The Secret Files
The Hollow Mountain

Human Laws

Then a lawyer said: But what of our Laws, master?
And he answered:
You delight in laying down laws.
Yet you delight more in breaking them
like children playing by the ocean
who build sand-towers with constancy
and then destroy them with laughter.
But while you build sand-towers
the ocean brings more sand to the shore.
And when you destroy them the ocean laughs with you.
Verily, the ocean laughs always with the innocent.

The story continues below.

But what of those to whom life is not an ocean
and man-made laws are not sand-towers
but to whom life is a rock
and the law a chisel
with which they would carve it in their own likeness?
What of the cripple who hates dancers?
What of the ox who loves his yoke
and deems the elk and deer of the forest stray and vagrant things?
What of the old serpent who cannot shed his skin
and calls all others naked and shameless?
And of him who comes early to the wedding-feast
and when overfed and tired goes his way
saying that all feast are violation
and all feasters law-breakers?

What shall I say of these
save that they too stand in the sunlight
but with their backs to the sun?
They see only their shadows, and their shadows are their laws.
And what is the sun to them but a caster of shadows?
And what is it to acknowledge the laws
but to stoop down and trace their shadows upon the earth?

But you who walk facing the sun
what images drawn on the earth can hold you?
You who travel with the wind
what weather-vane shall direct your course?
What man's law shall bind you
if you break your yoke
but upon no man's prison door?
What laws shall you fear if you dance
but stumble against no man's iron chains?
And who is he
that shall bring you to judgment
if you tear off your garment
yet leave it in no man's path?

People of Orphalese,
you can muffle the drum
and you can loosen the strings of the lyre
but who shall command
the sky-lark not to sing?
Extract from 'The Prophet'
by Kahlil Gibran

As soon as laws are necessary for men,
they are no longer fit for freedom.

Pythagoras (570 B.C. - 495 B.C.)

The Law or Natural Law  >>

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