The Prince and The People
In a far off land there lived a Prince of great importance. He ruled over a large population and, by all accounts, served these people well. This Prince was the son of a great God who had sent him forth to work with this population. The Prince knew nothing of his Father’s heavenly plan but agreed to do his part in the affairs of His subjects.
When the Prince first arrived amongst the people of this principality he took careful note of their attributes and inclinations. He noticed that the women, for example, were quite subdued and gave their authority over to the men of the tribe. The children listened only to the women, until a certain age, when the boys were separated from the girls and came under the rule of the adult males. The men, he noticed, did not participate in the women’s activities, but isolated themselves and tended to fraternize mainly with each other. For the purposes of procreation they did of course involve themselves with the adult women.
One day the Prince decided he would challenge this state of affairs and published a decree that stated all women were equal to the men and that both groups should begin interacting with each other on a regular basis. The females of the tribe were delighted with this proclamation, but the males were aghast. These men were deeply upset. They couldn’t understand why this decree had been issued and they believed it to be unacceptable. A representative delegation was sent to the Prince to protest and to ask that the decree be nullified.
The Prince received the delegation of men graciously and proceeded to address them. “Gentlemen, I have no intent to harm you. I only wish to see you fraternize more regularly with the women of the tribe and to have you treat them as equals.”
“But, Sir,” a spokesman shouted out, “it has never been this way. For many generations now we have always delegated tribal responsibilities in the current fashion. That way we avoid conflict and difficulties with the other gender.”
“But you know nothing of each other,” the Prince replied. “How can you all live together and not know each other in the most fundamental sense?”
“We have no problem with that arrangement,” the spokesman continued. “Our needs are simple and few. We come together to procreate when that is deemed necessary, otherwise we keep to ourselves. This way our varying and different needs never come into conflict. The women, we believe, receive what they need as do we. It has worked this way for eons now and we are satisfied with the arrangement.”
Just then a woman stepped forward as a spokesperson for the females, their delegation having just arrived on the scene.
“I do not agree with this gentleman at all,” she began. “The men claim that this system has worked for generations, but the fact is they are the only ones who seem happy with it. We, on the other hand, have been sad and lonely since this separation of the sexes took place. Contrary to what the men believe our needs are not being met. We require more than mere procreation as a means of quality contact. We would like all sorts of stimulation through conversation, sharing and support. We desire all manner of such interaction. But we have been relegated to separate camps for so long now that we don’t know how to approach each other. Many women feel as I do and have said so to each other. But none of us dared speak to the men about it for fear of upsetting the existing balance between the sexes. Not until now, that is. We, the women, greet your decree with great joy, dear Prince, for we wish to have more contact with these illustrious men. We applaud your stand and are prepared to do our part to bridge the gap between them and ourselves.”
At the Prince’s request the two delegations withdrew to contemplate what had been shared. As usual, the women went off to their camp and so did the men. Each group spoke about the matter well into the night. Such a topic had never before received so much attention. The men roared and complained, bellowing out their disapproval. The women shared their feelings and cried out their loneliness, supporting each other through the process. The men continued their bellicose rampaging until their energy began to wane. The women paused in the midst of their discussions with a promise of resuming after they had rested. The men carried on till the wee hours of the morning. They could not surrender the debate until they came to some kind of resolution. For them the issue was too threatening to let go of, even for a moment.
The next day the two delegations appeared before the Prince. Although he had not ordered them to work so diligently, he was pleased to see that both groups had taken the matter so seriously. The women’s representative stepped forward and declared once again their support for the decree. She then listed some additional reasons that had emanated from their recent discussions. After which the spokesman for the men stepped forward and, much to everyone’s surprise, also declared they were in support of the decree. The Prince, taken aback by this turnabout, asked the representative to explain this change in position.
“You see good Sir, it is like this,” he began. “When we first addressed the question raised by the decree, we felt hurt and angry over your declaration because it ran contrary to our established ways. We bellowed and shouted our disapproval throughout the night until we essentially exhausted ourselves. Then a strange thing happened. As we continued our discussion and listened to ourselves, we began to realize that we too were lonely and were missing this meaningful contact of which the women spoke yesterday. We began to realize that we also wanted more than had been our lot under the separation of the sexes, but were too afraid to admit it or ask for it.
As our discussion proceeded, each of us in turn cited examples of lonely times beginning in childhood when we were first handed over to the elder men. Until that happened, we had enjoyed our contact with the adult women and the female children. We saw no differences between us. But after the separation occurred we were repeatedly schooled in the so-called differences until that was all we could see. By the time we reached adulthood we had forgotten what we once had in common with the females and how much we enjoyed being in their company.
Now, as we listen to the adult women speak, we are once again aware of our similarities, those we enjoyed in childhood and the ones we suspect we may still have as adults. We don’t recall being told how lonely life would be when separated from the females. We remember no one advising us that our isolation would be painful and that we would have to repress that awareness in order to carry on. We accept that this whole pretense at being happy with the current arrangement is false. It’s what we learned to do to forget our loneliness. And we realize that we likely suffer more from this separation than do the women because we don’t know how to share that pain with each other. Something they seem to do with great ease and familiarity. So, we too wish for a change. Dear Prince, we respectfully declare that we are willing to accept your decree.”
And a great sense of relief was felt by everyone – the women, the men and the Prince. All, it seemed, were greatly pleased at this outcome.
Shortly after that momentous meeting the Prince was reporting to his Father on the state of his principality.
“So, how did it go, My son?” the Father asked.
“Well, Father, you were quite right in predicting that this decree would elicit an interesting reaction. I did not expect the men to come around so quickly though, but I am pleased that they did.”
“And so you should be, My son, for these people are quite resourceful and eminently capable. After all, I’ve endowed them with My greatest attributes.”
“But Father, why did you let them become separate in the first place?”
“Because they wanted that lesson, My son. They wanted to learn the value of true closeness, so they chose the experience of separation first.”
“I see,” the Prince reflected, “but why then have me issue the decree? Why not let them work it out for themselves?”
“Because, every now and then, these people need a reminder that I am about. They also like to be challenged so they can find their way back to their true Selves. They look for such opportunities and seem to thrive on them. Yes, left to their devices they would find their way through these issues, but they do like the excitement of a decree. When issued such a challenge they shine forth with their best efforts and quickly learn a lesson that might take eons otherwise. The decree, in this case, helped accelerate the process. And such challenges are desirable at this point in their Earthly journey as I wish for them to find their way Home, because I am lonely and in need of their company.”
With that said Father and Son embraced each other and the matter was deemed satisfactorily resolved. As for the men and women of the tribe, they began to find their way to each other again. They were learning to accept and appreciate the other gender anew. They had many lessons to learn and many years of isolation to overcome, but their commitment was strong and they drew from each other new strengths that had been dormant for some time. Men learned to share and women learned to assert, realizing that they each had something the other could use. It was amazing to observe and the Prince was eminently pleased.