The other day, I was working with a downtown Boston real estate agent on a basic apartment rental. I provided him credit report, check for deposit, rental application etc. Suddenly he started asking me for additional information. Some of the requests were standard issue, but others I felt wasn’t necessary for renting out an apartment. So I asked why do you need this? The answer was; “I’m not sure but I’ve always have done it this way.”
I’m reminded of this fable:
How The Path Was Forged
One day, a calf needed to cross a virgin forest in order to return to its pasture. Being an irrational animal, it forged out a tortuous path full of bends, up and downhills.
The next day, a dog came by and used the same path to cross the forest. Next, it was a sheep’s turn, the head of a flock which, upon finding the opening, led its companions through it.
Later, men began using the path: they entered and left, turned to the right, to the left, bent down, deviating obstacles, complaining and cursing – and quite rightly so. But they did nothing to create a different alternative.
After so much use, in the end, the path became a trail along which poor animals toiled under heavy loads, being forced to go three hours to cover a distance which would normally take thirty minutes, had no one chosen to follow the route opened up by the calf.
Many years passed and the trail became the main road of a village, and later the main avenue of a town. Everyone complained about the traffic because the route it took was the worst possible one.
Meanwhile, the old and wise forest laughed, at seeing how men tend to blindly follow the way already open, without ever asking whether it really is the best choice.
(based in traditional Malayalam story)