Philosophy Thread


The Chinese Disc Golfer Proverb

Confucius and his son had a beloved Shryke that helped the family earn a living from ace pots. One day, the Shryke was lost on Scrapyard hole 9 and their cardmates exclaimed, “Your Shryke is gone, what terrible luck!” The frolfer replied, “Maybe so, maybe not. We’ll see”

A few days later, the Shryke was returned to the owner via a warm-hearted lake dweller in ice skates with a long beard, offering a few extra un-inked discs including a Champion Whale and a Star Teebird. Confucius’ cardmates shouted out, “Your Shryke has returned, and now you have several additional discs. What great luck!” He replied “Maybe so, maybe not. We’ll see”

Later that week, Confucius’ son was trying to beat in the Teebird to perfection and he slipped on some loose leaves, falling to the ground, breaking his leg. Confucius’ friends cried “Your son broke his leg, what terrible luck!” He replied “Maybe so, maybe not. We’ll see”

A few weeks later, soldiers from the national army marched through town, recruiting all the able-bodied boys for the army. They did not take Confucius’ son, still recovering from his injury. Friends shouted, “Your boy is spared, what tremendous luck!” To which the frolfer replied, “Maybe so, maybe not. We will see”

The moral of this story is that no solid, unchanging “good” or “bad” can be established. Good and bad are not absolutes. They are beliefs, judgements, ideas based on limited knowledge as well as on the inclinations of our minds. Socrates pointed out that we carry on as though death were the greatest of all calamities - yet, for all we know, it might be the greatest of all blessings. When our idea of good opposes something else, we can be sure that what we call good or bad is not absolute or certain.


Makes me wonder whether the moral of this story is good advice—maybe so, maybe not, we will see.