keep treading water

No idea what the source of this story is. It sounds like a real scientific experiment, but I heard it as part of a theatre piece. Not that that necessarily makes it untrue or unreliable. Just want it to be clear that this hasn’t been thoroughly researched. Certainly not by me.

So they put a rat in some water that he couldn’t climb out of and waited to see what happened next. He treaded water for roughly three quarters of an hour, gave one last little push of energy and then gave up and drowned.

The second rat was put in the same situation, but after a while they gave him a little platform that he could climb up on and out of the water. The next day, they did the same thing with the second rat that they’d done with the first, but this time the rat treaded water for much longer.

He was almost certainly waiting for the platform to reappear. So he swam hour after hour after hour. He made it upwards of 7 hours. The little rat eventually gave up and drowned.

First of all, I don’t care what you think of animal testing…this whole experiment is cruel. Truly. Even if you believe in the importance of scientific discovery, which I do, this whole scenario is quite barbaric.

But if we can get beyond that for the sake of discussion, what on earth does this prove? Animals, and despite some people’s desire to deny this people are also animals, have much more perseverance than they might at first realise.

More importantly, once you know there’s the possibility of being rescued, you’ll go to much greater lengths to muscle through. Right?

That was the point, yes? To remind you that even if you think you can only swim for forty-five minutes, you’ve got as much if not more than six more hours in you.

Don’t forget to have a nice day.

Photo credits (all Creative Commons licensed):
Euro:  Public Domain Photos on Flickr 
Rat: Infrogmation on Flickr 
Facepalm: Cesara Studillo on Flickr