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July 13, 2014 | by  | in Conspiracy Corner Opinion |
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Conspiracy Corner – “Crab Mentality”

Greetings, true believers! During your holiday break I’ve been on the run from various authorities, so I’ve been sending these columns from various hideaways around the globe. This one comes courtesy of The Pirate Bay. Yes, it’s an actual place. Great vacation spot for internet recluses. Plus, I get all the rum I can drink, if I promise to seed.

I’ll admit, I was stumped on what to write regarding ‘belief’. Belief by itself is too broad a phenomenon to have any maliciousness behind it. As I baked in my deck chair on the beaches of Pirate Bay, I mused on our collective capacity to think beyond ourselves. But after three days, no divine bolt of inspiration gave me the fundament I needed to carve out my column. I decided to clear my head with a walk on the beach. I strolled the golden sands for what seemed like forever, until I came across a bearded man sitting on the shore. He had long flowing hair and a loose, ascetic look of dress.

He sat there, staring intently into a bucket. Inside it were a collection of crabs, scuttling over each other at the bottom in a frenzy. I noticed that when one crab tried to crawl out, another one would always pull it down. This repeated at least once with every crab, as it scuttled in vain to be released from the vessel, only for its kin to drag it back down.

Eventually, the man whispered words I could not make out into the bucket, and suddenly the crabs’ behaviour changed dramatically. They assembled two piles, one on each side of the bucket, piling higher and higher until they began to fall out. It was extraordinary to watch, seeing these creatures work together toward a common goal. When there were few left, some remaining crabs even extended their claws and pulled their fellow crustaceans out with them. When they had all escaped, they scuttled away together towards the ocean.

“How did you get them to do that?”, I asked the old sailor.

He looked up at me with sea-worn eyes and smiled a scurvy grin.

“If I told you,” he said, “you’d probably misinterpret it and argue about what it meant for the next dozen centuries. Work it out for yourself. You have a brain, use it.”

He then picked up his empty bucket and strolled away down the shore. And lo, I had my column.

Like crabs in a bucket, we pull each other down if one tries to get too high and mighty. We conspire against ourselves and others, when it could take so little effort to all just work together. The question is not why can’t we all just get along, but when can we do so.

 

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