Brothers and Sisters in learning, serve your masters well, for they freely yield their lives and secrets to you. This for nothing more than their wish to become eternal.
Three years with three masters and a fourth year with many masters. That is what Fred pledged himself to. And so he made the leap towards eternal creativity and the chasm was wide. His fingers grasped the palisade on the other side where he hung in pain for forty-eight moons. Yea, there were periods of joy and periods of discouragement. Disciples, there were none; although false ones appeared from time to time.
Creations of iron were the goals set for him by the masters. Competency in enumeration and calculation was required. Recognition and scribing of straightness, angularity and curvature were abilities required. For these skills were the means of communications with other creative beings. Towers of babble were avoided thusly.
The tools of hewing were created from the finest materials. The tools of measurement were created with the greatest of accuracy. The wheels, devices and movements employed in hewing and measuring worked efficiently; not unlike the water-clock.
Woe be unto the apprentice who had no respect for a tool, measuring device or movement. For he shall be blemished of reputation and soul. Failure builds competency quicker than success. And failure is impossible for those who avoid its domain. They will repeat themselves with the empty successes. This is unnecessary; however painful.
The apprentice of steel walks amongst hewers as the prince walks amongst the populace. Too, the apprentice walks amongst creative hewers as the toad walks amongst the heron. Toads are often eaten and disgorged for the heron’s offspring. This ghastly danger is a heron of nepotism.
And it was so that Fred ran through the Forest of Apprenticeship. Alone and yet with others. Days upon days hewing. Night upon night considering lines, curves and perception. Weekend upon weekend reflecting. His thoughts were laced with forbearance, and at times, with immediacy. At other times with fantasy.
Creative Man considers facts and options. Arrogant Man considers hubris. Secret Society Man considers alliances. Nepotist Man considers ancestors. Educated Man considers credentials. Capitulative Man considers safety. Victim Man considers errant decisions. Failing Man considers self-pity.
Why does Creative Man continue to abide in this forest of howling dogs, whispering ghosts, tribalistic excluders, pedagogic failures, pliant pacifists, whimpering wastrels, and disappointing defeatists?
That is the question that Fred thus spoke to himself. Why does one stay in such an environment? Is there real honor in such a forest? The animals and man that live here are not alone. There are men of brilliance and men whose labor outshines that of their counterparts. There are men of stature and men of sloth. There are capable men and incompetent men.
O ye men of industry, where do you lead us? Doest thine personal goals move the wheel forward or backward? Beware of carrying your own flag too high. The flag of those who surround you must also be seen; for you work as one. Many may fail and many do fail. Consider the future if too many fail, for you will fail with them. Keep a watchful eye on the seven sleepwalkers for they multiply, they become zombies of industry, they become the walking wounded.
Weed from your soil those who fail continuously. Allow not their seeds to be propagated. Water those who fail seldom. Allow their weaknesses to solidify into strengths. Set the example for those who fail continuously and those who fail seldom. Set your culture for strength. Avoid the inbred culture of weakness. Avoid those who walk as zombies through the halls in your magnificent cave. Reward those whose ideas are fertile. Punish those who conceive with the sameness of yesterday.
Where doest thou find the fertile man?
From the temples of the learned. From the caves of the failed. From the lost who walk in daylight with a lantern lit. From the proud who cherish their ideas to the death. From the ranks of your own toilers and centurions who love you.
From the temples of the learned gather the strange and the truthful but beware of the self proclaimed; for this is simply gowned arrogance. Educate them, once more; show them the way. Teach them to discriminate between the feathers of birds, the teeth of hounds and the hardness of rocks. Work with them for twelve plus six new moons.
From the caves of the failed gather the gems. Dust from their facets the dirt of the remnants of failure. Apply the wheel of patience until their brilliance blinds you. Mount them conspicuously for all to see. These mystical elements that form rings and amulets have secrets to share. Reward these Phoenix with the light of your best candles for they will reflect it upon all your efforts.
From the ranks of your own toilers and centurions are those who have seen and believe. The upper room has space only for a few disciples; but many wait at the door. These are true believers and therefore can replace the doubting Thomas’ within the ranks of your own disciples. Give them the alcoves of opportunity and they will become acolytes. Give them the tablets of knowledge and they will become creators. Give them the opportunity to fail at leadership and they will become your generals. Fear only the senior members of your own staff for they will attempt nepotism. Inbreeding doth smell of death.
Once you have the correct number of fertile men then beat your drums.
Beat your drum of creativity. Beat the drum of originality. Beat the drum of strength. Beat the drum of capability. Beat the drum of willingness. Beat the drums in unison and drive your enemy to the forest of fear.
The four years passed in which Fred served as apprentice. In that time he saw many wonders and many false creators. He walked with kings and he walked with jesters. He walked with the honorable and he walked with the deceitful. For this was the time for Fred to walk with others. This was the time for others to judge Fred and for Fred to judge himself. It was the opportunity to view the truth of the honorable and falseness of those who could not create.
And he said to all he met, “Animals will act as animals. Man will act as man. And sometimes man will act as animal. The skunk stinks when he is challenged. The rat bites when he is cornered. The snake strikes when he is alarmed. The elephant charges when his territory is entered. The lion roars when he is unsure of his standing. But the eagle soars over all, and continues his hunt. He looks condescendingly at the plight of the animals below. He ignores the ignorant. He avoids the avarice. And his hunt is successful.”
Thus spoke Fred