Escape the Fishbowl

Escape the Fishbowl

Round and round the little fish went

Consider how life is for the goldfish. The environment he lives in is fairly small and constrained, and yet, it’s all he knows. The goldfish is unable to experience what lies beyond his bowl. He knows there’s something else out there; a distorted world of strange shapes and patterns. He can push up against the glass and try very hard to reach this other world, but no matter how hard he tries, entry is forbidden. 

Can we help?

We might want to lift him out of the bowl. We scoop him up with our hands and say: “Look at what else there is!” But as soon as we do, he starts to die. His gills are unable to extract the oxygen from the air and his convex eyes are unable to see. Perhaps, in the hope that they might evolve, we could take many generations of fish out of the bowl for short periods only. Their gills and eyes adapting to the air; their fins becoming more like hands and feet.

Of course I’m partly talking about Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection. The fish that’s able to survive for the longest, outside of its normal environment, gets to pass on these survivalist skills. Skills that potentially develop into their very makeup; their genes.

What if we can’t wait for millions of years?

For this goldfish experiment of ours to work, without millions of years of evolution, we could build an apparatus. This device would enable the goldfish to see and explore the outside world. We could place lenses over his eyes to help him see, we could develop a way to pump oxygen directly into his veins. We could oil his skin so it doesn’t dry out. What then of his brain? Would it not be the case, that his brain would also need some kind of development, to help him fully appreciate his new found world. 

We would of course need to fully understand how to relate to this fish; to understand how he thinks

Yes, a form of translation would be needed; methods of communication would need to be developed, and ways of connecting with his perceptions, required. Once we have all of this in place, it might be possible to help our little fish, see beyond, the bowl.

Most, if not all of us, are living in our own restrictive fishbowl 

The range of our perception has been adapted to fit our environment. We’re unable to fully appreciate how beautifully minimalist this is. During the millions of years it took for us to reach the stage we have, certain things have been lost, or have evolved in their use. Our gills have become lungs and our fins have become hands. We’ve adapted further have we not? We can now travel back to the water. In order to achieve this we take small pieces of our current environment down with us in the form of SCUBA (self-contained underwater breathing apparatus). So what of us escaping our environment in other ways? Well, we’ve now further proven our cleverness, by surviving for short periods of time in space. So what about escaping the fishbowl of our thinking.

The expression ‘fishbowl-thinking’ describes how we’re trapped within the environs determined by our beliefs

Our thought experiment helped our goldfish. We skipped millions of years of evolution through creating an imaginary scenario, and then developed a suitable apparatus, for escape. So in this respect, how extraordinary it is that in reality, we have reversed the processes of evolution, inflicted upon us, by creating SCUBA. In reality we have returned to the sea. 

In order for us to escape the environs created by our beliefs we must also use tools

We cannot escape fishbowl-thinking with the same kind of thinking that created it. In other words, we must seek to escape the expectations defined, by our beliefs. We don’t know what we don’t know and can’t believe what we don’t yet believe. As such, we must suspend logical thinking, if we are to escape the environs of our beliefs. The first step toward achieving this, is to suspend our normal, restrictive, thinking.

At the beginning of the GOLD Counselling Method, a light trance, is induced.

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