The fisherman who knew how to live

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THE FISHERMAN WHO KNEW HOW TO LIVE

October 16, 2012

A smartly-dressed enterprising tourist is taking photographs when he notices a shabbily dressed local fisherman taking a nap in his fishing boat. The tourist is disappointed with the fisherman’s apparently lazy attitude towards his work, so he approaches the fisherman and asks him why he is lying around instead of catching fish.
The fisherman explains that he went fishing in the morning, and the small catch would be sufficient for the next two days.  The tourist tells him that if he goes out to catch fish multiple times a day, he would be able to buy a motor in less than a year, a second boat in less than two years, and so on.

he tourist further explains that one day, the fisherman could even build a small cold storage plant, later a pickling factory, fly around in a helicopter, build a fish restaurant, and export lobster directly to Paris without a middleman.  The nonchalant fisherman asks, “Then what?”  The tourist enthusiastically continues, “Then, without a care in the world, you could sit here in the harbor, doze in the sun, and look at the glorious sea.”  “But I’m already doing that”, says the fisherman.

The enlightened tourist walks away pensively, with no trace of pity for the fisherman, only a little envy.

Source: Anecdote concerning the Lowering of Productivity in by Heinrich Boll (author), Leila Vennewitz (translator) The Collected Stories of Heinrich Boll, pages 794-796

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