Images of the World from Andrew Johnston

A Parable

Once upon a time there was a young man, who wanted to make magical images. He went out and bought an image box, and he sat and listened to the wise men who made magical images. They told him "you should not let your image box bake the images, you should buy an oven and bake them yourself".

Now this was good advice, and the young man set about buying an oven. In the land there were three oven makers: A****, B**** and C****. C**** was expert at making image boxes, and indeed the young man has bought his image box from C****, but C**** didn't really know how to make ovens.

A**** was a great and rich and powerful oven maker. He made ovens for the wise men, and for princes and kings. But his ovens were very expensive, and if you bought his ovens he insisted on a tribute payment every year. He was very arrogant, and if there was a problem with his oven he would insist that the problem was with the image box, or the image maker. The young man did not want to be beholden to A****.

B**** was keen and had great ideas. He designed a very clever oven which was neater and faster than any other. He allowed other artificers to create accessories to the oven. B****'s ovens were very reasonably priced, and fitted perfectly into the young man's kitchen. After trying B****'s oven the young man was hooked, and happily bought one and started to use it to make magical images.

In this land the business of making image boxes was very competitive, and the image box makers often replaced their image boxes with newer and better image boxes. Many people bought the newer and better image boxes, the young man among them. But then he found that the newer image recipes required some changes to his oven.

The young man went to B****, and said "please can you make the changes to my oven?"

And B**** said "No, I will not update your old oven. I am working on a completely different oven design now, which will replace your whole kitchen, and all the accessories you bought from the other artificers. It will have square wheels, because round wheels are so last year. You will have to replace your recipe books and your spice racks. But the images it produces will be magical, I promise."

The young man asked "And when can I buy this?"

B**** replied "Verily, I do not know. For it is so difficult to produce such a magical oven that I don't really know how to do it. All my elves have been working very hard for many years, but they have not yet made it work. But when it is finished it will be fit for princes and kings, and all the wise men and all those who bought my old oven will throw the old one onto the scrap heap and pay me lots of money for my new oven. And those silly enough to have bought new image boxes will just have to wait, and then learn how to use a completely new oven."

And the young man wept, because B**** had become just like A****, and he did not know what to do.


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