A man took his friend to a park, telling him, “You have to see this amazing tree in the center of the park.” When they arrived at the park’s center, there was the tree, standing tall in the sun.
“Wow,” his friend exclaimed, “This tree is huge! By the height of it I’d say it must be at least 80 years old.”
“No,” the man said, “It’s only three weeks old.”
“But that’s impossible!” said his friend, “A tree can’t grow this tall that fast!”
“This tree is a work of art, actually,” the man explained. “I know it looks authentic in every detail, but it didn’t grow here on its own–it was designed by a master artisan and he built it with his team over just a few days. It was completed three weeks ago.”
“The artist is a liar!” his friend said. “This is a totally deceptive work of art! Anyone who sees it is going to assume that this is a very old tree!”
“What?” asked the man. “The point of the tree isn’t to give a certain impression of age. That has nothing to do with it.”
“Even so, it’s what everyone will think,” his friend said. “How am I supposed to know that this tree had an artist behind it?”
“Well that’s the point of the plaque,” the man said, pointing.
His friend looked, and sure enough, there it was. He hadn’t noticed it, but a huge plaque wrapped the bottom of the tree. It listed the name of the artist, described the method of the tree’s construction, and recorded the dates when building was begun and completed.
“The plaque explains the point of the tree,” the man said. “It’s here to give shade and beauty to everyone in the park. And it also displays the matchless skill of the artist. Sure, someone might mistake this tree for one that grew naturally if they don’t look carefully, but the plaque takes away that possibility, and gives us the true understanding of what this tree is. No one’s really supposed to try to understand the tree without it.”