You start out on a journey along a beautiful
path. You see animals and insects, large green trees, a clear creek glistening
in the sunlight, and colorful insects pollinating beautiful flowers. Your
feet gently rest upon warm soil. You breathe clean air and look up at
a vast blue sky filled with flying birds. You pluck fruit off of long
hanging branches along the path. You swim and wash yourself in an ever-widening
clear creek filled with fish. You see calm ponds filled with beautiful
lotus flowers. The path has its dangers. The dangers can be overcome and
avoided if you follow the directions you were given when you
started on the journey.
As you travel on the path, you begin to notice changes. You see fewer
animals and insects. The creek is murky and narrow with less aquatic life
in it. The large fruit-laden trees begin to give way to dead flowerless
brush filled with thickets of sharp weeds. You do not see many flower-laden
ponds. You begin to tire frequently, and take shorter breaths. In contrast
to the landmarks and signs you saw when you started out on the journey,
you now see an increasing number of man-made signs pointing in directions
that are not in the original traveler’s manual.
Self-appointed guides insist that you follow
their directions. Travelers constantly squabble and many divide themselves
into different groups. Each group claims that its way is the best way
and if you do not join them you will be lost. Groups carve out their own
paths away from the main path, write their own guidebooks, and outline
steps to take in order to walk on their paths. The changes have been evident
for a long time but you did not initially realize what has taken place.
Travelers follow each other’s opinions instead of heeding the original
directions provided by The Guide.
Cont’d on page 2