Stronger Than a Rat
By Ras Uhuru
Surviving Long Term Isolation Confinement
1) it is not surprising for human beings to have been thrust into isolation holes to start exhibiting psychological and emotional affects. These are conditions contrary to human nature. Even monks or other hermits who went into elective “eremos” (Greek, Solitary) had to struggle and strive to maintain some sense of stimulus.
2) But human beings having a supportive mind, have the ability to maintain a stong mind despite the “breaking men’s mind” tactics being employed in supermaxes, SHU units or any other seg environment.
3) I offer to you the anecdote of Skinner's Rats to use as the barometer of strength. Considering all the constructs and puns of the term “rat”, one should find it easy to be as strong as any kind of rat. But we deal specifically with psychology. In the early developments of the foundations of American Psychology, one of its pioneers, Burrhus Frederick Skinner ( 1904-90) employed a “hope and hopeless “ experiment *in which he placed a rat in a pool of water and the rat could not get out of it. The rat was forced to keep swimming around in circles as it searched hopelessly for a way to get out. Because the pool construct was designed to prevent such, the rats continued to tread water.
4) Skinner and his assistants would keep time of how long the rats would tread water until they gave up and started to drown. They would then place a small stand in the pool so the rat could get out of the water.
5) What Skinner’s repetitious observations showed was that the rats who experienced the “hopeless experiment” would tread water longer than those rats who had not experienced receiving the life preserve stand. The rats who had not, would allow hopelessness to set in and would give up and drown and the rats that had been pushed to the drowning point in the past and had received the stand would keep on treading for minutes longer than they previously had in hope that Skinner would put the life preserve stand in the pool at some point. This showed the rat would never give up of if he thought that there was a chance to get out and stand. *
6) So what I gain from this , and what I believe is that a humana are capable , even in the most deplorable circumstances to create their own hope (stand) and change the circumstances of their percieved hoplessness into real true hope. We don’t have to be rats or take a rats false sense of hope or hopelessness as our fate. We are and can be “stronger that skinners rats” or any other variety anthromorphized.
· * A lot of his experiments with infants would not be permitted in modern psychology.like scaring infants with loud noises while pacing rabbits and other animals in front of them to induce fear of the animals or to teach fear.
· Even for those rats Skinner trained to have hope,the false sense of hope only lasted so long- Even those would finally give up and drown too if the stand failed to appear.