The Parable of the Long Spoons: Survival through Sharing

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The parable of the long spoons is folklore in many cultures. It depicts two version of a banquet, one in heaven and one in hell. 

In the latter, guests only try to feed themselves and can't because the spoons are too long. In the former, they feed each other and thrive. The teaching is often attributed to Rabbi Haim of Romshishok, among others, with variations on the theme befitting the different times and cultures in which it appears.

With an undeniable moral of sharing, the parable of the long spoons encourages the nurturing of others as a means of nurturing ourselves. It's the ethic of reciprocity -- aka the Golden Rule -- in story form. In the exact same setting, one group perishes and one group thrives... all based on how they treat each other.

In this animated video for their “One Human Family, Food for All” campaign, Caritas Internationalis uses the allegory of the long spoons to illustrate how we are all in this together.

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