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Oracle Perspective

Two Men One Life


A man lives in a small village just off the coast of the Atlantic Ocean in Africa. His people have forged their way there for thousands of years. During this time, they have developed very impressive irrigation, hunting, gardening, and other resources and techniques for sustaining a happy and fulfilling life.

Another man, halfway across the world, lives in a high rise flat in downtown Manhattan.  Everything he could ever want is accessible right under his fingertips.  He doesn’t need to hunt or even cook, as he can eat out. He doesn’t need to worry about his clothes as he can purchase new ones any time he desires.  Finally, he doesn’t he have to endure the elements because his environment runs on the highest climate control technology.

The man in the village has no electricity, no climate control, and no means other than oil lamps and candles (fire) to keep him warm and illuminated.  He earns his living by taking care of his people.  He’s a fisherman, a builder, a hunter, and knows quite a bit about medicine.  Although he works hard, he doesn’t mind it because his lifestyle keeps him full of energy and supports a high level of satisfaction.

The man in the flat works for a bank.  His morning commute is a short three block walk to his office.  His income allows him to have all of the perks in life.  He has the latest smartphone, a Mercedes, and every other amenity he could set his mind to.  Given his stature, he is a proud man, has supportive friends, and knows how to help others earn money and create the same kind of luxurious living that he has obtained for himself.

Now that I’ve given you a small glimpse of these two men, which man’s life would you rather have?

I want you to really think about this too. Don’t just answer the man in the village because society has taught us to be happier with less, and don’t answer the man in the flat without understanding what it took for him to achieve his level of success.

What I want you to consider are the things that you’re not seeing.

So, consider the hard work the man in the village must endure just to get by, then what it would take to have a lot of money (like the man in the flat) so that you could have the best medical care, the best housing, and something to leave to your children.

The point of this entry is expectation vs action, as well as the perspective that comes with this awareness.

I came up with this scenario a couple of years ago when my wife and I planned to camp out in a tent on our property.  (which we do from time to time, but this was just one individual night)

It sounded like a great idea because everything we needed was within a hundred feet. I imagined the experience sleeping outside in the elements, the moonlight glowing through the fabric, and the naturalistic experience (or illusion) of having less amenities.

But the kicker, was that I decided not to because of a single thought.  That thought, was the comfort of sleeping in my own plush king sized bed vs the hard ground of the front yard.

This created the realization that not all things we intend, will work out the way we plan or assume.  In other words, it showed me the truth of false assumption.  Kind of like asking which man’s life would you rather have?

One lifestyle may sound more favorable to you, but we need to consider all of the possibilities, as well as what moves us personally.

So, let me ask you the same question, but another way.

“Which man’s life would you rather have if the power went out….forever?

The point, is that one man’s life would go unchanged.  He would continue to live the way he had been living his entire life.  He would get his food the same way, his water the same way, and engage with his family and loved ones the same way.

But for the man in the flat, his life would be over.

Or would it?

Many years ago this question would recommend (if not demand) a single answer.

“I choose the man’s life in the flat because……”


“I choose the man’s life in the village because…..”

But in this day and age, we can actually have both.

We can learn to work with our hands as well as with our minds.

We can live like the man in the village, but with the same financial education and/or freedoms of the man in the flat.

Opposite of this, we can learn to live like the man in the flat, by simply understanding the knowledge and experience of the man’s life in the village.

(I do this with my stories.)

So much has changed for us.  Not only do we have access to just about everything we can imagine, but we also have the opportunity to choose which of those things serve us the most.

Once again, I ask you.

Which man’s life would rather have?

My answer, is both.


Last week over 120 Tessera members and myself embraced a new perspective of Tessera called Oracle.  What I’m quickly learning through this work, is that it’s not just about achieving something, it’s about seeing everything.

Although we’ve just begun, I am noticing more and more opportunities throughout my day.  I for one, am looking for new experiences each and every moment.  I don’t want to sleep on a cold floor, but when I do, I do so with the memory of a warm bed.

And to able to know and embrace both, is to be content with all.


Image by Aurelijus Žemgulis

  1. Terri

    I choose what i have created in this NOW time because only i can create my life and, this is what i have created.

    There were 9 children in our home and I had to help—weed, harvest and can what we grew. It was not fun at times and it was hard work a times and we all complained a lot.

    The banker is under a different kind of pressure to succeed and stay successful.
    He is like what the books in the 70s tried to get us to follow that blue print of success.

    As i get older—i value less and less in the way of things and more and more of peace and satisfaction for where i am and what i have created in this NOW time.

    My life is not perfect from the outside looking in but it is perfect from within me looking out.

    I Feel blessed to have lived my choices and i am making different choices every moment of life than in my 20’s or 30’s or even 60’s

    And, it is what it is for me.

    Thanks for this intriguing story—it has many layers and i will contemplate them for many days.

    I am blessed.

    • Adam King

      Thank you for sharing your perspective and story Terri. This reminds me of the times I was taking care of my sisters horses. The time when I learned carrying two 5 gallon buckets was easier than carrying one because of balance.

      To know the perspective of both of these people is to become them. That’s the very interesting and rewarding part of this entry.

      To see the stories of others, to become some of those pieces ourselves, and to create and re-create ourselves whenever and however we wish.

      I’ll keep them coming, but thanks again for sharing yourself.

      I’d love to hear more in the future. 🙂

    • Charles KinCannon

      Yes to be content on the journey whether at a given moment one is in the village or at the bank. I can choose to be content in either situation. Although I can experience the outdoors at a lesser level than I used to do, I can choose to be in either environment at a given moment.

      • Adam King

        Yes Charles, there is no limit to the mind and the spirit.

        I’ve been grateful for that more times than I can count.

  2. JoAnne

    Remember the scene in ‘Star Trek’ when Capt. Kirk beat the Kobiashi Maru (sp?) by changing the parameters of the game? If you can’t beat it, change the rules.

    Well, at first glance I picked the man in the village in Africa. Why? Because he had actual skills to survive. He could fend for himself – hunt, build, eat, put food on the table as it were, save his family from pestilence and at the same time feel loved and needed and of use to his fellow villagers. He had meaning to his life.

    Now, the man in Manhattan has worked hard to get where he is. And that is good. He is comfortable. But has he ever contemplated what it took for past civilizations to get him where he is? He relies on technology and things to give him worth and value. He has disassociated himself from nature and has no idea what to do “if” and “when” the power gets turned off. How many of us would know what to do if power went out and we had to contend with our refrigerators? Go to restaurants? They have no power either. Fighting and riots would ensue. Would we help our fellow man or would it be each man for him or herself first?

    But, and this is a big BUT….. the man from the village can teach the man from Manhattan how to survive. But can the man from Manhattan teach anything to the man in the village? How to make more money in the stock market?

    However, it IS nicer to sleep in a warm cozy bed. (I’ve slept in some wet sleeping bags in my time.) Not to have to worry about who is sleeping next to you to keep you warm. Where the bison and plants are that will help you to survive. Can’t grab a beer from the local eatery.

    I think we have lost touch with what is truly important. Yes, we need to evolve. But what we don’t know we don’t know. The man from the village has no knowledge of what the man from Manhattan knows. And the man from Manhattan has forgotten what the man from the village knows.

    We need to hold what we have evolved into without forgetting where we came from, else why would so many people want to take survival courses? We need to move forward without losing our past skills, except the ones that don’t serve us.

    Still want that cushy bed, though.

    • Adam King

      Excellent perspective Joanne. The question is a good one. “Can the man in the city teach the man in the village anything special?”

      The cool part (and purpose) of this article, is that the answer is yes.

      I know this because I have been both of these men at some point in my life.

      This is why I want to explore and share more….you know, change the rools a bit. (Misspelled on purpose.;)

      So yes, it’s time to learn both parts and see the forest between the trees….or is it the other way around?

  3. Angela

    To be successful, each man has developed abilities in evaluating the character and abilities of other people and working very well with what they see. Each man would have keenly developed ability to evaluate the environmental conditions that surround them. Different skills in handling stress and a different awareness of time would be perspectives that would be very valuable to them but be very different. The man in the village probably has a stronger and more finely tuned sense of seasons and generations whereas the man in the city may have a greater sense of minute to minute impact of time and know how to effectively manage compact events. It would seem that they both must manage many resources and many activities in their own lives and in relation to those around them so they would have strong interactive and survival skills on all levels.

    I visited with a small family living in Borneo Island jungles. They lived off the land entirely. To my surprise, they did not have a concept of “recreation”. You just live life…no work vs play…just live. I’ve also visited with people who lived in the city for so many generations, they no longer knew that eggs come from chickens. To them, food just comes from a store.

    They are both very successful in their environments. They have finely tuned interpersonal skills and they negotiate through their social structure very well with very different skill sets. Tools are sometimes different and sometimes the same. Transportation tools were boat vs car/bus. Each knows how to maintain that resource and use it effectively to reach their objectives. Each has the basic human needs combined with their own dreams and desires and interests and expresses them through their respective environment. It was such an eye opener to see how different and yet how much alike they are.

    I’ve tried to take a part of each perspective and put it into my own life. It helps to know the different perspectives when facing a new challenge in my current environment because it gives me at least double the resources and options to meet the challenge. A deeper understanding of the different skill sets would open so many more doors and windows!

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