Sunday’s Wisdom #148: Beware the Price

“You wanted to be a genie? You got it, and everything that goes with it: phenomenal cosmic powers, itty-bitty living space.”
– Aladdin, Aladdin

Who doesn’t love Disney, eh? 😉

I think most of us can remember this scene, right at the climax. Aladdin is at the mercy of his enemy, the evil sorcerer, Jafar. Jafar has him, and laughs at how small and helpless Aladdin is. He’s just a street rat, a nobody, challenging the most powerful being on Earth, which Jafar exults in being. Ah, but Aladdin is clever, and he goads Jafar with the truth that the Genie is, in fact, more powerful than Jafar, and Jafar snaps at the bait, eagerly and greedily using his third wish to become an all-powerful genie. Wish granted, but just as Jafar is reveling in his victory, his absolute power, Aladdin drops the other shoe: his power comes at a cost. Yes, he’s all-powerful, but now he’s a slave trapped in a lamp.

A bit of a backward step, no?

That’s what you get for leaping without looking.

Jafar wanted power, plain and simple. He wanted it so much he couldn’t stand anyone having more power than him. He wanted it, and he paid no mind to the cost, not to others, and not to himself. Why would he? He’d just barely gotten everything he wanted and it cost him next to nothing. He was drunk on victory, and with an even greater prize dangled before him, he acted without thinking. In his haste, he forgot more than just the servitude of the Genie granting his wishes, he forgot that everything comes with a price. Nothing is free.

One can’t have the advantages of what one wants without also having the disadvantages which accompany it.

That is one lesson to be taken from Jafar’s example. One might want things, any sort of things, and be glad when it seems to be free, and exultant when one gets it, but beware: there is a cost to be paid, sooner or later. The more it seems to lack a price tag, the higher that price really is.

Jafar wanted power, and he got more than he could ever dream of, but it cost him his freedom.

That’s another lesson to be learned here: whatever one might gain, it’s worth far less than freedom.

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