on the silk road


The Fish and the Tank
July 4, 2008, 7:22 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

A short story by Richard Ohanian

A group of fish were living in an aquarium (the tank). They had lived there all their lives.
Their parents, and their parents parents,  were all born and died in the tank

This group of fish lived in harmony, based on a code of ethics–a worldview.

But the tank couldn’t last forever. As it started to age, and degenerate, the fish started to realize that things can’t go on this way for long. Something had to change, they thought.

But what?

The fish couldn’t figure out the solution to their problems.

They didn’t know what they didn’t know.

After all, they had lived their entire lives in the tank, with one code–one worldview. A new way of seeing and doing things wasn’t coming to them. Their horizons were limited to the tank.

Finally, one day, a young fish decided that he has to be the one to bring the change. But how? He thought to himself and figured that one reason why he was unable to think up the “new” stuff, was the ultimate limitation he suffered by living in the tank, like the other fish.

So he decided to jump out of the tank in order to be able to view the tank from the outside world, so that, perhaps, he could see what was wrong with the tank, and hopefully a new theory or perspective would dawn on him.

He tried and tried to jump out of the tank….it was hard but every time he tried to jump, he got a little bit higher and higher. The others in the group were discouraging. Most were content with the
situation.

Finally, one day, he jumped out of the tank high enough that he reached the other side. In the way out, he could see the “inside” from the “outside” …

It was fascinating.

When he reached the other side, he died!

He jumped out of the water…..

Some time passed in the tank…..the fish started to forget about the young one that vanished, the one who
wanted to bring change.

But there was another young fish who didn’t forget his best friend.

Every day, he went near the surface of the water, and looked for any sign of his friend….but nothing!

As he would wait on the surface of the water, slowly, he became accustomed to breathing air as well…it was something new, something he had never experienced.

After some time, the young fish decided to follow his friend’s path and jump to the other side. Life in the tank was not satisfying him and the group of fish were bothering him as they were thinking they
knew the nature of their problems and were content with keeping themselves busy with little fishy stuff.

But for the young fish what others were saying was not making sense. He though to himself “memory is a stranger…history is for fools….these guys think they know, but in fact they don’t, they are just
happy with petty fishy stuff. I need to jump out and find the ultimate solution.”

So he set off on his attempt to jump out….little by little he cleared more of air, and jumped a bit higher, until one day he jumped out of the tank and reached the other side!

From the outside , he looked in, and saw the limitations of the tank.

It was fascinating.

He sat there and started to think, not noticing any change as he had already learned how to breath in the air….

After some time, he found the solution!

He thought to himself “i should go back to the tank now. I know what I know and i know what i don’t know, and i can find the answers now!”

He started jumping, until one day he got back into the tank.

Suddenly he noticed that he could not breath in the water…As he was struggling to breath he realized that he was not a fish anymore…..

He died in the tank!

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1 Comment so far
Leave a comment

It’s because he forgot who he was.

This is really just Plato’s ‘Allegory of the Cave’. If he went out of the tank in order to come back and take everybody else out of the tank, he would have to figure out as well how to come back and not die or get himself killed in the process.

It’s difficult, needless to add. 🙂

Comment by Nareg Seferian




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