Rip Parker
3 min readJan 7, 2022


An old but cherished Zen story is that of the monk’s new hat.

The monk rode his horse on the one street passing through the middle of town.

People on one side said, “Oh, what a beautiful red hat.” People on the other side of the street said, “Oh, what a beautiful blue hat.”

After passing through town, the monk heard a loud argument arising. People were screaming at each other “Red!!”, “No, Blue, you idiots. Have you gone color blind?”. “No”, the other side shouted. “You are either blind or simply looking for a fight. You treat us like fools”.

He rode back through town, and silence came over all. Now, the people saw what the other side had seen on the first ride through town.

The monk smiled, and stoped his horse in the middle of town. He removed his hat, and sat it on the ground, and all the witnesses looked down on it.

You guessed it. One side was bright red, the other bright blue.

Without a word spoken, the monk put his hat back on and rode back home, and the people quietly apologized to one another.

They were now wiser, and more tolerant of those who disagreed with their point of view.

— — —

A farmer had but one horse. It was his pride, and worked well with him. One day the horse disappeared. The neighbors sympathized. “Oh, what bad luck”, they all said.

The farmer replied, “We shall see”. The neighbors did not understand.

In a few days, the farmers horse returned followed by a beautiful wild horse. The farmer roped the wild horse and took it to a fenced area.

The neighbors said, “Oh, what a beautiful new horse. You are so lucky to now have two horses.”

The farmer replied, “We shall see”.

The farmers son set forth to break and tame the new wild horse. The horse through him, shattering his leg, and he would be permanently disabled, limping with every step.

“Oh, what bad luck”, all the neighbors said.

To their shock, again the farmer replied, “We shall see”.

War broke out in the land. The Emperor sent his top general through the country conscripting all able bodied men to fight on the front lines against a great army that outnumbered them badly. It was sure that none…

Rip Parker

Geophysicist, lawyer, mediator, student of Jung, phenomenology, semiotics