Thursday, October 14, 2010

Today's Lesson

A few years ago the city council of a town in Italy barred people from keeping their goldfish in curved bowls. Their reasoning – doing so is cruel to the goldfish as it gives them a distorted view of reality.

There are several problems with this. How was this cruelty determined? With the varying shapes of goldfish and the positioning of their eyes, might not a curved bowl actually be better for them than flat surfaces with square corners? Has extensive testing been completed in both environments with the goldfish responding to numerous questionnaires?

There was some discussion on how the brain interprets visuals. In one study, it was proven that it is capable of adjusting distorted images so what is seen is that which is considered true. So. Goldfish have brains. Perhaps they too can compensate for the curve and see things outside of their bowls as how we see them to be true, through a barrier, rounded or not. And what about blind goldfish? Curved bowls would certainly be more environmentally friendly to them than a square container. But I digress.

Next. The view from within the bowl is not the same as from without. Goldfish residing in curved bowls their entire lives could formulate their own specific scientific laws regarding objects they can see moving about outside of their bowls. Although we might deem their view distorted, it is the only view they have. Therefore, the laws they determine are the ones that will always be true from their viewpoint and the only ones applicable. Ours simply do not apply within their reality. Oh, ours are true too, just not to the goldfish.

Additionally, if these goldfish are clever enough to formulate their own laws of relativity I find it highly unlikely that they’d still be living in a little town in Italy in any sort of bowl, curved or not. If they can come up with all that, we’d probably be living in air pockets at the bottom of their ponds with them swimming around outside, keeping us as pets. I wonder what shape they’d make our containers.

One last thing. What the hell possessed those people on that city council to consider this long enough to dictate to their citizens how to house their goldfish?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love it! Good Lord, square containers, probably...