Wednesday, January 14, 2015

the Zen master said, "We'll see"

In Charlie Wilson's War, about a third of the way through the film, Gust Avrakotos (CIA) begins to tell Congressman Wilson the story of the Zen Master and the little boy, to illustrate that solving one problem can leave the way open for a new problem, and you don't want to just turn your back on it and call it done, because "the ball keeps on bouncing"...

They're in Wilson's office, and his staff people keep coming in and going out, with potential-partying-scandal updates and strategies.  Avrakotos is interrupted in his Zen master story, in that scene, and only at the end of the film does he finally get to tell it:

The boy always wanted a horse, and on his 14th birthday he got one.
Everybody in the village said, "How wonderful, the boy got a horse."

And the Zen master said "We'll see."

Then the boy falls off the horse and breaks his leg.
And everyone in the village says, "How terrible!"

And the Zen master says, "We'll see."

Then war breaks out, and all the young men have to go off and fight.
But the boy can't go, because of his leg.
And the people in the village say, "How wonderful."

And the Zen master says, "We'll see."

And the moral of the story is -- the ball keeps on bouncing...
What motivates Avrakotos to tell Charlie Wilson that story, or parable, is when Charlie says enthusiastically, "If we can help them shoot down the helicopters -- everything's going to start goin' our way!"


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