Pyrrhus and Cineas – The True Story Behind The Origin Of The ‘Fisherman’s Parable’

Bookmark and Share
Ferdinand Bol, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Ferdinand Bol, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

If you search “Fisherman’s Parable,” you’ll find dozens of sites repeating what is commonly labeled in terms of the parable of the “Mexican” fisherman. In truth, most of these sites merely repeat a variation on a theme akin to the “Sicilian” variation told to me by my grandfather.

These sites tend to declare the original author of this story is “anonymous.” A few of the more honest ones cite a specific source, namely Heinrich Theodor Böll, a German writer who received the 1972 Nobel Prize for Literature.

Böll wrote a short story in 1963 titled “Anekdote zur Senkung der Arbeitsmoral” (“Anecdote Concerning the Lowering of Productivity”). Rather than a Harvard MBA, the interlocutor is a “smartly-dressed enterprising” tourist. Instead of being Sicilian (or Mexican, for that matter), the “shabbily dressed local” fisherman was found resting at an unnamed harbor on the west coast of Europe. The rest of the story, including its ironic conclusion, remains very similar.

Still, we can’t credit Böll with an original philosophical insight. In fact, the original source Continue Reading “Pyrrhus and Cineas – The True Story Behind The Origin Of The ‘Fisherman’s Parable’”

Josh Allen Had His In Tampa, Where Did You Have Yours?

Bookmark and Share

Something happened in the second half of the game in Tampa Bay on Sunday, December 12, 2021. After being outscored 24 to 3 in the first half, Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills battled back by besting the Buccaneers by the identical score of 24 to 3.

Although Tom Brady would bring the Bucs victory in overtime, the second half turnaround marked more than a turning point in a single game, it signaled the start of a mid-season adjustment that sparked the Bills on a winning streak that ended with them standing atop the AFC East for the second year in a row.

So, what exactly happened in that second half? And why is it important for you to know?

It’s called the “Thermopylae Moment.”

OK, nobody calls it that. I just made that up.

But it works.

To fully appreciate the term, you’ll need to go back in history a little bit. And by “a little bit” Continue Reading “Josh Allen Had His In Tampa, Where Did You Have Yours?”

Criminal Hubris: It Gets Them Every TIME

Bookmark and Share

Search for the term “criminal hubris” and chances are you won’t find anything (except, hopefully, this woeful column). We know what a criminal is. We know what hubris is. But there is no definition of “criminal hubris.”

Yet there is, and it’s staring at us right in the face. Metaphorically, it’s all around us. Cinematographically, it resides on the screens we watch. Its roots, however, lie within the body of literature – both philosophical and dramatic – we ought to be most familiar with.

Whether as a metaphor for real-life, a character in a story, or an actual crime, “criminal hubris” is easy to spot (if you’ve got a trained eye), hard to avoid (if you’re arrogant), and, best of all, wonderful to watch (because it hoists offenders with their own petard quite regularly).

Before I reveal the “7 Steps of Criminal Hubris” let’s explore the origins of “hubris” and Continue Reading “Criminal Hubris: It Gets Them Every TIME