A long time ago, fishes of the Arthe Lake learned one neat trick: in order to protect themselves from predators, they would run to the bottom of the lake and start wiggling with their fins. This rapid movement on the bottom stirs up the mud on the bottom, and water that was previously transparent will become opaque and dark, making it very difficult for the predator to spot the prey.
As the fish leaned that the muddy trick is helpful, they started doing it on a regular bases, so much so that, through several generations, they forgot that water was ever clear and the reason for going to the bottom to lift mud in the first place. It was just considered a ritual they would do on a daily basis; no one ever asked “why?” and “is there any purpose in it?” They just continued doing it.
The mud has not stopped predators completely, but it made catching the fish much harder than before. In times when predators succeeded in catching lonely, lost fish separated from their flock, other fish observing the claws or sharp teeth of death would swiftly go to the bottom and repeat the mud ritual so intensely and so many times that they forgot their lost friends.
While the population of the fish started growing, there were a few more side effects. Difficulty to see in this muddy water was not limited only to the predators; the fish had the same issue of finding food in the lake, and, as there was less light coming to the bottom, with time, vegetation become scarce, along with all the bugs they used to eat as part of their diet, so they needed to travel more in search for food. Also, the muddy water was not very healthy to breath, but the fish were not very intelligent creatures, so they have not noticed that they live much shorter lives.
What they did notice is the lack of food. They started organising into small flocks. Each flock had its own leader — the best fish capable of finding food, or at least encouraging others, so that they will look harder for food. Some flocks were more organised and larger than others, so some leaders grew bigger than other fish. Whatever they could find, their leaders took care of splitting it into what they thought were fair parts, although not all the fish thought the same way.
While they grew in numbers, they started spreading over the entire lake. After some time, there was no clear patch of lake anymore; the mud was so spread out that they forgot what clear water was. Mud, that was just a shelter once, became the new normal.
As muddy waters made things difficult to see, and food become scarcer in the lake, while the fish swam, they would frequently bump into each other. Already grumpy because of the lack of food and any betterment they could foresee in the future, this accidental bumping was causing frequent fights. They were fighting with both other fish and their leaders, they were fighting to ease the stress, they were fighting for food, for the power and fame.
After some time, some fish, looking at this poor state of their race, started teaching others about peace and love, and how everything would be much better if everyone started being nice to each other. They were saying that, if fish would find a way to change their nature from within, suffering will disappear, and they could all live happily ever after.
Other fish preached that salvation is on the surface, where bright light will lift them from their mortal existence. Many lost their lives believing those stories; as soon as they would go to the surface, they were snatched with mighty eagle talents. As they never returned to the bottom to speak about their unfortunate tale, they become legends, leaving others to speak imaginative stories, turning them into saints who succeeded in crossing the existence of mortal lives.
With time, because of the lack of food, they slowly died out.
All those tools they invented, all the philosophies and religious preaching that were meant to make them feel better — nothing they have done really improved the condition of their lives, as the issue was never with them but with the muddy water they forgot.
When the system is polluted,
do not adapt.
If you liked this story, you may like my book. I am trying to change the world :)
System Upgrade v2.016:
Solutions for a failing economy, wealth distribution, declining democracy, climate change, and robots that steal jobs