The boiling frog is a fable describing a frog being slowly boiled alive.
The premise is that if a frog is suddenly put into boiling water it will jump out. But if the frog is put in tepid water which is then brought to the boil slowly. It will not perceive the danger and will be cooked, so what killed the frog? Many of us will say, the boiling water. But the truth is, what killed the frog, was it’s inability to decide when to jump out. This mirrors our own experiences. When something is applied in a sufficiently slow manner, it escapes our awareness, so it doesn’t arouse reaction, opposition or revolt. These are the times when we need to face the situation and take the appropriate action. If we allow people to exploit us physically, emotionally or financially, they will continue to do so. We have to decide when to jump.
The reason we get into these situations is denial. Stubbornly we choose to remain in the situation and get stuck in deteriorating circumstances. Doing nothing about it until we find ourselves at a miserable dead end. We need to be discerning with people and situations, but we also need to face these situations and make appropriate changes. The frog-in-boiling-water syndrome, can arise in other situations throughout our lives. Where we can ignore an increasingly hostile environment, telling ourselves that eventually, we’ll do something about it. If we look at what has been happening in our society, we should realize that we are undergoing a slow boil of compliancy.
Is the water your in warm or nearly boiling ?
If you are like the frog, already half-boiled, do something about it before it’s too late. Create something in your life that’s so strong that it will make you jump out of the pot towards survival. The proliferation of TV channels, Netflix, Facebook, Cell phones and many other media outlets. Makes it easy to want to live in the land of elsewhere, rather than in our immediate surroundings. Undoubtedly, we have more toys to play with now than we’ve ever had before. I don’t personally, see this as a problem, as long as we are discerning with what we interact with.
The layers of manipulation with advertising, political and cultural agendas and the need to create a discontented consumer oriented society are extremely powerful. Books, magazines, and conversation with other individuals is no different. We still need discernment with the material we allow into our conscious and unconscious mind. The pathway to the extraordinary is the one that calls us. It’s the one most celebrated all around us. It’s the worshiping of this path that makes our seemingly ordinary lives feel so lonely and useless. Keeping the water at a perfect temperature is never easy.
“Two different models, two different pictures, are held out to us, according to which we may fashion our character and behaviour. The one more gaudy and glittering in its coloring. The other more correct and more exquisitely beautiful in its outline. The one forcing itself upon the notice of every wandering eye, the other, attracting the attention of scarce anybody but the most studious and careful observer” Adam Smith
Don’t let your strength and hope boil away.
On my hiking trails, I’m a studious and careful observer, I see exquisitely beautiful outlines everywhere. I can recall memories and feelings, long after the initial connection with nature. Along with being aware of what I’m feeding my body and my mind, seems to keep the water at the right temperature. At times I’m guilty of eating the wrong foods, even though I know, that my body is a temple to be looked after, to the best of my ability. After all, it’s the only one l have and trade-ins at this stage, aren’t an option.
We can sit on the couch all day watching Netflix, drinking beer and eating a bag of cream donuts. It will give us respite in the short term, but it can never give us the feeling of achievement, that a long term goal can. Any “self esteem” we do have, is being depleted. But “self awareness” can become “self control”enabling us to change our behaviour, before it’s too late. The problem is, our ability to tolerate conditions within our comfort zone, is extremely high. Our strength and hope can boil away little by little, without us being aware of how hot the water is becoming.