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The Parable of the High Rise…

The parable of the high rise:

There once was a high rise. It had crappy apartments on the bottom, respectable living toward the middle, ritzy condos toward the top, and like many, a penthouse on the roof.

A fire started. Some claimed it started at the bottom and some claimed it started at the top. Certainly it was burning brightest near the top, but all the floors were becoming engulfed and everyone agreed that something must be done.

The people in charge of the fire hoses and the water came from the penthouse. First they tried to put the fire out by shooting all the water at the penthouse and top floors. That seemed to put the major bit out, but still the fire was burning, particularly now in the middle and bottom floors.

So in desperation they shot a good bit of water at all the floors. This seemed to bring the fire under control, and the immediate disaster seemed averted.

Now while the top and penthouse of the building were not burning anymore, flames still occasionally shot out the middle and bottom floors, threatening the entire building.

Then the arguments began.

Those, mostly from the middle, said to spray the bottom and the middle which were still on fire and clearly needed the water. The top was already very wet and at no risk. Still they thought at least just spray the whole building again.

Those at the top argued the best tack was to concentrate the water at the top and the penthouse, since they were the most important (hey, they held all the top HOA positions!) and anyway, the water would drip down and save the rest of the building.

But those that controlled the water, the penthouse, argued that the water was running out, that they would have to save the water and if anywhere the only place that was reasonable to use the water was the penthouse. Besides, it too would drip down, wouldn’t it?

Others from the top and the penthouse argued that they should stop spraying water at all as the supply was getting short and those supplying the water would start to refuse to do so (though in truth the suppliers never threatened to do so).

Still others from the top and the penthouse thought that too much water had been used already and maybe even the sprinklers should be turned off. Because the fire at the top was out, the fire at the bottom would take care of itself (though some of this ilk also seemed to secretly hope the building would burn altogether, and thus could be rebuilt in their vision).

This later group used great rhetoric, and perhaps if one is being honest now, a few fibs, to convince others. Thus many from the bottom and middle, thinking that those at the top must be smart since, well, they were at the top (and also secretly believing that someday they too would be elevated enough to share in the posh digs), agreed and formed a sort of “quorum”.

Thus the water was turned off and the sprinklers shut on all floors.

And so it went for awhile, though the penthouse owners, controlling the hoses and concerned about their abodes, now and then secretly sprayed their units. To be honest, those below nearby, getting just enough to keep the flames at bay didn’t complain too much.

As for the middle and the bottom, most seemingly most remained transfixed by the relative calm at the top and smooth speeches given by those from the penthouse.

Some however realized the foundation was still burning.

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