Thoughts on Thinking

"When somebody persuades me that I am wrong, I change my mind. What do you do?" John Maynard Keynes

"If you're unhappy with your life, change your thinking." Charles Fillmore

"The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it." Eckhart Tolle

"People are not disturbed by things, but by the view they take of them." Epictetus

"The unexamined life is not worth living." Socrates

"Consciousness is a terrible thing to waste." PunditGeorge

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Crab Bucket

(Hmmm, now may be a good time to revisit the Crab Bucket effect)

Pierre and his cousin from New York went crabbing in the lush waters of Louisiana. The cousin was amazed how Pierre would haul up the crab net and empty the crabs into a large bucket in the boat. Pierre then tied another piece of chicken to the net and lowered it back into the water. They moved on to the next net.

After dumping dozens of crabs into the bucket, the cousin became concerned that Pierre never covered the open bucket. He was sure they would have quite a time chasing crabs around the boat when they crawled out.

Pierre lit a cigarette and leaned back in the boat in a moment of reflection. “My cousin, look into the bucket.” He did. “What do you see?” asked Pierre.

The cousin noticed that every time an enterprising crab attempted to scale the side of the bucket to freedom, the other crabs would stir, seize it, and pull it down to the bottom.

“No one escapes,” noted the cousin.

“Now you know,” added Pierre, as he hauled in the next net.

Not only does misery love company, it thrives on it. Just as crabs will not permit one of their ranks to escape, many people grab, claw, and pull down those who would flee the collective misery. You see it all the time.

No escape!
The student in school who makes the good grade is castigated by his/her peers in the classroom bucket. “How dare you attempt what we will not!” The crab-bucket form of resentment infects great numbers of potential achievers and robs them of a better life. It is the rule of the lowest common denominator.

It’s a curious paradox: More knowledge, access to all forms of education, and more opportunities for personal improvement, are available to virtually everyone than at any moment in our nation’s history. Yet, the crab bucket continues to stifle many who would take advantage of such opportunities.

There is the thought, “I could do this or that, but it would upset my family, friends, or co-workers.” The image of the crab bucket— stay where you belong—is observable in many areas. In politics it’s called Gerrymandering—a voter lives in a certain district and is expected to remain there and vote a certain way.  Moving out of the district is discouraged and opportunities to do so might be sabotaged.  
This kind of thinking rules many innocuous situations that are found in the workplace, school, and even the family. Are there three cheers from the family to support a loved one improving themselves? Or, are there grumbles of “how dare you!”

The great mischief, of course, is the person who controls the bucket and knows crab behavior.  The crabs will fight among themselves, maintaining the social status quo, right up to the moment they all go into the boiling pot.

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