There is this fable (Aesop’s) about a fox that found a grape vine with luscious grapes hanging from it. It tried every means at its disposal and found that it could not reach it. At the end of it all, it walks away muttering, ‘These grapes are sour!’
I don’t know how it was taught to you (if, indeed, it is still being taught) but my teacher turned the fox into a figure of fun for deciding that the grapes were undesirable merely because it could not get it. I laughed along with the rest then and, for a long time, the phrase ‘Sour grapes’ only gave rise to a sort of contempt for the ludicrous fox.
Now, I find that the fox was wise after all. The option that it chose to deal with its failure to achieve its goal was one of the saner options available. There are a few other options – as good or better – to deal with the situation but there are innumerable worse options.
You can have your own opinion about whether these options are better than the one chosen by the fox. The fox could have been a devout fox and have decided, ‘If God wanted me to have those grapes, he would have allowed me to reach it’. If the fox believed in predestination, it would have thought, ‘Nobody gets anything before the right time and more than is destined for him’. If the fox were a happy-go-lucky sort it would have just shrugged and said, ‘If I can’t get grapes, let me eat cake’!
Not all options are healthy and sane. The fox could have thought, ‘This is the story of my life! Such sweet grapes and I am incapable of reaching them!’ It could have whined, ‘Nothing ever goes right for me! How, then, could I have expected to reach those grapes?’ It could have thought, ‘Nobody likes me! Not even God! If he did, he would have allowed me to reach those grapes!’
There can be options far worse for Society. Think of the fox that says, ‘How dare the grape vine deny me my grapes! I shall destroy it’. Or the fox that says, ‘These grape vines are in a conspiracy against foxes! Let me lead an army of foxes to destroy all grape vines!’ A fox could even think, ‘The world is conspiring against us. The only way to have a peaceful life is to conquer everyone else!’
The fox of the ‘sour grapes’ was a very wise fox indeed! It seemed to have been granted the fruits of the prayer that goes, ‘God! Give me the Courage to change that which can be changed, the Patience to endure that which cannot be changed and the Wisdom to know the difference!’