Thursday, September 23, 2010

Picture This


Eight rats are kept in a cage for 2 days with no food. On the third day of their imprisonment, the cage is placed on a table next to full plates of corn, bread, salami, chicken and whatever else rats eat. On the fourth day, the 8 rats are placed in a maze, from the exits of which food emanates a delicious scent. The rats race each other in the beginning. Later they choose different paths, in small groups or alone. They bounce back into each other as one discovers a dead end and another continues down a successful path. As they approach the exit, paths become narrower and tighter. The rats show little compassion for one another. They push and bite each other’s tails, dying to get there faster. A few have found the exit and the food. They feast and eat as much as their brain can conceive of as enough. And 5 minutes later it’s over. No more hunger, no more craving, no more wanting. No need for anything and no sense of purpose other than the realization of normalcy. The rat race ends.

A little purposeless you might think? We, humans, surely have better things to worry about. Food is a non-issue in Holland, is it not? That may be, but ambition and status are not and it’s fairly acceptable to assume they never will be. They’re urges, which emerge as genetically as we are social animals at the end of the day. Yes, the desire for more and better than the other guy’s are strong. They’re as basic as food in as far as their primary source is concerned. You’re born and then you want it.

Look, I’m not asking for a lot. I’m not asking for you to care about the endangered dolphin species, the Kibera slum kids in Nairobi and the diminishing source of petroleum. You can if you want to, but humanitarian thoughts are destined for the few. No one’s expecting you to be an individual worthy of a categorical imperative-type thought. Seriously, follow the rules you’re given if that is all that you can see. If they’ve been given to you, it’s clear that someone lived long enough by them so as to ensure survival.

But what I am asking is that you not be an asshole. However normal, natural and expected it may be to want to climb higher up a hierarchy, don’t make a zero-sum game out of a constructive process. Cheating on work, blaming others, lying for your image – when there is nothing at stake but a grade! What will you do when you’re handling millions, jobs and a reputation? It’s strange to think of your life as a rat race.

3 comments:

Vero said...

totally agreed, and a wonderful reminder not to be an asshole.

I'm happy you still have time to write : )

Julesie said...

Thanks, Vero! Well now that my academic writing doesn't include any personal thoughts anymore, I guess I'm back here :)
I hope you're doing good and the job worked out!

ninja essays discount code said...

Nice and interesting i liked reading your post. i don't remember where but i have already read one such relevant post few time back. by the way you wrote really well. keep it up