This Short Tale will Make You Look at Life Differently

4 January 2016

The Tale of Two Men Climbing Out of a Chimney and How it Will Make You Look At Life Differently

Have you ever heard this logical question about the tale of two men climbing out of a chimney?

If you haven’t, this should be fun, you might walk away with something deep that will make you reconsider at least some things in your life.

The purpose of Alux is to enlighten and help each other to become the best version of ourselves possible, that’s why we have such a strong focus on Fine Living.

So today I’ll tell you a story, follow along and see how would you come about it!

Here’s the Tale of Two Men Climbing Out of a Chimney

Once, a young Jewish person approached a famous New York rabbi and said that he wanted to study the Talmud.

— ’Do you speak Aramaic’? the rabbi asked.

— ’No, I don’t.’

— ’How about Hebrew’?

— ’No’.

— ’Did you, at least, study the Torah as a child’?

— ’No, rabbi, I didn’t. You have nothing to worry about. I graduated from UC Berkeley and recently defended a thesis on the philosophy of Socrates. Now, I decided to fill in some blank spots, and for that purpose, I want to study the Talmud.’

— ’You are not ready to study the Talmud’, the rabbi said. ’It’s the most profound book of all. I will give you a test first, if you insist. If you pass the test, I will teach you more.’

The young man agreed, and the rabbi continued:

— ’Two men are climbing out of a chimney. One’s face is clean, the other’s is dirty. Which man will wash his face?’

The young man was absolutely confused by the question, and asked:

— ’Is this question supposed to test my logic’?

The rabbi nodded.

— ’Clearly, the first one to wash his face will be the man with a dirty face.’

— ’Wrong! Think logically. The «dirty man» will look at his companion with a clean face and will assume that his face is also clean. The «clean man» will look at the man with a dirty face and assume that his face is also dirty. In other words, the man with a clean face will wash his face.’

— ’What a tricky question!’ the young man noted. ’Alright, rabbi, give me another one.’

— ’As you say, young man. Two men are coming out of a chimney. One’s face is clean, the other’s is dirty. Which man will wash his face?’

— ’Wait, we already found out that the man with a clean face will wash his face.’

— ’That is not correct. Both men will wash their faces. The «clean man» will look at the man with a dirty face. He will assume that his face is also dirty. So, the man with a clean face will wash his face first. Then, the «dirty man» will notice that the man with a clean face washed his face, and will also wash his.’

— ’Oh…I didn’t even think about that. I can’t believe I made another mistake! Rabbi, please give me another question.’

— ’Alright. Two men are coming out of a chimney. One’s face is clean, the other’s is dirty. Which man will wash his face?’

— ’Well… We just talked about it; both men will wash their faces.’

— ’You’re wrong yet again! Neither of the two men will wash his face. Think logically. The «dirty man» will look at the man with a clean face. He will assume that his face is clean and won’t wash it. The «clean man » will see that the «dirty man» is not washing his face and won’t wash it either.’

That answer upset the young man.

— ’Please rabbi, have some faith in me! I know that I’m clever enough to study the Talmud. Ask me something else’!

— ’Alright. Two men are coming out of a chimney…’

— ’Neither of them will wash his face’!

— ’You’re wrong, again. Have you realized that understanding Socrates is not enough for you to study the Talmud? Explain to me how two people are coming out of the chimney, and one man is dirty and another one is not? Don’t you see? This question is nonsense!If you spend your whole life asking the wrong questions, your answers will lead you nowhere.’

the tale of two men climbing out of a chimney on alux
The Tale of Two Men Climbing Out of a Chimney: Alux’s visualization of the two men outside the chimney.

Hopefully, The Tale of Two Men Climbing Out of a Chimney made you think about a few things and re-evaluate the way you look at the world Aluxer! If you want more, check out Tina’s Story about How Everyone has Their “Stuck in the Closet” Moment, it’s a lot of fun and most of you guys shared it.