JELL-O FISH SOCIETY
Imagine a large fishbowl, with a lot of goldfish living in it.
Then imagine a shelf next to the mouth of the fishbowl on which
there is a large pile of grape Jell-O mix.
One day a fish, named Industry, leaped out of the water and, with
aswipeof its tail,knocked a few grains of Jell-O into the bowl.
The other fish in the bowl thought that the purple grains of Jell-O
brought new meaning and sophistication to their otherwise colorless
existence. Some fish, close to the falling granules, noticed a
sweetness in the water through which the grains of Jell-O drifted.
In no time news of the discovery swept through the bowl. Before
long a second fish, named Competition, leaped out of the water and,
using a fin, deftly swept quite a few grains of Jell-O into the
A third fish, named Education, studied the moves of Industry and
Competition as they continued to catapult themselves from the
water, drawing more and more Jell-O into the bowl. Education
founded a school and began teaching the younger fish the techniques
of Industry and Competition.
As more and more fish became involved in sweeping Jell-O into the
bowl, certain problems became apparent. There were fish bumping
into others as they leaped out of the water, some fish were
crashing upon others as they returned to the water. To remedy
these problems a fish, named Law, was appointed to regulate the
leaping and landing of all fish. Of course a fish, named
Enforcement, also had to be appointed in order to carry out the
regulations of Law.
For what seemed a very long time life in the bowl proceeded in what
most of the fish agreed was a colorful, tasteful, sophisticated,
orderly, and productive fashion.
But there was one fish, named
Cynic, who seemed not to be very agreeable. Most of the time Cynic
just remained, nearly motionless, near the surface of the water
watching the other fish as they dumped Jell-O into the bowl and
went about the other functions necessary to the efficient and
orderly dumping of Jell-O.
Eventually things began to get a little sticky, but life in the
bowl was becoming more colorful and ever more tasteful.
Some fish began to notice that it was getting difficult to breathe,
but they were a hardy lot and continued to leap from the water
drawing more Jell-O into the bowl for the sake of sophistication
One day Cynic went to Law and predicted that, unless the fish
stopped sweeping the purple grains into their environment, the
entire fish society was going to find itself in a perfectly
intolerable situation. Law was outraged that the slothful Cynic
should dare to question the very basis of their colorful, tasteful,
sophisticated, productive, and orderly way of life. Cynic was
warned that his prediction amounted to treason, even blasphemy, and
that if he repeated it he would be severely punished.
Next some fish noticed that it was getting harder to move, and they
couldn't swim as fast or jump as high as previously. Nonetheless
they continued pulling more Jell-O into the bowl because that's
what they had come to believe life was all about.
Then several of the weakest fish died of asphyxiation. Almost
instinctively the others continued to whisk more Jell-O into the
bowl. Prompted by the fate of the weakest, Cynic returned to Law
and repeated his prediction.
According to his word, Law summoned Enforcement, Industry, Competition, Education, Tradition, Custom, Ritual, and together they
flailed Cynic to death.
Finally the water in the bowl gelled. Law, Enforcement, Industry,
Competition, Education, Tradition, Custom, Ritual, and all the
other fish also perished.
No matter how tasteful or colorful, a society which cannot tolerate
its critics must end.
Thomas -- 1987