A friend sent me a wonderful piece called “Catching Wild Pigs”. For those of you who have never heard this parable, I'd like to share it with you.

"A chemistry professor at a large college had some exchange students in the class. One day while the class was in the lab the Professor noticed one young exchange student kept stretching as if his back hurt. The professor asked the young man what was the matter.

"The student explained that he had been shot in the back while fighting communists in his native country who were trying to overthrow his country’s government and install a new communist government. The doctors suggested that because of the bullet's location removing it might lead to paralyzation. So he has learned to deal with the pain.

"In the midst of his story, the student looked at the professor and asked a strange question. He asked, ‘Do you know how to catch wild pigs?’

"The professor thought it was a joke and asked for the punch line. The young man said this was no joke.

"You catch wild pigs by finding a suitable place in the woods and putting corn on the ground. The pigs find it and begin to come every day to eat the free corn. When they are accustom to coming every day, you put a fence down one side of the place where they are used to coming. When they become familiar with the fence, they begin to eat the corn again and you put up another side of the fence. They get accustomed to that side of the fence and start to eat again.

"Soon they go back to eating the free corn. They are so used to it that they have forgotten how to forage in the woods for themselves, so they accept their captivity.

"You continue until you have all four sides of the fence up, however with a gate in this last side. The pigs learn to come through the gate to eat the free corn, until one day when the fenced area is full of pigs; you slam the gate on them and catch the entire herd of pigs. Suddenly the wild pigs have lost their freedom. They run around and around inside the fence, but they are unable to escape the confines of the fenced area.

"The young man then told the professor that is exactly what he sees happening in the world. The governments keep spreading the free corn out in the form of programs that far too many believe to be good for society. While we continually lose our freedoms — just a little at a time.   

The Spark of Life

I found the parable extremely fascinating. We must guard carefully not to fall into the trap of being so dependent on a government that we lose our sense of responsibility for our lives and even worse, the very spark of life. 

This also brings me to the recognition that we are caught in a rather interesting dilemma.  While I understand the “trapping” of the wild pigs and the problems that it presents, we are also experiencing what happens when you let pigs (government and special interest) run wild and the effects it has on our society overall. So the real question, and I believe the true answer lies in finding the right balance. 

The trouble we have in our political systems are that we keep running back and forth between taming the wild pigs and letting them run wild.  Wildness is good for creativity, entrepreneurialism, and the like.  You want the free flow of energy to stimulate new innovation.  And yet when you have an unbounded flow of energy you have chaos, which then has to correct itself.  As we learn to work with the powerful flow of societal energies, I believe we can learn to modulate the unbounded flow of energy while not reaching the point of constraining it to where we are limiting its flow. 

What is needed is a government of and for the people. One that understands the need for balance and stops the rhetoric of polar opposite — making one side wrong and the other right. Is it time for us to have true leadership in government and in our companies. Leadership that can connect deeply with the soul of the entity, both the country or the companies and guide the energy that flows from there in a balanced way so that we are each contributing effectively to our society and our planet?

One should always remember two truths: There is no such thing as a free lunch, and you can never hire someone to provide a service for you cheaper than you can do it yourself.

Quote for today

"The only way a democratic system works is if people can vote freely and do so with their own interest at heart. If one party is systemically and disproportionately kept from voting or voters are led to believe lies told by the government, then the whole system of government we live under is undermined."