Metaphors

QUESTION #3: What is your value system?

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Option #1

Before the circle, invite each participant to prepare two short eulogies about themselves: one that says what you imagine would be said about your life as it truly is right now; the second, what you would like to be said about your life.

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Option #2

Charlie and Linda are very much in love and devoted to one another and live on opposite sides of an island. One night, there is a storm that causes a small stream to flood and turn into a dangerous river. Now Charlie and Linda are separated by a river with no way of getting across to the other side.

On Linda’s side of the river, there is a boatman who is able to take her over to the other side of the river but will not do so unless she sleeps with him. Linda refuses and goes down the river and finds a friend of the boatman who has a boat of his own. Linda asks for a ride but the friend refuses, explaining that he doesn’t want to get involved. So Linda finally agrees to sleep with the boatman who, in turn, takes her over to the other side of the river.

When she is reunited with Charlie, Linda tells him the entire story.  On learning what she has done, Charlie ends things with her, stating that he is disgusted and wants nothing more to do with her.

Saddened, Linda goes down the road and finds a stranger who, upon hearing how Charlie treated Linda, finds Charlie and beats him up, while Linda stands to the side with a slight grin on her face.

Rank the five characters according to how much you sympathize with them or identify with their actions – sticking to just the facts provided in the story.

Five Characters:

Charlie
Linda
Boatman
Friend of boatman
Stranger

  • Why do you sympathize with them or identify with their actions?
  • What does this indicate to you about your value system?
  • Do you prefer to hypothesize about the characters and their motives beyond the facts provided within the story or do you prefer to stick to just the facts in making your decision?
  • What do you feel this says about you and how you approach your values?

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Option #3

A married couple live in a house on one side of a river. The wife has a lover who lives on the other side. The only way to get across the river is to walk across the bridge or to pay the boatman.

The husband has to go on an overnight business trip to a faraway town. The wife pleads with him to take her with him. She knows if that he doesn’t she will be unfaithful to him. The husband absolutely refuses to take her because she will only be in the way of his important business. So the husband goes alone.

That night, the wife goes over the bridge and stays with her lover.

Dawn is almost up when the wife leaves because she must be back home before her husband returns. She starts walking across the bridge but sees an assassin waiting for her on the other side. She knows if she tries to cross, she will be murdered.

In terror, she runs up the side of the river and asks the boatman to take her across the river, but he wants too much money. She doesn’t have enough, so he refuses to take her.

The wife runs back to the lover’s house and explains her predicament and asks him to pay the boatman. The lover refuses, telling her it’s her own fault for getting into this situation.

As dawn comes up the wife decides to dash across the bridge. She comes face to face with the assassin and she is killed.

The five characters in the story are listed below in alphabetical order. List the names in the order in which you think they were most responsible for the wife’s death.

Assassin
Boatman
Husband
Lover
Wife

Try the exercise again by ranking the five people, according to how much you sympathize with their character or identify with their actions. Describe why you sympathize with them or identify with their actions. What does this indicate to you about your value system?

  • Do you prefer to hypothesize about the characters and their motives beyond the facts provided within the story or do you prefer to stick to just the facts in making your decision?
  • What do you feel this says about you and how you approach your values?

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On to Metaphors for Circle #4

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