There was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of
walking on the beach before he began his work. One day, as he was walking along the
shore, he noticed a young man in the distance. The young man was reaching down to the
shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean. He came closer still
and called out “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?” The young man
paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean.” “I must ask, then, why
are you throwing starfish into the ocean?” asked the somewhat startled wise man. To
this, the young man replied, “The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them
in, they’ll die.” Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, “But, young man, do you not
realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile?
You can’t possibly make a difference!” At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet
another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, “It made a difference
for that one.”

The Star Thrower, written by Loren Eiseley



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