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The Wise Humming Bird
Mid Week Musings #298
The Wise Hummingbird
A wise old hummingbird comes upon a young hummingbird lying on her back, the soles of her feet facing the sky.
“What are you doing with your feet in the air?” asks the old hummingbird.
The young one replies, “I heard the sky is going to fall today.”
The older hummingbird scratches his head.
“Do you think one small bird with spindly legs can keep the sky from falling?”
“I could use some help,” says the young one.
The wise hummingbird shrugs, lies next to her, and points the soles of his feet to the sky, too.
They pass the time laughing and joking until an enormous, cranky elephant interrupts to tell them they’re wasting their time.
The two new friends pay no attention.
Another hummingbird shows up and joins the first two. Then a fourth appears, and a fifth, and a sixth, until soon there’s a long line of spindly-legged hummingbirds with the soles of their tiny feet facing the sky, laughing, singing, and telling stories.
As night falls, the elephant returns.
“See, nothing happened. This was all a waste of time.”
But the first bird has a different perspective.
“It worked,” she cries, jumping up and brushing herself off.
Their goal achieved the newly formed team of hummingbirds declares the day a remarkable success. In groups of twos and threes, they fly back to their nests and make plans to have dinner, get some sleep, and meet up tomorrow to save the world again.
We can all fall for the “cause and effect fallacy” or “false attribution fallacy” where a random action is given credit for a specific effect. There’s a wealth of psychological experiments exploring this.
We create beliefs based on cause-and-effect reasoning.
It is worth reflecting on some of the beliefs and habits we have which either serve no purpose for us in our lives now or which are not the actual causes of the effects we see.
There’s another point in this story, however.
The hummingbirds who shared the task of keeping the sky aloft shared a purpose.
They became a community.
So, we can also question how the power of belief creates communities with a shared focus. We have seen both the creative and destructive results of such faith-based groups.
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