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A LUCILIUS PARABLE: THE MOVING MIND

November 10th, 2019

 

Lucilius was walking along campus when he overheard several friends in debate.  They were looking up at a tree as it swayed in the wind.

 

“It’s not the tree that’s moving, it’s the wind.”  One of them said.  Lucilius closed his eyes for a moment and enjoyed the feeling of the wind on his face.

 

“Of course the tree is moving,” another said.  “Can’t you see it move?”  Lucilius opened his eyes and watched the full branches sway back and forth against one another.

 

A third tried to help.  “The tree is certainly moving, we can see that, and we can feel the wind, so  can’t we say that both the wind and the tree are moving together?”

 

The group seemed to contemplate this, until a forth spoke up.  “If we weren’t here seeing the tree and feeling the wind, could we say that either are moving?”

 

“That’s like asking if a falling tree makes a sound in the woods if no one is around to hear it.”

 

“I suppose,” the other wondered aloud.  “But what if it was a different kind of absence.  What if this was just a dream?  Would there really be wind or a tree?  What would be left to move?”

 

At that moment Lucilius awoke, opening his eyes, ignorant for a moment as the world around him rushed in.  He laid still breathing in the morning air.  Slowly, his scattered attention began to resolve and he picked up on an image as it moved, coming to life in staggered blips and starts until he caught the flow of his dream and it came to life in his mind.


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