The Little Lemming Who Wouldn't
by Albert 1

# 1. 6/7/03 6:29 AM by Alan Adair
Jonathan Livingston Lemming.

Editor's Note: Well, at least one person gets it. Thanks muchly

# 2. 6/7/03 7:28 AM by Rooster
thumbsup.gif Nice story!

Now for some questions:

Will the lemming go the next time?

Based on our understanding of genetics, even if the little lemming told no one, if he produced offspring, wouldn't they be less likely to go over the cliff thus leading to less lemming loss?

I'm sure I'll have more later.

Editor's Note: A great teacher once said "Consciousness is the rising above one's nature."

Your recognition of a possibility of the evolutionary process relating to the story is right on. thanks for reading it that well.

# 3. 6/7/03 10:05 AM by Eileen
What a charmingly, touching and beautiful story, Albert, you have surprised me!

What else do you have up your sleeve?

Editor's Note: It wont be long before you find out. Do you think Lemmings could become an animated feature?

# 4. 6/7/03 1:06 PM by Jay - OR
thumbsup.gif A fun read, and I applaud. It is a good springboard for a philosophical discussion. Your fictional blending of a sentient consciousness into an instinct driven creature, however, I believe makes it virtually impossible to arrive at mutually acceptable conclusions.

Editor's Note: I never promised that one size would fit all. Better a "coat of many colors"

# 5. 6/8/03 12:47 PM by Lana
albert...this is great...if you are really interested in the concept of this becoming an animated video, feel free to contact me at my email address...i am hooked up with a computer animation company that is producing an animated video right now....i am doing voice work...they are legit and awesome.....let me know.

Editor's Note: Watch your mailbox! :)))

# 6. 6/9/03 6:18 AM by Rooster
If the lemmings will eventually evolutionarily lose their "drive" to follow the masses, why not "spread the good word" now?

Editor's Note: They will also need to see the value of birth control or war? perhaps. Starving is a poor option.

# 7. 6/9/03 3:17 PM by Rooster
I agree about the overpopulation possibility, but was more concerned regarding the little lemming. Is he being "selfish" in that he does not want it to occur in his lifetime? Is he being paternalistic in trying to hide the difficulties that lie ahead? Are you suggesting that the free-flow of knowledge is not always a good thing?

Are you discounting the possibility that sentient lemmings can cope with alternative situations?

Editor's Note: If I were to add a second chapter I would have him father two children who both survive. In the third chapter he would start a Nevernod chapter of Planned Parenthood.

He might also challenge the ancient taboo of never asking questions

Your implication that he could change it in his lifetime is not inconsistent, He could begin as a conservative then go to college and become a liberal.

(the liberal in me couldn't resist those two:)

The technique of making gunpowder was learned by me prior to the libraries removing such material. I am definitly anti-censorship, one of Canada's differences with us is that they censor pretrial news in controversial cases but there are times it is more wise to be pragmatic than idealistic.

# 8. 6/9/03 9:37 PM by Rooster
Ok, now I am more confused about the point of your story. I still agree with the possibility of overpopulation (you had me at "lemming" :)). I question why the little lemming kept the information to himself (and why this is considered "wiz"dom).

Forgive me, but I also don't understand the conservative/liberal issue that you raised. Is it that you consider me conservative?

Editor's Note: don't know you well enough to how conservative or liberal you might be on general social or economic issues.I am sure you are aware of the rise in the intensity of sniping between liberals and conservatives since there is no more Soviet Union to attack or fear.Your questions seem sincere rather than just challenging (I don't like games that much) so I will continue a dialog on this issue till one of us gets tired of it. No one has ever questioned me to this length on the story-it helps, thanks-ever try writing your own?

After midnite there will be another story to sink your teeth in and gnaw to death.

Generally conservatives hate the Planned Parenthood group as they feel that the only birth control should be abstinance. It is also ageneral tendancy for more conservative students entering college than vice-versa this of course varys with the specific college. I never equated the lemming nature of not passing information or allowing questions but I guess you might equate this with easrly Roman Church where they didnt want lay people to own or read their own Bibles so they could better control the interpretation .

I am not sure at what point of the story Little Lemming was witholding info. He did stop asking questions since that was a taboo in their society.

Again it could be an allegory for a society or religion where people are not allowed to question leaders or their bad policies.

Basic point of the story= if there is doubt ask questions and dont follow the herd unless you know here its headed.

Also dont continue a tradition that might not be best for you as an individual unless of course you are drafted into your countries service selfish? perhaps.

The story could also warn about dangerous traditions.

# 9. 6/10/03 5:06 AM by Rooster
Thanks for your explanations. I thought that there was some deeper meaning to the story, because it didn't make sense to me why the little lemming after questioning so much would just stop and "accept" things the way they were (much like many conservatives (I couldn't resist :) )).

Editor's Note: Not questioninf authority was said to work in the army but while I served I was told the Americans beat the Germans (very conservative) by being able to think independantly when the situation demanded. With the Nazis they had a strong army and good weapons but depended on command structure too much.were lost da

# 10. 4/15/04 6:32 PM by netta de politie
Nicely written.
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.
Oliver Wendall Holmes

Editor's Note: Wow - It took about 20 seconds to sink in.

From a slightly different perspective that space or period of time called "the moment" is something I have written much on and have constructed a chart I will show you some day.

I guess my point when I wrote Lemmings was that death is natural and necessary but we don't have to follow the crowd over the cliff if we "wake up"

# 11. 8/23/07 6:50 AM by Brian B
Would you agrre that mans ability to save more lemmings could throw a wrench in the evolutionary process? The so called "dumbing down" of society. Whats the better side of the scale? Saving those who would have parted or the technology that saves them. I am for the most part a darwin fan. Exception being when a cross section of people have been held back thus eliminating the "natural" part of the selction. Some would say its still natural because if they were smart enough they would find away from under the thumb. I believe short term survival instinct overides long term evolution and thus the unbalancing of the "natural" Scale.

Editor's Note: "Little Lemming" realized this deeper aspect of the story when he was asked how his world would be if none went over the cliff..

# 12. 4/23/08 7:39 PM by Jonathan
thumbsup.gif Very cool story. I see several themes in it I wish to ask about, but I have to run at the moment so I'll be back. :-) Thanks!

Editor's Note: I have lots of time (I think) so fire away when you get a chance.

# 13. 4/23/08 10:22 PM by Jonathan
Okay, here's a bit of what I got. I avoided author's intent (I don't particularly believe in it. I like more to dissect the the story on it's own.)

The lemmings that ask questions perpetuate the system and justify the perpetuation through rationalization. The rationale is then accepted without question by the newly inducted lemmings which didn’t leap over the cliff. This rationale seems sound at first but two things show the flaw inherent in it.

First the lemmings state that they have the purpose of sustaining the population, that in some way they were chosen to carry on the population. They are the elite with a morbid initiation process. They acknowledge that they would be a dead species if every one of them went over the edge, But they don’t consider altering the tradition so the problem doesn’t present them.

They justify this with they’re second “question”. Second the lemmings state that the population would grow too big to be supported by the land. This implies that the lemmings need this extreme form of population control. The flaw here is the same as the first; the questioning lemmings don’t question but accept right out the rationale. They don’t consider alternate population control methods, expansion to other lands, or even researching ways to increase food production with less land.

The lemmings use their rationale to assume the role of shepherds and tradition keepers. And though they are questioning by nature, after their induction they cling to the tradition as the survivor of shipwreck would a life-raft. It is their only link to their innocence state pre-induction.

The story also speaks of Little Lemming as a chosen one, because he didn’t go over the edge and always questioned. However, he didn’t choose to not leap, he tripped and witnessed. It was after an accident that he chooses, after he knew the full facts, not before, like his friends. It could be argued that it was either predestined or coincidence that the lemming survived. So he may not have been destined to live.

The Little Lemmings parents, too, cling to tradition to such a degree that they hold it before the safety of their child. Though they know what is coming, they don’t warn their child because it involves questions and answers which are against tradition. They and the whole of Lemming culture illustrate the dangers of blindly following traditions. And the quickly accepted rationale shows the dangers of blindly substituting one tradition for another.

So in the end we are left asking, was the Little Lemming better off in the end? He’s alive but just as trapped by tradition as he was before the leap.

Okay, it may not be what you meant, but that's some of what I saw. It's a great story. Very cool, and well written.

Editor's Note: Wow, responding to your comments are a guarantee against alzheimers. I turn 70 this year and welcome all the help I can get.

Without any delay, here goes: Paragraph 2. Good observations Paragraph 4. Hard to totally follow the connections.

Paragraph 5. Predestination or fate vs. free will.

Paragraph 6. Probably the best analysis of my motives for writing the story.

Paragraph 7. Must ponder on this further. If you please remind me in a month or two.

Thanks very sincerely, Jonathan

# 14. 11/28/08 7:59 AM by Sharon - Chili, NY
Very nice, Albert. I saw on the news this morning that people were waiting from midnight on to get into Kohl's at 4 am. Unbelievable.

Editor's Note: I heard that police were called for the Wal mart in Geneseo early this morning

# 15. 11/28/08 12:01 PM by TOV
I read it allegorically.

What separates man from Lemmings is his pursuit of an understanding to the great mysteries of life; Lemmings are flawed.

Editor's Note: There is a good argument that man isn't so perfect either.

# 16. 3/23/10 1:49 AM by M.E. - Spencer,N>Y>
thumbsup.gif Surprised! Yes. It sounds like a lot of what I'm going through in my own life What a timely story. I really liked it and thank you for the repost.

I never knew your fiction could be so good.

Editor's Note: Hi M.E and a welcome to the world of WOTL on line as a newbie surfer but not so new real live friend.

I wonder how many more went to the same school you and I have..

You will find this place to be a hot kitchen but know you aren't a beginner at "home cooking"

LCS also has had its moments of savage amusement.

I feel I have a bit of an advantage knowing the real you rather than just another anon keyboard typist.

I only wish I could come up with a story like that at the snap of my fingers but have learned it only happens when the spirit moves me.

Thanks for the comment

# 17. 3/23/10 4:23 PM by little john
thumbsup.gif I believe I read this before but did not comment. It reminds me of many epochs of my life and of history.

There is this certainty with which mankind gathers and commits, and jumps off on conclusions, which they few left behind later realize were based on faulty premises.

I am one of those who wants to follow the crowd, but do not. I am contrary to the thinking of the majority. I hear a different drummer. And I am here only today, because of that foolish desire TO BE different.

Good story Albert. Definitely publishable material. A good short story for any school.

Editor's Note: It will be the crowning piece of my book but I really think it would make a good animated cartoon.

One avantage of WOTL is that is now copyrighted.

Thanx John

# 18. 12/30/12 9:32 AM by AC
Loved it!

Very close to evolution except that surviving lemmings typically have no idea they didn't go over the cliff. Ironically, modern lemmings now have nukes and other WMDs and the "cliff" is delivered by a rocket or the barrel of a gun...still as random though.

Editor's Note: thanks AC

# 19. 12/30/12 9:55 AM by little john - Mount Morris, NY
thumbsup.gif Dress right; dress...

Right face...

Forward March;;;

( into the Ides of March in tides of March...)

Sheep to the left,

lemmings to the right;

forward march...

And a voice in my head just says, "To the rear, March." and then my mind goes to the left oblique and then right oblique, and then I even Mark time for a while...

"What in Hell was we thinking?" Maybe it seemed like a good idea at the time, but on second thought, marching to THAT drummer was a bad idea...

Editor's Note: Buth the tune was catchy!

# 20. 9/8/13 6:52 AM by little john - Mount Morris, NY
thumbsup.gif I enjoyed rereading this column. Definitely a two thumbs up vote from Siskel and Ebert...

Editor's Note: I thought they were dead. Thanks John

# 21. 9/8/13 6:24 PM by little john - Mount Morris, NY
thumbsup.gif The thumbs up is a permanent image of rigor--mortis... No one want to die with a thumbs down signal to the grim reaper...

Editor's Note: Agreed

# 22. 5/25/16 7:20 AM by 104
Lemmings have very little redeeming value. There ain't enough meat on a whole herd of them to fill a cavity. They are, however, "grass fed", which probably makes them more healthy to eat. Weasels, ermines, and snowy owls eat them, as well as arctic foxes. When there is a shortage of lemmings, whole herds of those predators collapse. It took humans to eradicate the buffalo herds, in turn eradicating the Native American "threat". Then the Native Americans, most notably the Mohawks, turned into drunks who work on high steel. Many high steel workers are drunks who get their courage out of a bottle. They build tall skyscrapers in Manhattan with huge floor plates.

Editor's Note: Bottom line: Life goes on regardless or despite our opinion as to why and/or how. The ''WHY'' remains the most interesting question.

# 23. 5/25/16 7:32 AM by 104
Reads like the 1985 Macitosh Office commercial entitled "Lemmings".

Editor's Note: Indont recall seeing that one. I did however see a movie but can't recall its name that came out around 1958. It showed some wierd but interesting occurrances from around rhe World including lemmings pouring over a cliff.

# 24. 5/25/16 7:34 AM by 104
Conformity is essential to the Progessives Master Plan. Common Core?

Editor's Note: In my opinion Common Core is one method of acheiving at least a minimal standard of education. across all FiftynStates. The first step is to rate students for proficiencymwhich could lead to an effort of conformity. I Am aware rhat if states were left to their own devices huge deficiencues in basic education like marhematic reading etc would continue tonexist. could you suggest a less scary method for correcting this problem thar does not shortchange large segments of our current youth? Of course CC has problems because it is new and threatens certain groups agendas. The problems with CC can be addressed without throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Your anti progressive bias could have been argued just as well from my persoective and might become more evident when you understand whyba certain segment of extreme Conservatives oppose Trump. He threatens the existing power structure. so does CC . The Conservative agenda is no less real than the Progressive or Liberal one. before you say it I will Denial is not a river in Egypt.

Much of my writing concerns a Christo-Fascist agenda that to me is much more imbedded in American society than any Liberal or Progressive one.

# 25. 5/25/16 7:42 AM by 104
1985, not 1984 Macintosh Super Bowl Commercial. Some of us were in an involuntary coma.

Editor's Note: Details on that coma if you please as I Am sincerely interested.

# 26. 5/25/16 8:24 AM by little john - mount morris
thumbsup.gif Thanks for reposting. A timeless piece of literary art...

Made me think of the pied piper of trump in hamlet's line...

Editor's Note: He may lead all the Tea Partiers to their just reward. His supporters see in him what they choose to including yours truly who sees more I like than what I don't. Time will tell

include comments