Thursday, December 29, 2022

Sancho Panza

          Sancho Panza


Cervantes, in Don Quixote, part two, chapter LI, tells of a law-case that Sancho Panza was called on to decide. A certain town had a bridge. It was the law that any man who crosses the bridge must state where he is bound and why. If the statement were judged true, then the man is set free; but if it judged false, then he is hanged. How savage!

One day a suicidal anarchist crossed the bridge and declared that he was there to be hanged. This created a legal quandary. If he is hanged then he should have been set free, by the law; but if he is set free, then the law declares that he should have been hanged.

Sancho Panza, faithful squire to the Knight of the Woeful Countenance, was given this case to adjudicate. He realized that he would be wrong either way, so he instructed that the man be set free. In so doing he followed the instructions of his master Don Quixote, for the mad knight gave Sancho Panza this rule: when justice is in doubt, then he is to lean to the side of mercy. Sancho Panza said, “I thank God that I happened to recollect it just now, for it fits this case as if made for it.”

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Alice’s Paradox

          Alice’s Paradox


Which side of the mirror are you on?

Once Chuang Tzu dreamed that he was a butterfly. Upon awakening, he wondered if he were a man dreaming that he was a butterfly, or it he were a butterfly dreaming that he was a man.


Tuesday, December 27, 2022

The Pious Bacteria

          Underfable: The Pious Bacteria


          Once upon a time, two bacteria argued over which one owned the corner of a grain of sand.

          One bacterium said, “God gave me this corner of this grain of sand.”

          The other bacterium said, “No. God gave me this corner of this grain of sand.”

          The first bacterium said, “May God regret your existence.”

          The second bacterium said, “No. May God regret your existence.”

          An angel flying by overheard this dispute. The angel said to God, “Who owns that corner of that grain of sand?”

          And God said, “Bacteria.”

          The angel said, “But they’re both bacteria.”

          And God said, “Good!”

          The angel said, “You praise them, but they do not praise each other.”

          And God said, “I am not them.”


          Moral:  Speak for yourself!


          Comment: I, the ironic author of this fable, practice the same God-puppetry that I ridicule. I was moved to write this by witnessing the spectacle of Middle Eastern politics.