Skip to content

Two kinds of people

19 June 2009

According to Elder Paisius the Athonite there are two kinds of people:

I know from experience that in this life people are divided in two categories. A third category does not exist; people either belong to one or the other. The first one resembles the fly. The main characteristic of the fly is that it is attracted by dirt. For example, when a fly is found in a garden full of flowers with beautiful fragrances, it will ignore them and will go sit on top of some dirt found on the ground. It will start messing around with it and feel comfortable with the bad smell. If the fly could talk, and you asked it to show you a rose in the garden, it would answer: “I don’t even know what a rose looks like. I only know where to find garbage, toilets and dirt.” There are some people who resemble the fly. People belonging to this category have learned to think negatively and always look for the bad things in life, ignoring and refusing the presence of good.

The other category is like the bee whose main characteristic is to always look for something sweet and nice to sit on. When a bee is found in a room full of dirt and there is a small piece of sweet in a corner, it will ignore the dirt and will go to sit on top of the sweet. Now, if we ask the bee to show us where the garbage is, it will answer: “I don’t know. I can only tell you where to find flowers, sweets, honey and sugar; it only knows the good things in life and is ignorant of all evil.” This is the second category of people who have a positive thinking and see only the good side of things. They always try to cover up the evil in order to protect their fellow men; on the contrary, people in the first category try to expose the evil and bring it to the surface. When someone comes to me and starts accusing other people and puts me in a difficult situation, I tell him the above example. Then, I ask him to decide to which category he wishes to belong, so he may find people of the same kind to socialize with.

(Hat-tip to Salt of the earth)

4 Comments leave one →
  1. David permalink
    19 June 2009 8:19 am

    I am troubled by what might seem like wisdom but which turns sour in my stomach. Who am I, but when someone says the sky is green (elder or no) I must disagree.

    Even if such an oversimplification were meaningful it isn’t helpful. I would prefer the route of compassion for those who carry such a burden, not estrangement.

    My own experience is that I was tossed to and fro by the whims of joy and sorrow for most of my life and have chosen instead to discard both for a third, superior path of tranquility.

    • 27 April 2010 9:26 am

      I don’t think that the elder was referring to joy and sorrow, but rather to love and resentment.

  2. 19 June 2009 6:09 pm


  3. 26 April 2010 6:26 pm

    Love the illustration. I will use it over and over till Jesus calls me home.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: