Autobiographical Essays

Beate Caspari-Rosen, MD (1910 - 1995)

News From The Waterfront

The gold and the black fishes have developed their own  personalities or better said, I now recognize their individual personalities. The black fish, with its bulldog--like face and protruding eyes has taken over the tank. “He” purposefully swims up and down and crosswise with energetic strokes and hinders the graceful goldfish in her leisurely floating movements. You notice I now speak of “her” and “she,” for the blackfish's personality is aggressive and seems quite intentional while, the goldfish is more passive and elegant in her movements. He nudges her with his head and limits where she can float. He has also learned where the food  comes from; he swims to the top of the tank and expects the morsels to fall into his open  mouth. I get angry, for I cannot admonish him for his rudeness. There is no arguing with a fish. Does this sound chauvinistic or anthropocentric? That may be so, for I know there is no sex play involved in their behavior, but it seems so characteristic for creatures who have not yet been taught how to behave in a civilized society. The catfish sleeps through all this action and when it wakes up, quickly darts around the two other fish, catching food wherever it can, and it then sinks down again into its stupor. Even in fish, behavior analogous to human nature can be observed. 


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