Once upon a time there was a beautiful tree. This tree stood out above all the other trees of the forest as the biggest of all. The People of the tree were very proud of the tree they lived in. Over time they became so comfortable in the tree they began to believe nothing could ever stop the tree from holding its stature in the forest. The People of the tree formed a group of fellow tree Dwellers and set them as Watchers of the tree to ensure that all the Dwellers could live as they liked without being bothered.
As time passed, the People of the tree became comfortable with their living and stopped paying attention to the group of Watchers. They went about their daily work so they could build their nests and have the things they wanted, and spent their remaining time seeking to be entertained. They sat around all the days and ate of the fruit of the tree and drank of the water from the leaves and had a grand time playing games and having fun.
The Watchers came to the Dwellers one day and told them that the tree had to be cared for and maintained, and since the Watchers could not do this work they would have to hire others to do it. But, since the Watchers had no fruit of their own to pay for the work, they told the Dwellers that each of them would have to give a very small portion of their fruit to the Watcher who would gather it together and then have enough to pay for the work needed to keep the tree beautiful and standing strong. Since by doing this the dwellers would not have to do the work, they agreed to do it and gave some of their fruit to the Watchers. So the tree was cared for and the Dwellers lived happy lives doing as they pleased.
Now when the Watchers saw how easy it was to convince the Dwellers to give a little of their fruit to them, they thought to tell the Dwellers that more was needed for more work, and they gathered the fruit for themselves and became owners of large portions of fruit. The Watchers became greedy and wanted more and more fruit, and easily convinced the dwellers to give more and more.
Over time the Watchers became so possessed with greed and desire to have power over the tree that they grew unsatisfied with just the fruit given them. They decided to take for themselves pieces of the tree from the base. They began to chop pieces out of the base of the tree. As they gathered the pieces, their greed made them chop away more and more each day.
Honest Joe was a hard working tree Dweller who spent most of his life like the rest of the tree Dwellers, working and building his nest in the tree, and giving his proper portion of fruit to the Watchers. One day Honest Joe was told of a noise coming from the base of the tree. A few of the tree Dwellers saw what the Watchers were doing. It was obvious that this had to be stopped and that the rest of the tree Dwellers had to be told.
It soon became apparent that the People of the tree would not listen. They did not want to think that their beautiful tree could be hurt. It was too strong. They had placed their faith in the Watchers and would not believe they could do such a thing. Instead of looking down to see, they just called the loyal tree Dwellers fools and trouble makers.
For a time, Honest Joe banded together with the Wise Ones, those who knew about what the Watchers were doing. Some of the Wise Ones had known for a long time, and had the same difficulty getting the People to wake up. The Wise Ones had many meeting to discuss what to do. Some would say, “We need to go to the top of the tree and shout down to the Dwellers”. Others would say, “No, we need to stand low in the tree and shout up – look here, see what the Watchers are doing.” And others would say they needed to go to the east, or west, or north, or south.
Honest Joe said, “Look, we see the Watchers down there with an axe chopping away at the tree. Let us go down immediately ourselves and stop them.” But the Wise Ones said “You do not know what you are saying. Can you tell us what size the axe is? Can you tell us what kind of wood the handle is made of? You do not even know how big the chips are that come off the tree with each blow. What makes you think you can give Wise Ones advice? You need to just sit there and listen and learn while we talk about this. Some day we will find the answer.
So Honest Joe kept going to meetings and listening to the Wise Ones. He heard them saying that the Dwellers had to stop this illegal action in a legal way. He listened to the Wise Ones debate for months about what to do and how to do it. He heard the talk about more meeting in the future, more important than the last, but saw fewer and fewer People at each meeting. It seemed obvious that the Wise Ones would never learn to do more than debate over who had the best idea. And every day he watched the chips fly more and more. He soon became aware that nothing would be done before the big tree fell, so he went to his home and started to do everything he could to prepare for the fall of the tree, and prayed he would survive it.
Honest Joe is now silent, watching and waiting for the rest of the tree Dwellers and Wise Ones to decide to act. If it is not too late, he will join them again if they decide to DO something to stop the Watchers before the tree falls. He no longer speaks his ideas to be ridiculed and rejected. He studies to learn and hopes to one day be smart enough to be a Wise One, knowing what to say and how to say it, and to be able to be heard. Perhaps in time, after he has taken on the Watchers and served his time in the battlefield against them, he will be considered someone whose ideas have substance.
Honest Joe knows that there are enough Wise Ones and tree Dwellers out there to stop the Watchers if they just come together as a People and do it. But until they do, there will only be more talk that accomplishes nothing.