The United States Army General's Knowledge and the Native American Chief's Wisdom
I hope you enjoy this entry.
This is a story that a college professor told a class I was in that I feel has real depth to its meaning.
The setting is the plains in the Midwest as the United States Government was in the final phases of conquering the Native Americans. A general from the American army and a Native American chief are standing in the middle of the wide-open desert plains. There are mountains off towards the horizon in the west.
The two are having a conversation. The general has been explaining to the chief how much more the western Europeans know than the Native Americans.
Finally, after hearing all the general has to say about the subject and all his reasons for thinking this to be true the chief draws a circle in the sand around them that is about 4 feet in diameter and says, “if this circle represents how much my people know…”
And then he draws another circle far larger surrounding the first circle. The second circle is about 30 feet in diameter, and he continues, “and this circle represents how much your people know…”
And then he simply turns in a circle pointing to the vastness of the horizon and describes the circle of the horizon surrounding them in all directions, as he finishes his thought, “then this circle represents how much your people do not know.”
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