Monday, December 21, 2009

Which Came First, The Blog or The Frog?

While many will quickly identify with the implications of the Boiled Frog title for this blog there are probably just as many are not familiar, as least not just yet, with the Boiled Frog phenomenon. The illustration of the boiled frog is frequently used to describe what behavioral psychologists call sensory adaptation or getting gradually accustomed to incremental changes.

If a frog is place in a pot of very hot water, it will instantly react and franticly try to get out. Now, if you put the frog into a pot of cool water and turn the heat on very low the frog will lay quietly. As the water heats up the frog will gradually adapt and calmly fall into a contented stupor, then become unconscious and eventually allow itself to be boiled to death.

Why didn't the frog try to escape the rising temperature of cooking pot? He was free to jump out. There was no barrier preventing him from finding his freedom. A big reason that the frog didn't jump is due to the fact his sensing capability is controlled by sudden or unexpected changes. As long as the increase in temperature are small incremental changes the frog won't identify them as a threat to his survival and a smiling, contented, and very dead frog has been slowly boiled alive.

I chose the name The Boiled Frog for this blog because I intend write my little rants and musings in the fervent hope that we can learn to think outside the cooking pot while there is still some life in the old frog. I don't pretend to know all the questions, let alone the answers. But I intend to keep asking questions like; who are we? How did we get here? and Where do we go from here?

Maybe the old frog has fallen into a contented stupor and is unconscious of its impending demise. Perhaps it is too far gone and all of our good intentions will accomplish nothing but frustration and anger. Maybe it is time to forget the old frog and concentrate our energies on the tadpoles.

Note: I have taken a holiday break from the "Are We Alone?" series and plan to resume after Christmas.

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