The Parable of the Ark

(For those who love both sense and sharks)

Fourteen creatures lived aboard the Ark – a three hundred foot watercraft rocked by ocean waves. There were two Eagles, two Hyenas, two Zebras, four Horses, and four Deer. The nearest vessel floated at least five miles out in any direction, and none of them had seen dry land in years. As such, those aboard established a society, elected the male Eagle their captain, and became sustainable by making contact with neighboring vessels for trade. The inhabitants were indeed a colorful lot with varying points of origin before they boarded the Ark, but they aimed to create a prosperous, unified community.

It happened that a division arose when the Hyenas manipulated and abused the Horses in order to increase their social standing. The Captain should have stopped the abuse, but because he felt intimidated and was a little corrupt himself, he did not, and the Horses never forgot this. Despite their blatant cruelty, the Hyenas were able to sow seeds of mistrust in minds of the Ark’s other inhabitants, and the Horses were treated with misgiving even by those not directly involved in the nasty affair, especially the Deer. Further increasing the tension, fights would occasionally break out between the Horses and their shipmates, for the group was edgy. This continued even after the Hyenas ventured too far from the Ark late one evening and were devoured by sharks, who toyed with them prior to finishing them off.

In time, the now twelve inhabitants elected the male Zebra their captain and were hopeful that, in the absence of the Hyenas, the divisions would dissolve, and their community would thrive. But the seeds of mistrust had not been rooted out, and discord still ruled the Ark.

One day, a fight erupted between a couple of the Horses and Deer. In the fray, the hull of the Ark was damaged. The craft began taking on water, and the new Captain reasoned that it was time to stop fighting, locate supplies to repair the damage, and make amends to avoid such damage in the future.

The damage was not their problem. They had not caused it.

Throughout their time aboard the Ark, John Deer and Jane Doe had prided themselves on remaining neutral – though they would often complain about the problems aboard and the new Captain’s leadership. As the Ark sank lower in the water, they declared that the damage was not their problem. They had not caused it. The predicament was not their fault, and the Horses should simply get over their grievances. Others who claimed neutrality began complaining as well – sometimes blaming the Horses, sometimes blaming the Deer, sometimes blaming the Captain or the former Captain, and the resulting cacophony was so loud, no one could hear the Captain insist that they must work together to repair the Ark and their relationships or be lost to the waves.

They were still complaining and passing blame to each other when the Ark sank, the water temperature plummeted, and the sharks came to the feast.

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