The Parable of the Cage

The dawn of freedom--digital-artOnce, on the air there lived a bird who loved to fly. The bird was not at all extraordinary or even beautiful, but all of its extraordinary beauty was seen in its flight. It loved to fly higher than any other bird even the prettier ones, as if it were not afraid of ever falling to the earth. And this bird was not afraid of falling to earth, for it never did, so skilled and adept it was at flying. As if flying were an extension of its thoughts, as if it were mate to the air and the air pleased to do its bidding. The bird would wrap the air round its body and wings in such ways that it could perform the most difficult feats with an unmeasured ease. The bird loved flying so much it did not build a nest for the clouds cradled it, it did not mate for the air was its soul mate, it rarely ate for the feel and view from the air sustained it.

mutationOnce in a while the bird would plummet to the earth as if it meant to crash headlong into it, but would flick a wing at the last moment and always the air was there to catch it so would soar once more into the depths of the sky. People would gather below to watch the bird and even the dullest of wit could recognize its art. But it was not the dullest of wit that sought to possess the bird and its artful flying, so planned to capture the bird on one of its rare plunges to the earth. A man, the cleverest of all the rest, devised a contraption that he may have the bird for his own use. He also built a cage, a special cage, customized for the bird and its special talents.

MadalenaOne day, everything done and after much stalking and careful observance, the man knew the bird made its plunges only on rainy days, for the bird adored the sun, so loved flying those days most. The next rainy day the man took his contraption and his plan down to the place where he knew the bird would plummet, and stood ready. The man placed his contraption on the ground, painted to camouflage the ground; gate open, painted to camouflage the earth. The bird, fooled by the disguise Prison Planetbecause it did not know harm could come by it on the ground, for it had grown accustomed by the air, sky, and sun, plummeted, but before it had chance to flick its wing to again take the air, it heard a clang and found itself trapped inside walls. The bird tried to escape but could not feel the support of the air in order to gain speed enough to burst through the walls. It would not have mattered, as the man was clever and fashioned the walls much too thick to break. So, the bird lay on the ground held fast by its gravity. Like this, the man carried the contraption, the cage, and its prisoner back home.

How do you interpret The Parable of the Cage, reader?

A.D. 2050*Image Credits (all work used with permission through CC license)–
“Caged” by Jeff Babbitt
“The dawn of freedom — digital-art” by balt-arts
“mutation” by Ozge Gurer
“Madalena” by Catarina Carneiro de Sousa
“Prison Planet” by Mark Rain
“A.D. 2050” by jaci Lopes dos Santos

13 thoughts on “The Parable of the Cage

  1. Man desires what he perceives to be lacking, when he already possesses everything within. Trying to capture the concept of freedom and joy is delusion, thus he cages his own potential for experiencing the very “object” that he desires. A very poignant picture for sure, like a canary in a minefield, the man is always checking himself for “air” – surveying the barren landscape of his mind, he’s already dead. Cleverness is not intelligence, far from “it”.
    Thanks for sharing this insightful parable, enjoy the sunlight NikotheOrb. ☼

    • And thank you for sharing your insightful comment. Yes, Man seeks to want more than what he has, even if what he has is adequate and enough; hence, this tendency to control or possess that which he does not own. I love your interpretation of this, you have seen more than I even intended.

      And the sunlight was most enjoyed this day, thank you. 🙂


  2. […] The Parable of the Cage ( […]

  3. Liberty is the bird, which reflects nature. Humanity desires control symbolised by the cage. Control destroys liberty, in its embrace all things die.

  4. I like Alex’s interpretation. It seems most humans do want to control all others around them. As a feminist, I associate the man with male domination, the bird as female. I probably shouldn’t, but it feels about right.

    • Yes, this can be interpreted as about control and selfishness, as well as entitlement to that which does not belong to one, or even the domination of beauty and of free living.

      The intention behind this parable was not that there was any right or wrong answer to its interpretation, but only that it could be interpreted in many ways according to the reader. Which means, your interpretation is right. 🙂

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  6. If I were such a bird, happily flying in a sky as if with my mate in ecstasy, well, I think that would be heaven. I’d not comprehend envy until captured by this cagey man that is described. Not knowing envy before, this would not stick then in my mind nor in my body. Freedom, I’d have known. Thus, freedom would I desire. I believe that I may close my eyes and recall freedom and ecstasy. Being as this is what life had been for me, this is what I must do. Acceptance is of course another matter. By this story, the bird has never come to acceptance of defeat, thus, knowing not this feeling, again it may not rest in mind and body long… still closing my eyes and recalling heaven would be my desire… so strongly indeed that I am sure that this acceptance would settle in to my mind and body. I believe the story is about the power of gratitude and being true to one’s self. The captor is a digression. Faith must prevail. Acceptance must translate the captured spirit into the recalling or living again the ecstasy of freedom and expression of one’s gifts towards a purpose — in this case represented by perfectly soring on the air.

    • Truly a beautiful and delightful interpretation of this parable.

      Yes, the power of gratitude and being true to one’s self; i.e., though caged, the bird never forgot what it was like to fly and kept trying despite the walls of the cage. That, although, sometimes we may feel caged, the ability and the act of soaring on the air (that freedom) never leaves us, even in memory.

      Thank you for the comment and describing your interpretation so wonderfully.

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