Picture if you will the scene:
A lovely spring day in the country. A gentle warm breeze. The spring smells of first flowers, rich earth, fresh air.
Bees buzz, birds sing and off in the distance a dog barks.
And here is Plodder. He is a draught horse. Big and strong, reliable and loyal. He has been working the land here for most of his life. He doesn’t think about it much, it is just the way it is.
Farmer Brown comes to his stall in the morning, brushes him down, gives him his oats and chats about the plans for the day. Pull the cart in the morning into the woods to get some timber. Stroll into town to pick up some supplies and enjoy the pats and admiration of the local children. Plough the home paddock, pulling the plough behind him with his strong legs working, Farmer Brown focussing his attention on keeping the furrows straight.
Not a bad life.
Plodder doesn’t want for much. He is fed and watered. He has a roof over his head. Farmer Brown is not overly harsh or quick with the whip.
Yes. Life is pretty good for Plodder.
One other thing, whenever Plodder is out and about, Farmer Brown makes sure he puts a pair of blinkers on him. They are comfortable enough. They sit on either side of his intelligent eyes, keeping him focussed on the task at hand, gazing ahead wherever Farmer Brown chooses to turn him with the old bridle. Plodder looks this way and that, down at the rich brown earth, out along the road into town, back down the track to the barn. Farmer Brown seems to know what is best at any given moment, and Plodder takes it in his big gentle stride, happy enough.
This is how Plodder has always seen the world outside the barn. Ever since he was a foal he was trained to accept the blinkers without question. Farmer Brown ensured that Plodder wore the blinkers, that Plodder worked for Farmer Brown, and that in return Farmer Brown would ensure that Plodder was not too uncomfortable, and had the occasional reward for his good work. Farmer Brown got the benefits of Plodder’s hard work, and gave Plodder a fraction of the profit for his trouble in the way of oats and rub downs and the odd sugar cube.
Good old Plodder.
But imagine Plodder’s surprise if he could take his blinkers off. If he could see to each side, to wherever he wanted to turn his head? I wonder if he would be so content with his lot. Ploughing the field, pulling the cart, living in the barn. Doing what he has been taught from birth is the right thing to do.
Would he willingly put those blinkers back on or would he want to see the world his way? Would he prefer to be told what to do and when and how to do it by Farmer Brown, or would he start to think that maybe Farmer Brown was just using him to turn a profit for himself, giving just enough back to Plodder to stop him from being too discontent?
The problem, you see, is that once you take off the blinkers that we have all been told we need to wear, it is impossible to live the rest of your life as if they were still on.