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Remembering Kabir

Updated: Mar 22, 2021

At some point I will have fascinating new blog posts related to participatory decision making and worker-ownership and emergent strategy and a number of other topics I want to explore. Since I'm fresh out of the gate as an independent and still setting up system, though, I'll recycle parts of a post I wrote during my time in India.


I heard this great story on a documentary series that I’ve been devouring this last week, called The Kabir Project. As I think it’s unlikely that many (any?) of you have seen these documentaries, I’ll take the liberty of retelling it here:

Once, the flies sent a delegation to the Moth Sultan. When they were granted audience, they said “we are like you – we have wings, we are insects – but we don’t get any respect. We think we should have the same status as the moths.”

The Moth Sultan told them “Okay, fine. Go search out light – that’s what moths do. We’ll see how it goes.”

So, the flies got busy, and about fifteen minutes later they came back and gave a report to the Moth Sultan – “over there there’s a fire, and there are lamps in this house and that other house, and there’s a candle by door of the temple.” Then they sat down in a group off to the side and started rubbing their front legs together – “hee, hee, now when the Sultan is ready to make a decision about our status he’ll see how efficient and thorough we were – even faster than the moths we saw along the way!”

The Sultan overheard them and said “my poor relatives, the decision has already been made. When moths find the light, they don’t come back”.

- – -

So here I am, the dilettante – happy to have been pointed to a vein that feels so rich, and yet having rather too much in common with the fly. Here’s to flapping up time and time again against that Light, instead of getting the sense of it, ticking it off my list, and thinking that’s all there is to do…

moth seeking the light

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