Two Levels of Awareness
In the early days of the Aquarius Magazine, Vic Baranco wrote a column called Headtrip. This article was one of the earliest ones and was first published in June 1970
Ben Ali had been prosperous. He had raised three fine sons and amassed a fortune of seventeen camels before he died.
In his will he left his seventeen camels to his three sons and provided that the camels be divided thus: One-half of the camels to his eldest son, no more, no less; one-third of his camels to his second son, no more, no less; and one-ninth of his camels to his youngest son, no more, no less. And, oh yes, there was the stipulation that none of the camels be killed or dismembered.
The old man's body was solemnly and with great ceremony placed under the ground and the three sons returned to their father's corral to execute the terms of the will.
But Alas, the eldest son found he could not claim his inheritance; one-half of seventeen camels is eight and one-half camels. The second son too was at a loss for his inheritance of one-third of seventeen camels is five and two-thirds . And so with the youngest, for one-ninth of seventeen camels is but one and eight-ninths camels.
The three sons bickered and quarreled for hours and imposed on the oldest and wisest men of the village to solve the problem, or to interpret the will in a different way. But to no avail.
But then from out of the East rode a wise man, a magus, on an old camel. He noticed the quarrel and being enamored of problems, he listened care-fully to the dilemma of the three sons.
"I can solve your problem" he said, "but I will require of each of you a promise that you will be willing to hold two levels of awareness at once." And as it sounded like a painless requirement, the sons agreed.
Whereupon the wise man unbridled his own camel and drove him into the corral.
The eldest son arose in protest "My father had but seventeen camels; you may not solve our problem by such trickery."
The wise man, unruffled as if he expected the out-burst to occur replied "Ah, but you agreed to hold two levels of awareness at once. There are still seventeen camels in the corral. There are also eighteen camels in the corral. Are you going to keep your agreement with me and hold those two levels of awareness or are you going to return to your conflict?"
The three sons quickly agreed and became attentive to the wise man.
The magus continued. "Now there are eighteen camels in the corral, seventeen plus my own."
He then instructed the eldest son to claim his inheritance. And since one-half of eighteen is nin the eldest son got one-half more camel than the seventeen provided.
He then instructed the second son to claim his inheritance and since one-third of eighteen is six, he got one-third camel more.
He then instructed the youngest son to claim his ninth, which is two again more by one-ninth of a camel.
And since the eldest son's nine, plus the second son's six, plus the youngest son's two adds up to only seventeen, there was still one camel left in the corral.
This one the wise man slowly bridled and mounted and rode off into the West.