A Parable

The City lay in ruin.

It was not a storm or a plague or a marauding horde going over her walls, though. It was simply that the City was poorly planned, became prosperous quickly, and grew too fast from there. The sewers were overflowing, the highways clogged and impassable, whole areas had no infrastructure at all. There was no central plan and no building code. Some blocks had marble mansions built on foundations of sand, others had rows and rows of cardboard huts. It was failing, and all the People knew it.

In spite of this, demand to use the City was high. Merchants came from across the land to visit and use the City. While everyone agreed this couldn’t go on, it was undeniably working in spite of itself. Several older folk in the City did wonder, though, how much more Commerce could get done if the City weren’t a mess.

The Mayor knew of these problems, and so did the All-Powerful Council. And so they set out in search of a gifted Architect to come in and fix the City’s myriad woes. And lo, they did find their Architect. He was an experienced veteran, having built one magnificent, shining City from scratch, and fixed two others that were in disarray like this one. Everyone was pleased. The grizzled old Architect began doing his Research, making a Plan, and looking around to see which young Builders would help lead the effort to reclaim glory.

But one day there was a terrible, terrible Fire. It was exacerbated by the slum-like conditions of the City. Due to the crowding, the lack of infrastructure, and the youthful inexperience of many of the People, it took a long time to put out the Fire. Everyone, including the Architect, worked long, long hours to put it out and sort out the damage as much as possible to get Commerce flowing again. Many Merchants were extremely unhappy with the Fire; they took to the Twitter and spoke hotly of their displeasure.

So, the All-Powerful Council freaked out. They broke the Mayor’s kneecaps and put him in a barrel by the riverside, soon to be pushed in. And the All-Powerful Council told one of their Councilmen—the very one who had failed to plan the City in the first place, and who instilled a culture of Just Do It Fast—to “lead” the “rebuilding” effort.

That Councilman gave the Architect a broom and Instructions on how to prepare his Coffee.