The Gardener Parable
" Two people return to their long-neglected garden & find among the weeds a few of the old plants surprisingly vigorous.
One says to the other "It must be that a gardener has been
coming & doing something about these plants."
Upon inquiry they find that no neighbor has ever seen anyone at work in their garden.
The first man says to the other: "He must
have worked while people slept."
The other says, "No, someone would have heard him & besides, anybody who cared about the plants would have kept down these weeds."
The first man says, "Look at the way these are arranged. There
is purpose & a feeling for beauty here. I believe that someone comes,
someone invisible to moral eyes. I believe that the more carefully we look the
more we shall find confirmation of this."
They examine the garden ever so carefully
& sometimes they come on new things suggesting that a gardener comes
& sometimes they come on new things suggesting the contrary
& even a malicious person has been at work.
Besides examining the garden carefully
they also study what happens to gardens left without attention.
Each learns all the other learns about this and about the garden.
Consequently, when after all this, one says: "I still believe a gardener comes"
while the other says "I don't"
Their different words now reflect
no difference as to what they have found in the garden,
no difference as to what they would find in the garden if they looked further
& no difference about how fast untended gardens fall into disorder.
At this stage , in this context,
the gardener hypothesis has ceased to be experimental,
the difference between one who accepts & one who rejects it
is not now a matter of the one expecting
something the other does not expect.
What is the difference between them?
The one says, " A gardener comes unseen &
unheard. He is manifested only in his works with which we are all familiar,"
the other says "There is no gardener"
and with this difference in what they say about the gardener
goes a difference in how they feel towards the garden,
in spit of the fact that neither expects anything of it which the
other does not expect. "