Sunday, December 9, 2012

Laboratory Dreams

Animals dream. Imagine, if you can, that you are a monkey born in a lab somewhere. In all likelihood, your universe -- the breadth of your knowledge and experience -- is limited to the stainless steel box you live in and the occasional visits from masked things that sometimes put food within your reach, and sometimes manhandle you, and occasionally take you somewhere where frightening and sometimes painful things are done to you.

What would your dreams be like? If all you knew was the bleak laboratory world, that's all you would have to dream about. You would not be able to escape even when sleeping.

Such a life would be much worse than that of any human held in any prison. Human prisoners at least have memories of experiences outside prison.

For the monkeys born in a lab, there is no escape. I doubt that the bleak hopelessness of these animals' lives is a topic that ever appears in a lab's oversight committee meeting minutes.

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