Friday, August 6, 2010


My best friend and I often joke about goldfish. When one of us forgets something obvious, the other compares them to the fish that remembers only two seconds of life before forgetting again.
But it strikes me now, how terrifying the memory-span of a goldfish is. They spend their lives, trapped, swimming in a glass bowl, and never once realize that they aren't going anywhere. They can move in circles, and not notice or care. It seems almost ridiculous to humans that anything could forget so quickly, but to the goldfish, it would never register, because they could never hold onto a thought long enough to realize just how meaningless and pathetic their lives are.
So what if we're the same way? What if I'm that way? Perhaps our memories are just as comparatively short, and our lives, equally meaningless. As we can think with no greater brilliance then our own memory capacity and intelligence as a species allows, we can imagine nothing better then what we already are. So just as a goldfish cannot see that it is perpetually trapped, forever running over the same ground in a meaningless attempt to go somewhere that doesn't exist, are we not trapped in a fish bowl of our own?
For most of us, our fish bowl, our cage, is no larger than our own town or city. We have nowhere to go, and no way to get anywhere. Some people have a bigger cage: a country, or the whole planet. But even when you can fly to any country on metal wings, you are still not free. If other human beings are anything like me, than surely, you must feel the trap, sense the uselessness of our efforts, and the horror of our own limitations.
I don't want a cage, but I will always have one. And if I must have a cage, and a limit, then I want my cage to be as wide as the universe. I want to be able to go everywhere, and never be obstructed, whether by glass, or the impossible distance and immensity of space-time that we cannot yet (and possibly never will) traverse. I don't want to forget everything, and never even see the bars of my prison. I want my cage to expand, until it holds all that we know, and perhaps a little more.


  1. We might be 'trapped in our fish bowls' but we know it. We can think about it and we escape that fish bowl every day if we want to be going into nature where diversity abounds.
    "Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes," said
    Walt Whitman.
    We are only limited by our thoughts.

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