Perception post: Breaking Wood

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“…Superheroes are almost always represented as lone wolves: out in the darkest hours of the night, protecting the city they call home, concealing their identity behind a thick mask and, most importantly, accomplishing everything alone. They can break all three wooden sticks alone.”

I came across a thought-provoking Czechoslovakian folk tale recently. It was about a father, on his deathbed, who wanted to give his sons an important lesson before his passing. He gave each son two wooden sticks and told them to take one of the two and break it. They all did. Then, he told them to give the remaining sticks they had to each brother in turn so they could attempt to break three at the same time. One by one, they all gave it a go. And one by one, they all failed.

His message was clear: when divided, you are weak and vulnerable, but in unity, you are strong, impenetrable even. As long as the brothers stuck together, they would always find peace and security. This was the final lesson he left with them – and rightly so – because it was probably the most important one; let’s just say the end for the three sons in the folk tale wasn’t particularly good…

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