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The Frog and the Scorpion

A frog is about to cross a river at its narrow point when he notices a fearsome scorpion prowling the bank. The frog quickly tries to take cover in some reeds but the scorpion has already seen him and moves closer.  Just as the frog is about to jump into the water and flee he notices the scorpion’s demeanour, it looks almost sad.  The scorpion asks, ‘please will you help me to cross this river? I can jump on your back and you can carry me.’   Being a kind creature the frog pauses and listens.  However, the frog is no fool and replies ‘But, you will sting me and kill me!’  The scorpion responds, ‘If I did we would both drown.’  The frog considers for a moment and compassion and kindness take hold.  The frog agrees.  Midway across the river the frog feels a sharp pain in his back as the scorpion’s stinger penetrates his skin.  ‘Why did you do that?’ asks the Frog, ‘we will both now drown!’.  The scorpion replies, ‘I could not help it, it’s in my nature’.

—x—

This is one of those very simple stories that we can relate with in many different ways.  When I first heard this my thoughts was of nature, transience, impermanence and the thought that however hopeful, we cannot change that much of the negative nature of this physical world, time passes, things change, decay and die. Tagging some keywords for this post was revealing about the depth of meaning that I take from this, a much more positive outlook.

Frog Scorpion Keywords - AnAccidentalAnarchist.com

I empathise with the frog, the frog is hopeful or change, it wants to believe the good in something seen as bad.  Perhaps the frog was naive, he should have trusted his knowledge and not trusted the scorpion.  But, the frog tried to make a better world, it died doing so, but at least it tried.

But, perhaps sometimes things are just not meant to be, people are not ready to change, as hopeful and however much we give and try, we often have to accept this and take care of ourselves.

As for the scorpion? I do not view the scorpion as all bad, its acting from it’s conditioning as a scorpion, it just cannot help itself.  It’s ‘nature’ cost them their lives.  Life is such, somethings we cannot change, we just have to accept them.

I can also empathise with the scorpion, sometimes my nature has led me towards patterns of behaviour that upon reflection I have regretted – but like the scorpion we can only act according to our current level of consciousness.

Of course, I would rather live like the frog, with hope and optimism and risk getting stung – that’s in my nature.

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29 Comments »

  1. For some reason, this story brought to mind the novel, Les Miserables, in which the priest knew that, in helping the criminal, Jean Valjean, he was potentially risking his own life and safety. But still, he helped. And, in accordance with his hardened criminal ways, Valjean robbed and harmed the old priest. Still, when Valjean was caught and questioned by police, the priest helped him yet again – lied to protect Valjean, and gave him his most valuable possessions, all in love and forgiveness. As a result, Valjean’s very nature changed into a man of great kindness, generosity, and forgiveness. Love, forgiveness, and trust, even when they are undeserved, can be powerful catalysts for change.

    Like

    • That’s certainly a story of the triumph of hope and love. I suppose hope is anti-inductive reasoning, we know the past but hope for a different future. If the future were just made of the repetition of past events then, based on current patterns, this world would be pretty bleak.

      Like

  2. For some reason, this story brought to mind the novel, Les Miserables, in which the priest knew that, in helping the criminal, Jean Valjean, he was potentially risking his own life and safety. But still, he helped. And, in accordance with his hardened criminal ways, Valjean robbed and harmed the old priest. Still, when Valjean was caught and questioned by police, the priest helped him yet again – lied to protect Valjean, and gave him his most valuable possessions, all in love and forgiveness. As a result, Valjean’s very nature changed into a man of great kindness, generosity, and forgiveness. Love, forgiveness, and trust, even when they are undeserved, can be powerful catalysts for change.

    Like

    • That’s certainly a story of the triumph of hope and love. I suppose hope is anti-inductive reasoning, we know the past but hope for a different future. If the future were just made of the repetition of past events then, based on current patterns, this world would be pretty bleak.

      Like

  3. Another lesson I get from the story is that even if we are hopeful and positive about something, when we go into the company of others who have negative reputation, we may still be drown or get influenced by their negativity…so it’s really important to choose your peers and trust your instinct.

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    • Yes, that’s true. I like to believe in change, but there would need to be some clear evidence of change before a level of trust could be established. This story is fascinating in the layered meanings 🙂

      Like

  4. Another lesson I get from the story is that even if we are hopeful and positive about something, when we go into the company of others who have negative reputation, we may still be drown or get influenced by their negativity…so it’s really important to choose your peers and trust your instinct.

    Like

    • Yes, that’s true. I like to believe in change, but there would need to be some clear evidence of change before a level of trust could be established. This story is fascinating in the layered meanings 🙂

      Like

  5. I would not say that scorpion is not all bad because it is acting upon its nature, because then Hitler was not all so bad because him too acted upon his nature. While the frog is a victim but I would not say that I would rather live as stupid but helpful as the frog. Because indeed frog did not serve the world, it only served the scorpion who then killed him. So the moral here is not that it is better not to help those who are asking for help, but to know WHO is asking for help and then make your choice. When you know WHO is approaching you then the choice that you make will be your full responsibility and you will pay the consequences, Therefore, if you decided to serve death then you will be stung by it and die. If you decided to serve life then you will live. As simple as that.

    Like

    • I pity Hitler, he was a victim that became a monster. I pity child abusers too, especially those that have had some history of trauma. Some serial killers were painfully abused as children. Their nature becomes something dangerous. That’s not to say that I think such people should be put in power or allowed to operate in normal society without extreme protections. But, I do believe in the capacity to change, I also believe that our ‘nature’ is our conditioning. And conditioning can only change from being exposed to a different set of conditions, hatred perhaps exposed to love. But the likely outcome with some people is that we would get killed in the process and many just will not change.

      Like

  6. I would not say that scorpion is not all bad because it is acting upon its nature, because then Hitler was not all so bad because him too acted upon his nature. While the frog is a victim but I would not say that I would rather live as stupid but helpful as the frog. Because indeed frog did not serve the world, it only served the scorpion who then killed him. So the moral here is not that it is better not to help those who are asking for help, but to know WHO is asking for help and then make your choice. When you know WHO is approaching you then the choice that you make will be your full responsibility and you will pay the consequences, Therefore, if you decided to serve death then you will be stung by it and die. If you decided to serve life then you will live. As simple as that.

    Like

    • I pity Hitler, he was a victim that became a monster. I pity child abusers too, especially those that have had some history of trauma. Some serial killers were painfully abused as children. Their nature becomes something dangerous. That’s not to say that I think such people should be put in power or allowed to operate in normal society without extreme protections. But, I do believe in the capacity to change, I also believe that our ‘nature’ is our conditioning. And conditioning can only change from being exposed to a different set of conditions, hatred perhaps exposed to love. But the likely outcome with some people is that we would get killed in the process and many just will not change.

      Like

  7. And since we all die, good or bad, and deny an afterlife, the only point seems to be to live as long as possible and create as little misery as conditions will permit.

    Like

  8. And since we all die, good or bad, and deny an afterlife, the only point seems to be to live as long as possible and create as little misery as conditions will permit.

    Like

  9. Walking in hope takes practice, but it is in our nature to be trusting, at least in the beginning. I always feel sorry for the one who is taken in by the bad guy…I have been there too many times myself!

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  10. Walking in hope takes practice, but it is in our nature to be trusting, at least in the beginning. I always feel sorry for the one who is taken in by the bad guy…I have been there too many times myself!

    Like

  11. Thanks for commenting on my poem Formation. I’m rather clumsy with a computer and this was the only place I discovered to thank you. If you scroll down on my site you’ll see lots 0f other poetry and stuff.

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  12. Thanks for commenting on my poem Formation. I’m rather clumsy with a computer and this was the only place I discovered to thank you. If you scroll down on my site you’ll see lots 0f other poetry and stuff.

    Like

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