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Kierkegaard's Complacent Duck

There was a Danish philosopher named Kierkegaard whose writings are weighty and tough to read. But that deep thinker one time told a simple parable that describes how easy it is to slide into complacency.

According to his parable, one Spring, a duck was flying north with a flock. In the Danish countryside that particular duck spotted a barnyard where tame ducks lived. The duck dropped down and he discovered these ducks had wonderful corn to eat. So he stayed for an hour....then for the day....a week then went by and a month. And because the corn and the safe barnyard were so fine, our duck ended up staying the whole Summer at that farm. Then one crisp Fall day, some wild ducks flew overhead, quacking as they winged their way south. He looked up and heard them -- and he was stirred with a strange sense of joy and delight. And then, with all his might he began flapping his wings and rose into the air, planning to join his comrades for the trip south.

But all that corn had made the duck both soft and heavy -- and he couldn't manage to fly any higher than the barn roof. So he dropped back to that barnyard and he said to himself, "Oh well, my life here is safe and the food is good!" After that in the Spring and in the Fall, that duck would hear wild ducks honking as they passed overhead -- and for a minute, his eyes would look and gleam -- he'd start flapping his wings almost without realizing it...but then a...

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