musicology #194

teachings of billionaire YenTzu #4

(Little Miss Cornshucks – Try A Little Tenderness)

Shooting The Monkey (freedom from the distracting ego)

‘Has your majesty never observed the bounding monkeys?’ answered Chang to the King of Wei. ‘If they can reach the tall cedars or camphor trees, they will swing and sway from their limbs, frolicking and lording it in their midst, so that even the famous archers Yi or P’eng Meng could not take accurate aim at them, But when they are attracted to what they suppose are delicacies and find themselves among the prickly mulberries, brambles, hawthorns, or spiny citrons, way below their loftier arena, they must move with caution, glancing from side to side, quivering and shaking with fear.

‘It is not that their bones and sinews have become suddenly stiff and lost their suppleness. It is simply that the monkeys find themselves in a difficult and disadvantageous position, one where they cannot exercise their abilities to the full. And so it is when Man becomes full of himself. His attraction to what is seemingly of benefit and greater security to him actually distracts him from expressing himself in his full light.’

‘I like that tale, ‘ said the King of Wei, ‘but knowing you as I do, I have no doubt that the monkey is merely a metaphor for Man’s own mischievous self. Our fall from our true identity causes us to improvise and clutch at a false identity with the same desperation as someone falling continuously into the abyss.’

‘Exactly so!’ said Chang gleefully. ‘In the absence of the true knowledge of who we really are, our adopted self must keep alive its fictional existence with convincing, albeit empty, chattering.’

‘Chattering which is taken to heart rather than ignored,’ said the King. ‘Incessant and sweet chattering thoughts that, while sometimes a nuisance, sweetly persuade, convince, cajole, even scare us into believing that if we want protection, security and peace of mind, there is no other self worth listening to.’

‘And if such a self was indeed a monkey, how would you, as a sagely king, deal with it?’ enquired Chang.

‘Why I would ensure that both Yi and P’eng Meng practised harder, until they were successful,’ his monarch replied with amusement.

‘And how so for your own self, is it also a case of shooting the monkey?’ asked Chang.

‘Again, I would employ and develop those decisive archer parts of my own being to unmask myself.’

‘Well said, my King, for only by such action will you rid yourself of a fictional power that ultimately renders you powerless.’


2 thoughts on “musicology #194

  1. This song never fails to make me cry, and I think this rendition of it is one of the best….as for the lesson…’actions certainly speak louder than words’.


  2. This probably has nothing to do with a great piece of music or the teachings of Yen Tzu… “It has always been a mystery to me how men can feel themselves honoured by the humilation of their fellow beings”. Mehatma Gandhi.
    Well actually,


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