The gifts we were bringing, of course, were the invisible
gifts of knowledge. They could not see but they could, at least,
listen and learn about this knowledge. So much knowledge,
in fact, were we bringing them that we hardly knew where to
begin. Yet as we noticed that many of them were nervously
chain-smoking and coughing away, we decided to begin with
the gift of good health.
“Dear grown-ups, we would like to tell you about Hippocrates.”
“Hippocrates?” they all repeated, blinking their eyes at
this unknown word and smoking more rapidly.
“Hippocrates”, we started to explain, “is the name of a
forgotten father of Western medicine. He taught us long ago
about the proper diet and about living balanced lives with-”
“Oh, yeah. We know all about balanced diets”, they interrupted
as they proudly raised their packet of cigarettes with
one hand and loudly rattled their bottle of pills with the other.
“See? We smoke regularly to perk ourselves up and we also
take our daily dose of pills to keep our blood pressure down.”
Ahh, why must the old be so old and set in their ways?
Why can’t they learn something new from others?
“Dearest grown-ups”, we continued, still trying to enlighten
them, “we will now tell you about democracy.”
“Ah, yes democracy”, they all repeated, again puffing
themselves up proudly. “It’s a modern, super-modern invention,
you know, and we’re the generation that invented it.”
Ah, fellow children, are you beginning to see how hopeless
our mission is? We moved on to the Ninth Commandment;