More From Alder's Ledge

December 9, 2012

Sometimes We Are All Nothing But Fleas

Trapped By Our Own Limitations
(Part of the Battle Cry series)

During an experiment on the behavior of animals a scientist once found that the common flea could be tricked into living its miserable life starving to death. Keep in mind that the common flea is as persistent a pest that even two fleas left untreated can reproduce into thousands of fleas withing weeks. With any source of food the flea can live on with the hope of finding a suitable meal. In this aspect the flea is driven by food more than anything else. Food is what keeps the little fleas hopping.

The experiment was simple really. It was so simple that it almost doesn't seem real. But it worked, and it worked so well that all the fleas died while food was just on the other side of the glass.

Placing a dozen fleas in a glass jar the scientist shut the lid and watched the fleas hop like crazy. For some time after shutting the lid the scientist could hear the constant pop of the bugs hitting the tin lid. Pop, pop, pop... the little fleas would not stop till they were free. Pop, pop, pop... or so it would seem.

All at once, as if in unison the fleas stopped. Somewhat surprised, the scientist looked inside to see if the bugs had all died. For it seemed odd that the ever persistent flea would ever stop trying to escape. And yet the scientist was in for a treat.

Hopping just below the level of the lid the fleas continued to jump. Like sad clowns performing the role nature had cast for them, the fleas jumped with no hope of ever being free again. Yet despite the realization that they could not be free the fleas jumped straight up and down. Tiring themselves out without reward.

Taking the lid off, the scientist fully expected his little pest to jump to freedom. A gust of fresh air pacified the fleas for a moment. It almost seemed as though they were thinking about what had just happened. It was almost as though they could sense that their little world had dramatically changed.

So what happened next? Was the scientist just inviting these little pest to infest his work station?

One by one the fleas hopped up and down once again. Without the lid the fleas could easily jump to freedom. Without the lid their prison was now unlocked. The barrier that had prevented their escape was clearly gone. And once again their chance to find food was readily made available to the little pests. So what happened now that the lid was gone?

Not one flea jumped any higher than they had before the lid was removed. Instead the fleas continued to jump up and down in the apparent safety of their jar. It appeared now that the little pests had learned to accept the limitations the lid had imposed upon them. It appeared that even without the presence of the lid the fleas would remain within its confines.

In many ways we as a society have become like the fleas of this study. In many aspects of our lives we have come to accept the limitations imposed upon us by obstacles that either do or do not exist. Some of these "lids" in our lives are very real indeed. For example we know that law keeps us from doing things we might otherwise want to do. Other "lids" however only exist in our minds.

For months now I have asked for those who read this blog to step out of their comfort zone... or jar, if you will. And yet time and time again I am presented with the question "what can I really do?" The question is presented in many ways. It is asked with a sense of defeat before the person asking it ever really begins to fight. It is asked with the idea that our lives are lived within the confines others impose upon us. And yet when we stop to think about it these limitations are more often than not brought upon us by our own fear.

The flea fears hitting their little bodies against the tin lid overhead. This is what keeps them locked inside the jar even when the lid is gone. For us the fear that limits us can arise from many things. When it comes to Alder's Ledge it seems that the fear that stops many from sharing these post arises from the fear of breaking with conformity.

Despite our modern notion of the beauty of the individual our society still prizes above most other qualities the ability to fit in to the crowd. Sure, sharing these post can make you look big hearted, but it also makes you appear far to serious.... perhaps preaching. And with the frequency of these post pushing the share button could even make you appear annoying on FaceBook, Twitter, or any other social media site.

This is where stepping outside the comfort of your jar comes in. This is where the sense of morality that keeps people reading these posts should trump the fear of stepping on a soapbox. But it seems far to many of us are still stuck in our jars.

As the Hanuka continues and Christmas approaches I would like to take this opportunity again to ask Alder's Ledge's readers to step outside their jars. It is a custom for many to give to charity during this season. And for most the act of giving these donations is an act meant to be done in silence. Yet we here at Alder's Ledge would like to invite our readers to share on their social media sites and with their friends the fact that you have donated. And in doing this we would ask that you invite them to do the same.

Alder's Ledge has decided to give a gift to World Vision. This is a charity that is helping Syrian refugees and Congolese refugees as genocide ravages their homelands. You can find the links for this below.

In closing we would like to ask all who read this to take time this holiday season to step out of your comfort zone and help those in need. Take a stand with Alder's Ledge and help those who are suffering most during this holiday season.

World Vision Emergency Relief



Video For the Congo Relief Effort

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