Once upon a time in a land far, far away, there lived a very strange king. The king’s strangeness was immediately apparent upon seeing him. He wore a very odd crown. It was in fact a very shiny saw sunk halfway through his head.
Once a week, the king made a special public appearance to show off his crown. Very slowly and with dramatic flair, the king pushed the crown ever so slightly deeper into his head. If it caused any pain, he didn’t show it.
The deeper the king pushed the crown into his head, the more that the people shouted their support.
And every week the king uttered the same words:
My fellow countrymen, long ago I made the decision to cut off my head because, as you know, I believe deeply in the separation of the head and the body. An open mind not only requires an empty head, but no head at all.
I am willing to suffer anything if it will help to protect my people against the ‘evil ones.’ You all know who they are.
Once I made the decision to cut off my head, I had no choice but to follow through because not to do so would only send the wrong message to the enemies of our freedom-loving way of life. I am not one to cut and run. I will stay the course until we have succeeded.
We will never stop cutting off our heads until we have won the war against the enemies of freedom-loving peoples everywhere. Were we to stop now, it would not only embolden our enemies, but it would send the wrong message to our brave soldiers. Isn’t it obvious that if we don’t cut off our own heads here at home, our enemies will cut them off over there?
Furthermore, I will not give a timetable as to when the job will be done. That, too, would only encourage our enemies. Let me just say that I will completely cut off my head when I am confident that it is no longer needed.
Of course, not everyone was pleased with the king’s decision. In fact, many people resented it deeply. They especially resented those who showed their support for the king by voluntarily wearing similar crowns. There were even rumors that late at night when the people were fast asleep, the king’s guards had crept into their houses and had sunk crowns into the heads of the occupants. Those who were opposed to such actions were outraged. It clearly represented unauthorized “head taps.” They also objected that it violated the traditional separation between heads and state. But it was all to no avail.
And so, inch-by-inch, year after year, the king kept sinking the crown deeper and deeper into his head until finally one day, he succeeded in completely cutting off his head, along with those of his citizens.
Moral: It is better to change one’s mind than it is to cut off one’s head.
Of course, this assumes that one has a mind to begin with!