THE GENEALOGY OF HUMAN NATURE
Mulla Nasrudin had applied for a post on a ship. He was interviewed, the same way we are tested in the modern world before we can begin a new job. The captain and the high officials of the ship were sitting in a room, an executive office. Mulla entered. The captain asked, “If the seas are in a turmoil, winds are strong, waves are huge and mountainous, what are you going to do to save the ship? It is tossed from here to there….”
Mulla Nasrudin said, “It is not much of a problem: I will just drop a huge anchor to keep the ship stable against the winds, against the waves. It is not much of a problem.” The captain again said, “Suppose another mountainous wave comes and the ship is going to be drowned; what are you going to do?” He said, “Nothing — another huge anchor.”
The captain looked at him and asked a third time, “Suppose it is a great typhoon and it is impossible to save the ship. What are you going to do?” He said, “Nothing, the same — a huge anchor.” The captain said, “From where are you getting these huge anchors?” He said, “From the same place. From where are you getting these great, mountainous waves, strong winds? — from the same place. You go on getting them, I will go on getting bigger and bigger anchors.”
This joke is important in that it provides the opportunity to see the futility of conditioned knowledge. This is the type of knowledge that does not test one based on actual experience or intelligence. In most interviews I have attended myself I have seen that the interviewers are too concerned with the material; one’s natural intelligence or leadership skills is given little regard since this is a world where what people can see or hear matters the most. Today one may not know with certainty what they would do for their company in the case of a financial crisis but owing to their innate intelligence—which may not be visible in a thirty minutes interview—but they might as well be in possession of the genius that will bring about historical progress for the company. During the financial crisis of 2008 there are many huge companies that came tumbling despite having the best executives. This began when some of the billions of dollars worth of securities held by great companies such as Merril Lynch that were all backed by subprime mortgages made to a population of Americans who, in all likelihood, would never be able to pay those loans back. The reckless behavior this implied was just incredible.
Therefore, the Mulla in the story above seeks to show the uncertainty of things and how human stupidity makes situations worse by attempting to solve economic problems with the same greed that caused them. The owner of the ship cared less about the safety of the ship-workers and was instead obsessed with securing his cargo in the event of a storm, the same way the modern corporations care more for profits than the mental health and prosperity of their workers. The spiritual essence of the human being has been reduced to nought. A good example is those men who ferried slaves from Africa to Americas—these men only cared about the impending profiteering from their barbarous acts. In a way, the modern man hasn’t really changed much, the same instinct subtly runs in his DNA.