golden Goose, we are slowly cooking it on the rotisserie of our planet, turning up the heat day by day.

In the end the goose is only a goose, a living being of flesh and blood. If we kill it, we die too, as the golden eggs will no longer be laid.

Perhaps the few who live on will find another goose, remember the parable, and allow the goose to live on healthy and free.

A thousand years from now, our descendants, if any, will tell the tale of the Goose that Laid the Golden Eggs, and they will listen and learn.