Chapter 26

Humans differ from animals because we have access. That’s why—provided we take advantage of it—we become skilled in abstract thinking and the use of imagination. This is how we were able to make friends with some animals back in the day. The aim was to eat them without bothering to hunt. We separated them from wildlife and neighbors, eliminating the threat of someone else eating them first. We also provided regular meals for the animal to fatten in peace. By eliminating mundane concerns from their lives, we also contributed to the degeneration of their natural instincts. However, this was of no serious consequences for them—they were about to be put under a knife or high voltage anyway.
But what would’ve happened if they were spared the inevitable fate of a schnitzel on a platter? Or a cut of beef for the broth? This was once tested on mice. Those nice rodents aren’t on our menu? Not a big problem. They aren’t particularly different from other four-legged creatures, so a tiny generalization is in order. You have no idea what experiment I’m talking about? I did ask you to acquaint yourself with the subject… never mind. A word of introduction to make your life easier: Several mice couples were locked up in a comfortable space, fenced off from the dangers of the outside world, with full board and health care. If the mice had any imagination, they would probably (at least some of them) smell their rat cousins and try to sneak out of the luxurious residence. Nothing like that happened. Abstract thinking wasn’t exactly their strength.
I wonder, dear reader, if you could be lured by a similar offer. A luxurious villa. An unlimited line of credit to buy anything you want without ever having to pay back a cent. Gratis health care at the highest possible level. Free trips to any destination, with door-to-door shuttle and all-inclusive stays. So… would you sign up for the program? Be honest with yourself. The survey is anonymous, I’m not interested in the results; I won’t share them with anyone. To make the decision easier, let me reveal the outcome of the mouse experiment. It ended in the total annihilation of the participating population. Without any outside interference, I might add. If you’re curious about everything that transpired, read up on the details yourself, even if you don’t like mildly displeasing yet very much educational stories. (…)