Fanaticism and the parable of the dog’s tail 

your say February 07, 2019 01:00

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The following is taken from the parables of Swami Vivekananda. I have contributor Ye Olde Theologian to thank for reminding me of this wonderful parable, which I first read some 54 years ago.



“This world is like a dog’s curly tail, and people have been striving to straighten it out for hundreds of years; but when they let it go, it has curled up again. How could it be otherwise?

“One must first know how to work without attachment, then one will not be a fanatic. When we know that this world is like a dog’s curly tail and will never get straightened, we shall not become fanatics. It is a mistake to think that fanaticism can make for the progress of mankind. On the contrary, it is a retarding element creating hatred and anger, and causing people to fight each other, and making them unsympathetic.”

Apologies to Ms Moxham if my letter (Humans are natural-born killers – deal with it, February 4) was puzzling. And the same to Mr Bahrt if he wishes to condemn me; in light of the above it is understandable. However, to paraphrase Will Rogers, I have never met a man who has not suffered injustice.

And to Ye Olde Theologian, Gautama Buddha was above all a realist. I confess to being incapable of counting all the beings I have snuffed out over the years and can not put into words the weight it places upon my heart, yet beyond that pain lies the open bright field of Being itself; of this I am unqualifiedly certain. 

We can not perfect ourselves by straightening our own tail. Rather it is through self-transcendence that we realise happiness.

Michael Setter

Bang Saray