PARABLE OF A PROPHET
Once upon an unspecified time ago there lived a great prophet.
Like all great prophets he was a human being. Like all human
beings he made mistakes. Nonetheless, in terms of the numbers of
people who came under the sway of his teachings, he was one of the
greatest prophets of history. He spoke of brotherhood, justice,
Like all prophets, among those who listened to his teachings there
were very few who actually understood what he was saying, though
many feigned understanding. When he died his vision died with him.
Of his surviving followers none had the prophet's uncanny ability
to define the problems which confronted them, nor his phenomenal
capacity to overcome those problems, nor his energy, conviction,
and devotion to his vision.
After the passing of the prophet, his immediate disciples tried, to
the best of their abilities, to keep their master's vision alive.
They chose some particularly memorable phrases which the prophet
had uttered and repeated them to the people. These phrases quickly
became slogans. They were endlessly repeated by people who never
really gave any thought to the ideals behind the words. So great
a prophet was this man that only two generations from the time he
passed away, his vision of Utopia, perverted by lack of reflection,
had made such inroads into the minds of the masses that he and his
slogans were already well known.
An evil demon, who happened to be wandering through the world,
noticed the impact which the prophet had made upon the people of
the nation. The demon decided to use the situation for his own
evil ends. The demon, as all demons, had all the energy,
conviction, and devotion of any prophet. The difference was that
prophets are devoted to ideals, while demons are devoted to idols.
An idol is anything which flatters a demon's ego. So, to flatter
his vanity, the demon took the well-rooted slogans of the prophet,
and spoke to the people through these slogans.
The demon said: "Justice, Brotherhood, Peace." And the people
never bothered to look behind his words. As he spoke he wove a
strong but subtle web about himself.
One day, when Fate smiled, and his web was strong enough, the demon
tore the mask off his words, snared the people in his web, and
The prophet was Karl Marx.
The demon was Joseph Stalin.
The web is the Communist Party.