There were two villages in separate valleys. The first village was called Utopia and the second village was called the Gulch. Both were surrounded on all sides by seemingly insurmountable cliffs. The villagers lived in poverty with a scarcity of arable land and resources, though the villagers could see, high up on the tops of the surrounding cliffs, abundant resources including fruit trees, mineral deposits, and other resources that would increase the quality of their lives.
In Utopia, a young woman named Natasha, who had great ambition and above average intelligence, decided that there was no reason her village should live in poverty. She developed a set of ropes and climbing gear and set off to reach the top of the cliffs. After over a week of climbing she finally reached the top.
In the Gulch, another young woman with great ambition named Sarah also decided that there was no reason that her village should live in poverty when such great resources were available on top of the cliffs. She also devised a system whereby she could scale the cliffs, and after a week of climbing she also reached the top.
In both villages, the villagers came out to marvel at the young women who had scaled the cliffs and reached the resources all of them had thought unreachable.
In the first village, Utopia, the village chief was frightened that the rest of the people would decide to follow Natasha’s lead and that he would lose power as the villagers began to respect and follow her. He also was afraid they might believe that they also could scale the cliffs and gain great resources. He didn’t have the courage or ambition to achieve great resources himself, and realized if everyone was able to access those resources he would become less and less important. So the village chief pulled out his hunting rifle and shot Natasha down from her perch on the cliffs. When the other villagers asked him why he did that he replied “No person should be able to achieve such things, for they make everyone else feel lesser.”
In the second village Sarah looked down on the villagers and encouraged them to also try to scale the cliffs so they all could share in the resources. The village chief of the Gulch looked at Sarah on the cliffs and realized that if everyone in the village could access the resources, then everyone’s quality of life would improve, both the villagers that were able to climb the cliffs and those who benefited from the resources that flowed down to them from the climbers. The village chief said that everyone who wanted to climb the cliffs should do so, and even if they only made it part way they would be able to assist in bringing the resources back the village. The chief said “Every person should strive to climb as high as they can, because the highest climbers will inspire the others to climb higher than they otherwise would.”
Utopia continued to exist in poverty until all of their resources were depleted and they all starved to death, including the chief who hoarded the remaining resources for himself until they, too, were gone and he died of starvation.
The second village, the Gulch, prospered and eventually built a means of transport over the cliffs to the remains of the village of Utopia. There, they replicated their successful method of allowing the greatest climbers to climb the cliffs and bring resources to the other villages. Some villagers chose not to be climbers, but they still prospered from the goods that were brought down. The climbers, of course, benefited the most from the resources since they had first choice, but they always had enough to sell to the other villagers as they found new ways to scale even higher cliffs with even more resources.
A society’s role should be to inspire everyone to strive for greatness so that they raise up others in their own climb.
A society that seeks to limit the greatness of individuals so that others don’t feel lesser is doomed to eventually fail.