Friday Fable. Sir Roger L'Estrange’s “AN ASTROLOGER AND A TRAVELER”*

Posted by jlubans on August 26, 2016

20160826-wizard.jpg
Caption: Illustration by Grandville for La Fontaine's retelling of Aesop’s fables (1855).

“A certain Star-gazer had the Fortune, in the very height of his celestial Observations, to stumble into a Ditch; a sober fellow passing by, gave him a piece of wholesome Counsel. Friend, says he, make a right Use of your present Misfortunes; and pray, for the future, let the Stars go on quietly in their Courses, and do you look a little better to the Ditches.”

LaFontaine offered this moral:
To an astrologer who fell
Plump to the bottom of a well,
'Poor blockhead!' cried a passer-by,
'Not see your feet, and read the sky?'

Perhaps aware that gazing into the future might be hazardous to one’s well-being, most contemporary prognosticators make predictions well beyond their estimated death dates!
I recall the part time "wizards" in my profession who offered much expensive advice to solve my workplace’s problems.
When I inquired what they were doing at their own “shop”, it turned out they rarely followed their own advice, or if they were, the results were hardly impressive.
Pontificate they could, but bring about productive change they could not.
I found it far better to locate on my own “best practice” institutions and then ask the people who were doing it to show me how they did it. More often than not the secret was to let the people doing the work figure out how to best do it. That took a hands-off leadership, a way of leading the wizards would never credit.

*Source: Aesop’s Fables translated by Sir Roger L'Estrange, 1692.

© Copyright John Lubans 2016
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Comments

Posted by Russ on August 26, 2016  •  11:08:39

But...you're not in the middle any more...more of a Left Coast position!!!

Posted by Russ on August 26, 2016  •  11:11:38

But...you're not in the middle any more...more of a Left Coast position!!!...and when looking at the light from far stars, one is really looking backward in time. ..

Posted by jlubans on August 26, 2016  •  17:03:58

Hey, Russ. More about astrologers than astronomers, more about consultants than real leaders, more about people doing the job than others telling us how to do it.
I like the metaphor about looking back in time; never knew it, never thought about it.
Given that, the star gazer should known he was going to fall in the ditch. No?

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