Obedience to the Herd or Freedom [2/2]

Walk Away from the Herd—No Run!

 “Grandpa, I think you are missing a larger and more detrimental issue at stake here.” She appeared composed, “A sheep astray takes care of its own needs.” Mitchell grinned and agreed at what he imagined was a metaphor for what happens when the individual strays from their clan, community, tribe, people, state…political parties. He thought about why that might be detrimental and to whom. She smiled at her grandfather as she guided his thoughts, “A sheep astray smells the scenery.” Mitchell looked to the natural locations the sheep had not walked: the apple trees and the berry bushes. The virgin could not contain herself and laughed loudly, “Herds are organized butt-sniffers!” Mitchell laughed vigorously as Nasha continued to reflect upon the clash between free spirits and followers. She thought about how a spirit might become free.

She remembered that her grandfather commented how Plato explained why enlightened people do not wish to free those unenlightened and she looked forward to learning about it at college. In fact, at this moment, Nasha felt much more comfortable with her chosen field of study. Her mind quickly reviewed all of the philosophers they had discussed. Nasha began to contemplate why free spirits and followers are necessary in modern society. She added atop of Mitchell’s laughter, “Members of a herd are forced to smell the stinky!”

Mitchell watched the sheep’s noses move up and down, “Butt-sniffers,” he mentioned as he continued to laugh and laugh and then repeated, “Butt-sniffers!” He wiped the tears falling from his eyes. He continued to laugh. Nasha felt her heartbeat pound the connection that grew between them. She smiled widely at her grandfather as he looked down and re-wiped his teary grey eyes.

“Damn butt-sniffers,” he sighed, “Tocqueville said it best,” He kicked some sand onto the road, “‘It (government) covers the whole of social life with a network of petty, complicated rules that are both minute and uniform, through which men of the greatest originality and the most vigorous temperament cannot force their heads above the crowd.’” Nasha mimicked him and kicked sand onto the road too. His face hardened as he continued, “‘It does not break men’s will, but softens, bends and guides it; it seldom enjoins, but often inhibits action; it does not destroy anything, but prevents much from being born; it is not at all tyrannical, but it hinders, restrains, enervates, stifles and stultifies so much that in the end each nation is no more than a flock of timid and hardworking animals with the government as its shepherd.’”

Nasha breathed deeply through her nose as she contemplated his argument. She licked her lips. She turned and looked at her grandfather. The wind slowed and the feeling of silence came upon Mitchell. Nasha ran her right hand through her long black hair as she waited for Mitchell to return her stare; and as he did, she laughingly lashed out, “Damn butt-sniffers!” and then snorted a few times.


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