Why do we find swimming fish so mesmerizing? So hypnotic? We stare at them for hours. I mean, it’s not like they’re going anywhere. They just drift around in circles in bowls, aquariums, ponds and pools and we can’t seem to take our eyes off them. They are not doing anything of particular interest – ok, they’re doing fish things - but that’s still a ten on the old boredom chart, isn’t it? Really they are doing nothing.
Or are they?
The fish must be doing something because otherwise why would we be so entranced by their movements, their rhythms. Maybe swimming fish are like a melody for the eyes. Up and down and all around, so graceful in movements…definitely classic, not heavy metal. Are fish swimming together in those little social circles a reminder of unity? ‘It takes a village to raise a child’ sort of thing. ‘If one of us is chained, all of us are chained’.
It is possible I suppose that given the fact that they are not doing anything we can perceive, we are resting our minds. Taking a break in a way. Just going numb for a time without thought, watching, not thinking of anything in particular accept possibly ‘Why am I watching these fish?’ Aquariums are popular in doctor’s offices and dentist waiting rooms because of their calming effect. Those bright colors and flashy patterns have us all but forgetting the poking and prodding that will ensue shortly after the gouging of our pocket books.
The question has to be asked, ‘Are they bored too?’ They got nowhere to go, nowhere to be and let’s face it, there is nothing entertaining going on in that glass house. Ok, there is the occasional treasure chest at the bottom but I’m fairly sure that is eye candy for the watcher’s enjoyment and that the fish don’t care about it. Pretty sure they don’t care about that bubbling deep sea driver either. They should have plants to hide in, caves to explore and maybe even an occasional live meal to chase. The possibility of making some babies… Something to get the juices flowing. No wonder most fish give up after a time. ‘Is this it? This is all there is? Well I got somewhere else to be.’ And they float ever so gently up to the surface.
If that was all I had to look forward to I would probably do a little floating myself. Maybe I’ve spent too much time watching fish, cause I like to keep my life and the lives of my animal companions interesting.
Next time you find yourself staring into a fish habitat, do a self check to make sure you and your companion aren’t just swimming aimlessly in circles.