Posts Tagged ‘austerity’

The Man Who Lived In A Tub ©

Long, long ago in Old Greece there lived a man. When he was born he was so beautiful. So his parents had to call him a name which was as beautiful as his person. His baby blue eyes ever reminded them of sun-lit skies; his smile, oh how divine it seemed! His parents were already rich and they had everything they could wish for. And a baby so well formed and sweet as he, made their joy complete. Naturally they named him Diogenes, meaning God given, which was a proper thing to do.
But his grandparents who came to see their first grandchild said, “A name such as Diogenes is fine but it does not have a ring such as we are used to.” They were so rich and the proud parents wanted to make them happy. So they added the name of his grandfather too. Then it was the turn of the king who wanted to show his favour. He decreed the child should bear the name of the clan to which he belonged; as a mark of special consideration he was allowed to use his royal name as his middle name which was quite a tongue-twister. So many great personages bearing presents, all belonging to the clan descended on the proud parents. In order to please them the parents added the names they were particular about. In the end the baby had a name like this:
The boy grew to a man’s estate. He thought he did not deserve a name so long as his. It was such a dreadful bore! As boring as his father’s mansion so large he often got lost in its many halls. He took it ill to see his servants behave rudely towards every beggar who came to the door. “I shall not put up with this!’So he got rid of his impossible name. Instead he took on a name as simple as Dio-mio. He practised simple living which made all at his father’s table raise their eyebrows. His father said,”Let him!” He saw in his manly eyes that same baby blue which he first beheld on the day he opened his eyes.
His father still loved his son.
Dio-Mio had only one friend who was also his neighbour. Nike said the name Dio-Mio sounded more like a cat meeowing when he had nothing else to do. He liked his friend so much as to please him. So he changed his name to Dee.
Nike, like his father lived at the table of his father. Dee did not like such luxury as his father who lived so extravagantly. But Nike disagreed. He said,”A dinner wasted is a day wasted.” Dee liked his friend but not enough to live as he did. So one day he left home to live a life of utmost simplicity. He did not tell anyone. Not even his good friend Nike.
People shook their heads and said,”Poor Diogenes! He has gone to the dogs!”He did not think so. He had found himself a tub a commodious one at that. It was large enough for him to stretch himself and it still had room for a small library. By day he could read under the sun. But at night it was difficult. One day his father sought him out. He called on him and asked how things were. He replied,” Fine dada!” He looked around and saw there were still puddles of water in his tub. “Oh son, it rained this morning and you are wet all over!”
“Oh no!”replied Dee with a laugh which rang as pure as a bell,”It was my wash day!” His father was pleased to hear that. “What have you done with your bath towel?”He replied he did not have one. “What is the sun for, dada?” Dee knew how to explain himself,”why waste sunshine which is free? It will dry me just as nicely as any towel.”His father could understand. He said,”I must give you at least something. Well everything I own after my time is yours by law. It is quite a heap boy! “he asked, “What shall I now give you?”
His son said,”Well send me enough oil for my lamp. I would like to read before bed-time.” His aged father agreed. They hugged each other and he left.
At nights Dee would sometimes light his oil lamp and wander around sleepy streets. People looked at each other seeing the strange sight of a not so young man walking about in search of something. Under the light of the oil lamp his shadow struck them as menacing. “He is searching for honest people. We ought not be here.” One said nervously to another. One night he came across a family huddled against a wall and seeing light they crouched still deeper into the shadows. Dee came closer and he was shocked as light from the lamp fell on the face of his old friend, Nike!  “What are you doing here?”
“You have come to see me in my shame!”Nike whimpered. Dee felt sorry for his old friend. He took his friend by the hand and said “Let us go home.”On the way Nike said how he lived at his father’s table and thought life was a round of feasts. “but when your father was gone, so was my hope!” Dee said he also had learnt as he had learnt his lesson. “Living simple means you cannot be of use to others. At least with riches which are my own, by right I can make a difference.”Before he took his friend and his family in he said he should work for his living if he were to be his friend. “You shall look after my estate and you shall dine daily at my table. Agreed?” Nike agreed and did everything to keep their friendship smooth and easy.

Man’s private virtue in some cases  becomes vice when it is set into the framework of the whole community. In market economy if every consumer practiced thrift how will traders survive? So man in casting his lot with rest of his species need to be responsible for others as well. You need to support the aspirations of the whole. Let it be for good rather than for vices that could ultimately destroy you in the bargain.

Diogenes’ parents had to take into account of pleasing so many of those who were men of substance. So the name they arrived at was quite a mouthful. Cluster principle denotes the complexity of keeping a private virtue from being compromised. This principle is behind the inflation theory(*In physical cosmology, cosmic inflation is the idea that the nascent universe passed through a phase of exponential expansion-ref:wikipedia for more). Paradox of thrift also is an example of inversion principle.


Read Full Post »