Something made itself apparent to me today.
took 'lex to the aquarium in Atlantic City a few miles away. Both of us
are very fond of marine life, but it seemed to me that we're usually
burdened by having to observe them in free movement. There's no
isolation, so it's hard to get an especially good look at any of them.
So, we went, and it being 'lex's first time to any aquarium, I
thought the experience would be interesting. I tend to take a bit of
extra time observing them, though, so I offered her the chance to roam
around (It's also apparent to me that She rather dampens 'lex's ability
to wander freely as a child should.) When I offered, however, she
abstinently told me no, and refused to explain why. It seemed strange to
me, but that's only one aspect of this story that is unique.
We went from tank to tank, taking our time to read about the fish
and watch them make goofy faces seemingly at us. She laughed, of course,
and I thought she was enjoying herself.
There's an elevator
that can take you to the third floor there. It leads to a balcony that
watches over the harbor and gives you a breathtaking view of the city in
the distance. Sadly, I didn't bring a camera. I would've loved to
staple a picture of that in this passage. So instead, we stood up there
just to look. I lifted her onto my shoulders and pointed out the
buildings, the badly painted cars, and what I thought to be a large
catfish swimming in the harbor (Especially strange note, it seemed that
the shadow of that catfish extended several yards away...). I asked her
if she was enjoying herself, out of curiosity.
I never imagined, though, that she would give me the blatant "no" that she did.
I asked her why, and she told me very simply: "It's nicer to be with them when they're happy, and free."
I told her in an attempt to reassure her: "These fish couldn't be
any happier than they are here. They're fed well and their tanks
simulate their natural environment."
She retorted: "Have you ever seen a cat at the pet store paw at the glass?"
Damn her for being so smart, and at age 10...
And damn me for not seeing it before.
Needless to say, I'm taking her out tomorrow to dive.
I think this is important for my first post. It came from one of my
dad's journal entries that he wrote 10 years ago. I don't even entirely
remember this conversation, but I suppose that even from a young age, I
recognized the illusory freedom that fish in a fish tank have. It's so much more surreal
to see those beautiful creatures in the open sea, which is ironic
because that's the most realistic you can get.
I feel like in many ways,
we live in much the same conditions. Our lives are never natural. There
is always another hand poking its way into our environment, controlling
the way we act and what we do. There is always someone above us making
sure we keep ourselves in the cycle of economic power control that keeps
the industry of human livestock afloat. Thus, we're merely fish in a
fish tank -- being watched, being tricked, and being used for the
entertainment and financial welfare of someone else.
Maybe I'm a cynic. Maybe I'm not. But if you dare to think about it:
Look over every single thing you do as part of your daily routine. Your actions, your job, your typical activities, etc.
Do the majority of those things result in the financial gain of another person?
I asked myself this once. Now, instead of going out to dinner for fun, I sit in one of the many trees that hang over my "backyard" and whistle with the music of the forest, sometimes strumming a guitar. Call it theatrical, but it's more liberating than most people could ever realize.