Let’s say you are a member of a team of scientists whose job is to run tests on mice 24/7 just to see how they react to certain stimuli or are forced to make their way through some series of circumstances or to see how they respond to threats or dangerous situations.
You and your team have a nearly unlimited amount of space in your laboratory, and thanks to the nature of your test subjects to multiply, there is never any shortage of them. In fact, their tendency to continue to multiply could exceed the number of tests that could be run on them.
Losing some of the test subjects along the way is expected and a normal part of the scientific process. Granted, if their populace becomes overwhelming, riskier or disastrous tests could be run to thin out their tendency to overpopulate every so often.
With the exception of the first pair of mice which came to the laboratory while it was being built, all the mice have been born into this laboratory environment. To them, this is their home, and all the lights, testing equipment, and observation gear, is their normal environment, and they are quite content to accept their life as it is.
They know, for the most part, that their basic needs will be met, with few interruptions, and they will have to endure some challenges.
The scientists, you and your colleagues, are charged with coming up with an endless supply of these challenges to see how they react, and how you can manipulate them en solo or en masse.
Long ago, even with the first pair of mice, the founders of this project determined that fear was the most powerful weapon which could be wielded in an effort to control the behavior of the mice.
Every now and then, in the course of running an experiment on a group of mice (sometimes a very large group) one of the mice will stop amidst the flow of energy. Just stop in its tracks, and look up, as if to stare one of the scientists in the eyes.
In that moment, this mouse experienced a moment of clarity, essentially triggered by something in the DNA which was bestowed by the original mice. That first pair of mice knew what it was like to be free, to wander and frolic in the wide-open spaces, to not have anyone or anything experimenting on them. And this cellular memory was passed onto every mouse which they spawned.
Every now and then, a mouse (though not all mice) experiences that moment when they break character and start to see things clearly.
Not a problem for the scientist. By simply wrapping on the glass, or frightening the mouse in some way, quickly returns to mouse into its “natural state” of being a faithful test subject.
Occasionally, a mouse will often have these moments of clarity, and they are quickly identified, marked, and tracked. If their resistance to participate in the experiments continues or becomes problematic, they are set aside and become test subjects of experiments designed to break their inclination to see things as they really are, or other types of experiments which could have the most dire results.
The team has agreed that one subject (or group of subjects) must not be allowed to compromise the entire project at hand.
Unless, of course, the team has selected a mouse to be a part of an experiment to see what effect it might have on other mice in its social circle. This is an entirely different type of experiment, maybe one of the experiments you, as a member of the scientific team, might enjoy the most.
In my opinion, you as the scientist, have the most amazing job in this scenario. You get to control everything, which to the mice, all seem very natural and normal, supernatural, or as acts of God. To be the lab mice? Not so much, but it is what it is.
You, as the scientist, can expose certain mice to information but not others to see what happens. You can program or expose one mouse to all kinds of drama and trauma then throw it in with another group of mice to see what happens. You can put chemicals in their food or water and chart the results. You can expose them to “natural disasters” and track the data. The opportunities are endless.
And every once in a while, if you’re feeling anxious, you can run your own experiment, just to see what happens in some crazy scenario that maybe no one else would have even thought of trying, just to satisfy your own sense of morbid curiosity.
Not to worry; after all, they are only mice.
Even if the mice think they are more than test subjects in a laboratory, limited to this lab environment, the fact remains: They are.
Try as they might, it is highly unlikely that any one of them could escape the boundaries of the laboratory. Though a few have, over the years, escaped the lab to live the life which they knew to be possible, a life of freedom enjoyed by their ancestors.
Every time one escapes, new procedures are protections are put in place to make sure it never happens again.
You can be sure, right now, one of them is thinking about what life would be like outside the lab.