Fish, Slimy, & the Meaning of Life
No they are not old acquaintance from Chicago, but they are bleepin’ golden, to paraphrase a certain ex-governor of Illinois.
I inherited the two little goldfish when I hooked up with Marc. I am not a fish fan by nature or experience. I don’t catch or eat them, and I’ve never owned any. Based on the little research I’ve done goldfish may have individual traits, but don’t have personalities. I often wonder though if that’s the case.
If it’s been dark in the room for days, or if there’s been little activity surrounding the two, they get subdued and Fish’s dorsal fin goes down. If I approach and try to engage (?!) them, Fish raises his fin as if to say hi. They exist in an environment that is in many ways unchangeable, even if I let the sun in, or occasionally entice them through my winning ways. I’ve set up a mirror for them to pretend they are having friends over to the tank. I’ve had Marc buy some new fake plants for their environment-- furniture for their house, if you will. Results of these efforts vary.
I hate when they just sit there, immobile and probably bored.
Marc laughs at me and says fish aren’t that complicated. I might be projecting. But I wonder if they have needs and desires that I haven’t quite figured out yet.
Friends, when you think about it, and I hope you do, this inquiry has a lot to do with the nature of reality itself. Fish & Slimy, well, maybe they don’t give a hoot or bubble about anything except their food, but for me, they are teachers of the dharma.
I offer to you the late physicist David Bohm’s thoughts. Originally intended as a summation of quantum mechanics and particle physics (and sometimes attributed to writer Gary Zukav), the statement below also reflects the ideas of Heisenberg, Pauli, Polanyi, and other great physical and social scientists. They also capture something true of the world as I see it, including – or perhaps just reflecting -- the watery environs inhabited by Fish and Slimy, whose little fish heads just might be in a world beyond the boundaries of their tank:
Reality is what we take to be true. What we take to be true is what we believe.
What we believe is based upon our perceptions. What we perceive depends on what we look for.
What we look for depends on what we think. What we think depends on what we perceive.
What we perceive determines what we believe. What we believe determines what we take to be true.
What we take to be true is our reality.
Fish and Slimy, what say you to this? Are you there? Is my moving finger across an imaginary trail on the pane of real glass right in front of your little faces…well, does that mean anything to you?