September 6, 1999
The tag line for the Aha! newsletter is “the E-newsletter for the awakening workplace.” So, if the workplace has gone to sleep, what caused it to do so? How did people in the workplace get this unconscious? How did we go to sleep and allow the conditions to deteriorate to such a degree?
I offer you the “parable of the boiled frog” which has been circulated for some years – un-attributed – but it nevertheless does a wonderful job of describing the phenomenon. Here it is:
Picture a heated saucepan of water on a stovetop, hot to the touch. Now imagine placing a live healthy frog in the heated water. No surprise! The frog leaps out of the pan, recognizing the immediate danger and the threat to its survival.
Now, imagine placing a similar frog into a pan of room temperature water. Let the frog settle in. Then, very gradually, start turning up the heat, starting at very low temperature settings. Feeling complacent and comfortable, the frog won’t realize that the temperature is gradually getting hotter. It gets more and more groggy, less and less conscious, until it eventually succumbs after being virtually “boiled to death.”
The lesson in this parable is that we are conditioned to respond to any immediate threats to our survival, such as “fight or flight” responses of all animals. But slow, gradual change is more subtle, and insidious. The parable also shows us how gradual change – even if it is unhealthy, contrary to survival and life-threatening – can nevertheless be tolerated over time and thus take life from the unsuspecting or complacent.
As we become more aware as human beings and begin to accept our Divine inheritance to evolve to the next level of consciousness, we are waking up from a sedated state, hopefully before we are “boiled to death” spiritually.
This issue of Aha! has been adapted from Getting to the Better Future – a forthcoming book by the author. John E. Renesch is a San Francisco writer, futurist, and business philosopher. To contact him call 415-437-6974 in the U.S. More information about him and his work can be found on the Web at John Renesch.
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