Phaedrus’ Fable X. OF THE VICES OF MEN*

Posted by jlubans on January 04, 2019

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Jupiter has loaded us with a couple of Wallets: the one, filled with our own vices, he has placed at our backs, the other, heavy with those of others, he has hung before.

From this circumstance, we are not able to see our own faults: but as soon as others make a slip, we are ready to censure.

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This quintessential fable also appears on p. 74 in my “Fables for Leaders” as Jupiter and the Two Sacks.
If there ever was a must-read fable for leaders it is this one.
Our willingness to blame others instead of ourselves was observed millennia ago. The flaw is nothing new. If noted, it was not revealed by Freud, Psychology Today or Dr. Phil.
In a very few words, Aesop/Phaedrus show us man’s seeming inability to look beyond self and “to walk in another person’s moccasins”. A bit of Native American wisdom, there, at the end.
Yet, in corporate suites and the cubicles of the not-for-profit the annual ritual of performance appraisal is celebrated by the master over the servant.
Far better to have a humble conversation on one’s dreams and aspirations than to seek to reduce an individual to a decimal or letter of the alphabet.

*Source: THE COMEDIES OF TERENCE AND THE FABLES OF PHÆDRUS.
TRANSLATED By HENRY THOMAS RILEY, B.A.
TO WHICH IS ADDED A METRICAL TRANSLATION OF PHÆDRUS,
By CHRISTOPHER SMART.
LONDON: GEORGE BELL & SONS, 1887.


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Caption: Maybe Phaedrus, more likely Aesop.

**Who was Phaedrus?
Gaius Julius Phaedrus was born BC 15 and died AD 50 in Italy. Born a slave, he became a free man in the Emperor Augustus household and was educated in Greek and Latin authors.
He enlarged upon the Aesopic tradition and invented fables of his own
He did much to promote the fable literature, achieving a great popularity, we are told, in the Middle Ages.

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My 2010 book, Leading from the Middle, is available at Amazon.

© Copyright John Lubans 2019

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