Take Out the Feather


Sometime ago I had a dream that added a curious voice to my logic when I think about the world’s history and today. Let’s make an experiment by taking a trip through time to see if we can learn something for the future.

Suppose, if you will, that we have a gentleman (not that it has to be a male) who lived at what we will call Year 1. We’ll call this gentleman Clive. Now Clive was a modern man, who liked to keep up with what’s trending socially. He didn’t want to be left behind or become uncool. It so happened that what’s popular during Year 1 was wearing hats but not just any plain hat, hats with a feather sticking out of it. Clive, like everyone else, wore feathered hats with enthusiasm.
However, when the New Year turned around, suddenly feathered hats were no longer cool. The feathers had been removed, or they changed color.
I should have mentioned that Clive has one other personality quirk. While he did not want to be uncool in front of his peers, he can’t help but stick to his own guns sometimes and not change at the slightest shift of the wind. A trait his community admired about him. He knew himself. As you can see this is going to cause a bit of a problem for Clive.
Clive decided to keep the feather in his hat. He liked the way he looked.
Now the years went by. Sometimes feathers were back in. Sometimes they were considered taboo. At one point, the government made sure that EVERYBODY was converting to sticking feathers in their hats. Hell, they even went to war over what feathers should go in hats. People continued to argue over what kinds of feathers to wear, how and where on the hat, but it all came down to the same point: wearing feathered hats.
We get to several hundred years since Year 1 to the present (let’s assume that Clive has lived this long for this experiment to work), and old Clive is still walking around with the same hat and the same feather in the same place like always. But much has changed. Some people have moved on completely and gone hat-less. Clive thinks they’re silly for going around with their heads uncovered. Nevertheless, hat-lessness is starting to become trendier, and even the acceptance of hat wearing other than the way Clive does starts to become protected by law.
Clive is outraged. Everything used to be better before all this, Clive thought. It was a much simpler time. Although, Clive forgets that back then people were unhappy, and only hat wearers like him were considered to be the norm. He thought everything would be right if everyone went back to wearing hats the way he did. It’s the best way, he argued. Go back to your roots, he told everybody.
But few did. They liked the new era of freedom and rights that recognized their hat wearing or non-hat wearing ways as their own method of personal fulfillment. Clive was the only one who made a big deal because he never learned that change and amending what has already been established is a good thing.

What can we learn from this story about Clive?

As time goes on from Year 1, things change. It’s natural; it’s life. Life changes and adapts to grow, weed out what’s not working for what is. Clive seemed to have experienced a lot of trouble for arguing his ways without even considering the possibility of updating them to be more inclusive of others. I’m not saying Clive should copy what everyone is doing like he did at the start. I’m saying that Clive didn’t give the time of day to consider his hat wearing was putting others at harm, even though his version of hat wearing claimed to be kind to all no matter what.

All in all, there’s a lot of problems going on today simply because people refuse to consider the damage their doing to others, who hold just as equal value to living as they do. If someone thinks they’re better than another just because of the way they “wear their hat,” and thusly that person should be punished for it or assimilate, then I think something is seriously wrong with their logic. So take out the feather or, at the very least, think about giving others the same chance to live as you do. It’s not very fashionable anymore to put down people when we could be forging a larger community built on helping each other survive and navigate the treacherous waters of life.

If you can’t already tell, “hat wearing” is a metaphor. What could you replace with it and get the same lesson out of Clive’s story?


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