Monday, November 27, 2006

Food for thought...

"Let's suppose that two firemen go into a forest to put out a small fire. Afterward, when they emerge and go over to a stream, the face of one is all smeared with black, while the the other man's face is completely clean. My question is this: Which of the two will wash his face?"

~Paulo Coelho, "The Zahir"

3 comments:

cupcake said...

This is an analogy about love in the novel.

The firefighter with the clean face will wash in the stream because he sees the other's dirty face and assumes his is dirty as well.

Chris said...

I'm not sure I agree. Firefighters are taught to assume as little as possible. In addition, maybe the one doesn't care that his face is dirty--this may be why he hasn't wiped it off yet. Or maybe he thinks it will impress the ladies back at the firehouse. One never knows..

cupcake said...

Haha, you crack me up. In the context of the novel, it makes sense. He just says sometimes we assume certain things about ourselves by reflecting on what we see in others. Neither can actually see his face, each only sees the other man's face. So if you and I were sitting at a stream after fighting a fire, my face is clean and yours is dirty, you would have no need to assume you had a dirty face if you looked at mine as a point of reference. On the other hand, if I looked at you and saw you had a dirty face, I might think mine is dirty too, since we both came from the same place in the forest. I would assume we both need to wash our faces. Think outside the practical box.