Monday, August 21, 2017

Pleasing the Gods

Several years ago, I hired a cabinetmaker to construct half a dozen cherrywood built-ins with adjustable shelves. Handsome, beautifully-crafted things.

I noticed the man was finishing every edge of every shelf―all 60 of them―and asked, "Why bother to finish all four edges, when you can only see the one facing you?"

His reply was dour. "Because I see them."

It's delightful to encounter mortals who won't run in the race to the bottom.

The sculptor Phidias was commissioned in 440 BC to create statues for the roof of the Parthenon. 

After the installation, the city accountant refused to pay his bill.

"These statues are on the roof of a temple on the highest hill in Athens," the accountant complained. "Nobody can see anything but their fronts. Yet you have charged us for sculpting them in the round―for sculpting back sides nobody can see."

"You're wrong," Phidias replied. "The gods can see them."

There's danger in the race to the bottom, as Seth Godin says: y
ou might win.

And whether you do or don't, the gods can see you.

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