Of Frogs and Dolphins
Two stories about animal behaviour may prove very suggestive when applied to human behaviour in the current political situation. One of them is the parable of the frog and the boiling water, a story I am not sure how true it is, which is used in seminars and courses for self-esteem. It recounts how if a frog is thrown into a pot of boiling water, the frog perceives the deadly temperature and immediately jumps back out and manages to escape from the pot without getting burnt. However, if we start off with water in the pot at room temperature and we throw in the frog, it stays in the container unperturbed, and, if we start heating the water little by little, the frog does not react sharply but rather gets used to the new temperature of the water until losing consciousness and winding up dead from the heat. This story should evoke for us the way in which power manages to make us wind up accepting situations that ought to result in us uprising by the method of putting them into practice little by little and I’m this way we end up suffering them gradually without us realising what they are doing to us. Undoubtedly, the economic measures approved in Europe against the citizens are a clear example. One need only recall that a few years ago we used e term ‘mileurista’ [from ‘mil euros’ – 1000 euro] to refer to a young person with a badly paid contract of work, and today there are so many who would be glad of such an offer.
The other story is by the Polish priest Benedykt Chimielowski, who loved in the 18th century. It is collected in his encyclopaedia on Poland, entitled The New Athens, in the following way: "The dolphin, desiring to sleep, floats atop the water; having fallen asleep, he sinks slowly to the floor of the sea; being awakened by striking the bottom, he rises again to the surface. Having thus risen, he falls asleep again, descends once more to the bottom, and revives himself anew in the same fashion. He thus enjoys his rest in motion." It seems to me that the attitude of the dolphin has been adopted by many political and union organisations of the left which, literally, have fallen asleep only to sink to the lowest depths of the social panorama. Of course this has also happened with a large proportion of the citizens who, like the frog who didn’t realise he was getting burnt or the sinking dolphin, have worked their way up, as Groucho Marx might say, to the heights of poverty.
It only remains for us to hope that our situation resembles more that of the dolphin than that of the frog and that we still have time to react to stay afloat.