Sunday, July 20, 2008

I ran into this story on some random site and thought it worth of passing on.

I don't think it neccisary for me to ask you.. Are you held in place by a small rope?

When I was a kid, my school used to host a circus every summer. In the morning, I would sneak behind the circus tent and watch the trainers feeding and training the animals. That was one of my greatest joys.

I remember peeking at the elephants and noticing something that fascinated me and kept me wondering for a while: knowing how powerful an elephant is, I was surprised to see a thin rope tying the elephant's leg to a pole, and that the elephant never tried to escape even though it would take no effort to pull the rope and walk away.

After a couple of days, I gave up thinking and went to ask one of the trainers. He smiled and said:"It wasn't always a rope, you know. When the elephant is young, we put a hard chain around its leg so that whenever the elephant pulls, it would feel the resistance of the strong chain and know that how far it can go.".

"When the elephant grows up", he continued, "there is no need for a chain anymore. We just put a rope around its leg and the elephant stops pulling whenever it feels resistance. The elephant doesn't know anymore that the chain is gone, and that the rope tying it to the pole can be easily broken as soon as it decides to walk away. The only limitation that elephant has, is in its own mind."

"For the elephant," the trainer concluded, "all that remains is the memory of the old pain from the chain, and the resistance of the thin rope... The elephant doesn't know the difference. "