Once upon a time, there was a hare and a tortoise. The Hare came upon the tortoise on a daily basis as each had to go to the watering hole for a drink. They began talking to each other and the hare teased the tortoise because he was so slow. Now hares live a very short time, some less than a year, and most not over 20 , but a tortoise can live to a very advanced age up to 70 years or more. In this instance, when the hare confronted the tortoise, the tortoise was wise in years. He knew the character of the hare. The hare knew how to eat, breed, run and hide. The idea of any long term goals was ludicrous. The tortoise needed to think long term because everything was long term! The tortoise proposed a race because a race had a starting line and a finish line, and any race more than a short distance for the hare would be a long term project. Who was better at long term projects?
The other animals in the forest thought more like the tortoise and appreciated that any goals set…having cubs that you watched for 2 years, collecting nuts and storing for winter food, migrating to different pastures during the spring and fall, required time. They assumed that the hare thought this way as well. The tortoise understood that though most long-lived animals understand the concept of a race from point A to point B and required speed to win, he also perceived that the hare had no concept of a finish line. So if the course was measured out and the obvious winner would be the one with the most speed, the hare would be the choice.
If any of the animals had been thinking, wouldn’t they have asked themselves, “If the hare is so much faster than the tortoise, shouldn’t the hare have proposed the race instead of the tortoise? What does this tortoise know that we don’t?” The tortoise had the advantage all along. He knew the character of the hare, and knew that the hare couldn’t keep a goal in mind over any length of time. Sure enough, the hare ran, got bored with running and took a nap. It wasn’t until he woke up and saw the tortoise near the finish line that he remembered he was in a race. “Slow and steady wins the race.” “The race doesn’t go to the swift.” “You don’t bet the hand, you bet the player.”
Pick a moral, any moral. The conflict was not between the hare and the tortoise, it was between the animals and the course. It had nothing to do with how lazy or bragadocious the hare was. There was nothing morally superior about trodding slowly and methodically toward the finish line. The hare was doing what hares do, and the tortoise was doing what tortoises do. It had nothing to do with the speed of the two animals. It had EVERYTHING to do with how each perceived the goal. One concentrated on being faster than his opponent, one concentrated on getting to the goal. It’s like the football player that picks up the ball and runs to the goal line. He doesn’t notice that the opposing players are blocking FOR him until he reaches the end zone and realizes that he just ran 90 yards the wrong way. Yup, he was really fast…