Tag Archives: enlightened self-interest

The Parable of the Corn

Sometimes, a Facebook post makes you stop and think. This one certainly spoke to me:

“There was a farmer who grew excellent quality corn. Every year he won the award for the best grown corn. One year a newspaper reporter interviewed him and learned that the farmer shared his seed corn with his neighbors. “How can you afford to share your best seed corn with your neighbors when they are entering corn in competition with yours each year?” the reporter asked.

“Why sir,” said the farmer, “Didn’t you know? The wind picks up pollen from the ripening corn and swirls it from field to field. If my neighbors grow inferior corn, cross-pollination will steadily degrade the quality of my corn. If I am to grow good corn, I must help my neighbors grow good corn.”

So is with our lives… Those who want to live meaningfully and well must help enrich the lives of others, for the value of a life is measured by the lives it touches. And those who choose to be happy must help others find happiness, for the welfare of each is bound up with the welfare of all…

So many of the issues I deal with on this blog–and so many of the subsequent thoughtful conversations among regular readers–revolve around this lesson, this “parable.”

We humans really are all in this together. Ultimately, our individual prospects are bound up with the prospects of those with whom we share our communities, our nation and our planet.

Understanding that, and acting accordingly, used to be called “enlightened self-interest.”