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The Tinkered Mind
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September 2nd, 2018
An old Lucilius sits beneath a grand tree in his garden, remembering when he planted the small seed. An attendant to the old teacher brings in a visitor through the garden to the old teacher.
“Lucilius,” says the attendant, “this one has travelled from very far to ask you a question.”
Lucilius kindly nods and the visitor approaches, while the attendant retires to another part of the garden to pick herbs for the night’s meal.
The attendant listens to the visitor speak to Lucilius and ask their question. A silence follows. A silence the attendant has known well during his time in the garden, a silence where he feels he can hear the old teacher think. But the silence draws longer, and the attendant hears the visitor, confused, ask another question. The same silence follows, but it does not end, until the visitor, frustrated, asks Lucilius yet another question.
Lucilius’ attendant turns to see the old teacher staring off, paying no mind to the visitor, and worries if the teacher has finally begun to descend into the difficulties of life’s end.
The visitor asks another question but soon leaves, frustrated.
The attendant watches after the visitor, then, as he approaches the teacher, he sees the same clear focus in the old man’s eyes and knows the man is still as much as he’s ever been.
“You have answered so many questions for people who have sought out your counsel. Why did you not answer this young girl’s questions?”
Lucilius smiles, looks to his good friend.
“How rarely do I give an answer that is not simply another question? I listened to her questions and it was clear from her questions that she does not need answers. Her questions are already moving in good directions.”