Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The goatpath: compromising compromise

A little bedtime story:
The Himalayas are about as high as a human being can get without getting a nosebleed. At about 10,000 feet, the mountain becomes unfriendly, the rockface earnest only a goat could trust..The earth doesn’t so much punch a hole in the sky with a fist, more a series of blows arc it over its head to protect the peaceloving peoples who live in their shadow. Etched into this Vertical that has forgotten it started out life as a horizontal one paths…the ground is on its side now a profile against a cold blue whisking sky…
..The paths are sometimes twenty or thirty mile contours that offer the only way around the mountain..if you are 1)mad enough 2)a parachutist 3)a goat. Start down one of these trails and Nature will teach you a lesson about God, or maybe it’s God teaching a lesson about nature. To meet another soul on one of these paths without rock-climbing equipment is disaster. The goats know this. They glare at each other. They bristle. Their baby that’s just woken up can become a grown up growl. To pass each other is impossible. One will have to turn back to give way to the other. Struggle will mean a certain end to one of them, maybe both of them, unless…

One lies down and becomes the path for the other.

It’s an extraordinary sight to see a goat do what a human cannot: Compromise.

As its legs bend and kneel the comic little creature lies down with its face pressing the humbling dirt. The e other awkwardly mounts and walks over its potential rival and goes its way…

I have always wondered why the word compromise was so compromised..the suggestion that you had sold out too cheaply your values; trashing your ideals by exposing them to the elements of other competing ones..diluting your strength..appearing weak

We expect little of our politicians and what little we expect is that they would stick to their guns. They shouldn’t. They should put them down and go talk to the enemy.

(Bono..scribbled in the “How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb” book, accompanying deluxe edition of Cd by same name)

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