A well is a perfect place for frogs, especially when they are born there and have no idea about a bigger world out of the dark hole. It is a comfort zone to live a short life, reproduce and die. What a peaceful life and painless death they live! I wish I was a frog of the well, but then a little kiss of knowledge broke that dream.
Some frogs are quite intelligent than the others. The intelligent ones have an idea that there could be more frogs living in the same kind of well. I feel that this little knowledge is quite useful in making an imagination and using it to control lots of frogs sharing the same well. The imagination of the other well is that frogs are living horrible lives there and we live in a blessed heaven. This imaginative fear prevents some frogs to jump into the bucket that sometimes descends and water is taken out of the well. The bucket is a part of imagination and sometimes used by the controlling frogs to punish the rebellious fellows. Rarely frogs return back to the well and the other fellows behave well for they do not want to be thrown out of this blessed hole. Perhaps the ones thrown out of the well go into the other wells and create their own kingdom.
We are human beings and we know what the frogs in the well may believe, I have noticed that the principle of living life on the surface and in the dark hole is not much different. The problem is that we live on the surface marked by lines and we call them national boundaries. The lines are imaginary and they only appear on the page of a paper when someone draws them. We are not frogs, but we behave very much like them. We are not supposed to cross the boundaries and like frogs we have imaginative stories about people on the other side. The strength of imaginary boundaries is more than the solid walls of a deep well. In case of wells it is not a problem to hold the solid walls, but in case of imaginary boundaries there are more fearful laws required in order to control people.
I read the above proverb a few years ago, but never reflected myself through it. I thought that frogs are those who have never gone through institutionalized education system. How could my world view be so narrow, when I had received ‘education’ from ‘proper’ schools and universities in my country? I would say that I had an opinion on the world, but I could not understand that the world was much bigger than what I had seen or read about. As they say learning is a continuous process, I would add that largely the learning is oriented towards strengthening our existing opinion. I am not against making an opinion rather I say it is good to have some opinion, but one can avoid stamping the opinions as definite truth. I am one of those few frogs who struggled and moved out of the well. The perspective of reality changed and I found that the world is not what I imagined in the hole. People are much the same in their nature and they react in the same manner when imaginary fears are induced.
Now when I am sitting on the edge, I feel fear as a real misery of life. The world without this fear and control is a beautiful place to live, experience and explore. As long as we do not dare to jump in the bucket and desire to see the world, we are just miserable frogs of the well who may believe that the world is just a dark hole.
(The article has been first published in the research newsletter of Univeristy of Birmingham)