Is Being Second Is Better? “First Person Syndrome:” A Ten Commandments’ Tale

And he (Noah) sent forth the raven, and it went out, back and forth until the waters dried up off the earth.

genesis 8:7

noah’s number one was the raven. the noble corvid was first commissioned to scout the post-flood world.

noah’s choice of the raven was not random. recent scientific study has found, ravens’ physical and social cognitive skills rival the great apes. in other words, outside of humans, ravens rank highly in intellect.

the study found “full-blown cognitive skills were already present at the age of four months with subadult ravens’ cognitive performance appearing very similar to that of adult apes in tasks of physical (quantities, and causality) and social cognition (social learning, communication, and theory of mind). these unprecedented findings strengthen recent assessments of ravens’ general intelligence, and aid to the growing evidence that the lack of a specific cortical architecture does not hinder advanced cognitive skills.” nature.com

it was noah’s second stage of investigation which captured humanity’s imagination. “and he sent forth the dove from with him, to see whether the waters had abated from upon the surface of the earth.” genesis 8:8. after a period of time, …”the dove returned to him at eventide, and behold it had plucked an olive leaf in its mouth.” genesis 8:11.

as the flood story has been told and re-told, it is the dove that has become the celebrity. artwork famously features the dove with the olive branch. the dove has become the symbol of peace.

this is perhaps one of the earliest documented tale of “first person syndrome.” “first person syndrome” occurs when the initial individual who is responsible for a significant event, invention or success essentially gets little recognition. they fail to get their deserved notoriety or fame.

in modern times, the mcdonalds restaurants served as an example. it is ray kroc, who purchased mcdonalds from the mcdonald brothers, is considered as the founder of the company. wikipedia.

“first person syndrome” is best described with two components. first, there is societal ignorance and appreciation of the individual who was first. second, there is the individual’s failure to publicize or promote their success. the achievements of being the first, at times, may be so overwhelming, that they may not have the energy to self-promote.

in sum, as with the raven in the flood story, we should take a second look at who came in first and understand their accomplishment. certainly, the creativity of mcdonald’s brothers and the brilliance of the raven deserve their moment of appreciation. further, these stories are a cautionary tale for those who wish to have credit for their successes. getting to the top of the mountain first may involve more than simply getting to the top.

be well!!

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Published by biblelifestudies

I am a practicing lawyer and long term admirer of the bible

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