The Wheel

A couple of scientists in the Netherlands ran an experiment.
They wanted to challenge a prevailing assumption.
One that suggests mice run in wheels because they’re captive and neurotic.
Like animals pacing in cages.
So the researchers placed some running wheels in nature.
And wild mice showed up and ran in them.
Even in the absence of food rewards.
Running in wheels appears to be more than a coping behavior.
It may be enjoyable.
Human beings enjoy the wheel.
The wheel of unconscious, habitual thinking and behavior.
The happy trance of the status quo.
It makes them feel safe and secure.
It gives them the feeling of knowing what to expect.
I used to believe that restless wheel runners were unhappy.
But I was wrong.
They’re as happy as anyone else.
Perhaps happier.
And so they’re not going to change very much.
Not their work, lives, or organizations.
And certainly not the world.


Beware the barrenness of a busy life.
— Socrates