Well, honestly I think it is a lovely parable. And like all parables the lesson it teaches isn't intended to be some super deep universal truth that is always applicable to all situations. I think that's what finally set Fred off on his critique. I will admit I had a somewhat negative reaction to Mark's post given the history of posts here. The parable has a "truth" of sorts it is trying to communicate. And it is a lovely sentiment as others have commented upon already, expanding and looking at some of the subtle meanings of the story. Sure, once you then take that parable and start dissecting it from any number of particular perspectives "it ain't necessarily so" comes to mind. But that doesn't negate the value of the parable. My earlier comment about extremes talks to this sort of thing. Those who are seeing things through a very focused lens (meaning both very clear but also a very constrained view) will immediately see fault in various places. But again, that doesn't negate the value of parable in communicating meaning and ideas.
Sometimes you need to leave some thoughts at the door. As Dr. Goldsbury wrote elsewhere, there is a time and place for everything. There is value in parable as evidenced by many posts here. Or we can become completely engulfed in each of our own monomania and discussion will devolve. Metaphors allow people to make deeper connections in a very rich way. Nietzsche's writings today would likely never be as popular as they are today if he wasn't just so damned quotable. Enjoy metaphor and parable. Let them roll around in your head. Find meaning. And try not to shove them in to square holes.
I like Mark. I frankly agree with much of what he's talking about too in terms of Aikido and ki and what not. But there's a lot more to talk about and sometimes, well, we can really overthink things. And going laser like to the same ideas over and over again can stifle an awful lot of very good discussions.
So... I have enjoyed a number of the discussions. The ideas about what it means to "impose one's will" evolved from the discussion, a very interesting philosophical point. Other interesting ideas evolved out as well. So my sincere suggestion for this forum is to focus on letting these things go sometimes. We don't always have to engage in a complete reduction to fundamental truths but should sometimes let the metaphors fly and see where they go. Lots of good can come from that.
FWIW my brother is an engineer. Love him dearly. But for a very long time it was *very* difficult to have philosophical discussions with him as he would almost always go in to rigid engineer mode almost instantly. So much richness missed. Nowadays as we're both older I've learned to be more relaxed about it and he's found that there's a lot more out there once you start looking up and beyond the details.
Interesting considering the title of the thread is "Talking and listening". Sometimes we need to listen more and talk less. Which I suppose means I should say... Carry on...