About me
Archive
About me

Balancing an egg on end

There’s a quaint Chinese legend which says that raw eggs can be stood on end at the vernal and autumnal equinoxes—that is, today. I first came across this in season four of The West Wing, in the appropriately named episode Evidence of Things Not Seen.

Most superstitions try to convince people that the impossible can happen under specific circumstances. What I really like about the egg myth is that the exact opposite is true: it’s perfectly possible to balance an egg on its end on any given day of the year (particularly if the egg is first vigorously shaken). The myth is in the restriction to a specific date, not the action itself.

It’s this aspect of the legend that makes me want to revisit it regularly. In life, I think that myths more frequently work this way round. I find that people far more often build up a sense of challenge and foreboding around straightforward tasks than insist that the impossible can be done if only specific circumstances applied—and certainly, I think it’s human nature to think this way when looking ahead to events in our own lives.

The legend is a good reminder that we shouldn’t get distracted by the social mythology that gets built up around stuff, and we shouldn’t give into our own fears about future events. There are enough barriers and hurdles in the world without imagining ones that don’t really exist.


The photo at the top is my own, originally published on 20 March 2012. In retrospect, I should probably have tidied the kitchen table a bit before taking the photo.

This 2,414th post was filed under: Posts delayed by 12 months, , , .

Some recently published posts

Knowledge and understanding / April 2019, 7 minutes long

‘Inappropriate’ A&E attendances / April 2019, 3 minutes long

Cruise ships and me / April 2019, 6 minutes long

Some thoughts on print newspapers / April 2019, 5 minutes long

What I’ve been reading this month / April 2019, 4 minutes long

Some random old posts

It’s a services world / February 2014, Less than a minute long

Swing Update / April 2005, Less than a minute long

What I’ve been reading this month / November 2018, 3 minutes long

Swing Update / April 2005, Less than a minute long

What I’ve been reading this month / May 2018, 5 minutes long

A worm’s eye view / March 2005, 2 minutes long


Comments and responses

No comments or responses to this post have been published yet.

Compose a new comment



Comment

You may use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong> .

If you would like to display a profile picture beside your comment, sign up for Gravatar, and enter your email address above.

By submitting your comment, you confirm that it conforms to the site's comment policy. Comments are subject to both automatic and human moderation, and may take some time to appear.



The content of this site is copyright protected by a Creative Commons License, with some rights reserved. All trademarks, images and logos remain the property of their respective owners. The accuracy of information on this site is in no way guaranteed. Opinions expressed are solely those of the author. No responsibility can be accepted for any loss or damage caused by reliance on the information provided by this site. This site uses cookies - click here for more information.