Monday, April 2, 2012

Risk & Learning

Fabled parable about Desert Pete.  He goes for a hike in the desert on an unfamiliar trail.  He gets lost and tries to find his way, but can't.  Late in the day, and dying from thirst, he comes upon a water well.  The pump has a note on it.  The notes says, "This well does have water.  But you first must dig up a water bottle buried near the pump.  Once you dig it up, don't drink it.  Even though you are thirsty, you need the water to prime the pump. It won't work otherwise.  Poor 1/4 of the bottle onto the pump washer and wait a few seconds, then poor the rest into the pump to prime it.  Then pump the handle vigorously until the water flows.  Don't worry, this well has never run dry.  Once you have your fill, fill your canteen and the bottle, and bury the bottle for the next person." Desert Pete digs and finds the water bottle, but what does he do next?

What would you do?  Drink the bottle or follow instructions?  When we search, we never have all the evidence or confirmation we would want or need.  Just enough clues to make a decision.  Too key factors in Find & Learn: find as much evidence you can and make sure it is reliable.  No reason to question the note at the pump, given the circumstances.  Logically, it all makes sense.  We would have to risk taking action and assuming that is was not a cruel joke.  Isn't it the same thing in searching?  There are no guarantees that we have the correct facts, especially for topics we are unfamiliar with.  But we have to have faith in our path.  We have to take the risk, gather reliable evidence, and then make our decision.

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