Most people pass their entire life doing things the same way, never considering that it is not the only way of working. Yet sometimes things change and the old ways don’t work anymore. That’s when you need to step up in order to survive.
Aesop’s Fables have been told to kids for thousands of years to teach them moral lessons and help them navigate in a complicated world. One such fable is that of “The Crow and the Pitcher”.
The allegory starts off with a crow flying around on a hot, dusty day. The crow is exhausted from thirst, but keeps on circling in the sky, eyes alert, but struggling to find anything to drink.
Finally, he spots a pitcher. Excited, he descends down to it, only to discover that it contains very little water.
He puts his beak into the pitcher, hoping to be able to reach at the water, but can’t. He tries pushing it over, but it doesn’t fall. He attempts all kinds of different ways to get at the water, but no success.
Then an idea pops into his head. He collects stones nearby and stacks them next to the pitcher.
Picking them up with his beak, he starts dropping these stones into the pitcher, one by one. Slowly, but surely the water level starts rising and gets a little higher with each stone thrown in.
Finally, he puts in the last few stones, and the water level in the pitcher rises high enough for him to put his beak into it and drink.
There are several moral lessons to be learned from this little story. Hard work, persistence and ingenuity are all things that ancient commentators saw as the things you were supposed to take out of it.
The little crow failed several times, but got back up and tried in a different way, persisting where others would have given up. He was also smart in noticing how the world works around him and applying that to solve the problem. The crow had a goal and didn’t stop until he achieved it.
One moral stands above the rest though: necessity is the mother of invention.
Old ways of doing things didn’t work any more. The crow tried all the traditional ways of getting at the water, but not one of them worked.
In order to survive, he needed to start thinking outside the box.
As a result of that little incident, the crow experienced an internal paradigm shift. However this was not only a change in how he views the world, but a change in how he works in the world.
He realized that he didn’t need to rely only on his own body to do things, but that he could use other objects lying around to help him perform different jobs better.
The crow became a tool user.
The story is not far from the truth, in fact modern crows have been studied and have exhibited similar problem-solving and tool-using techniques.
Once you learn that you don’t need to rely on what nature gave you in order to do your daily activities, but instead can pick up different objects in your vicinity and use them to help you, it’s a huge revelation and it completely changes the way you live.
You expend less energy, and need less resources to do daily things. You can also do new things, things you have never been able to do before.
It opens up a world of possibilities. Possibilities that had been closed to you before.
Chimpanzees and other primates have also been seen using tools in the wild. Different groups use different tools and techniques, which means that it is not an instinctual behavior, but instead a learned one.
It has been observed how when one individual discovers a new technique to do a certain activity, the technique spreads to many of the other individuals in the community. This new way of doing things completely changes their lives.
They experience a paradigm shift.
Technological Revolutions and Paradigm Shifts
When our ancestors picked up tools for the first time, they also experienced the first technological revolution.