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          The Two Pigeons by John Powell

 

All the passages below are taken from John Powell’s book “Stories from my Heart,” published in 2001.

 

At a nearby university in the department of psychiatry, two hungry pigeons are put into separate cages. Neither pigeon has ever been in the cages before. The teacher explains that the desired conduct is to have the pigeons peck the black disk in the hack of each cage. However, he explains, the cages are rigged differently.

In one cage, the pigeon is given a reward of a kernel of food by a mechanical arm whenever the pigeon pecks at the black disk. The instructor predicts that the pigeon will peck the black disk one hundred times in five minutes. It always happens just this way.

In the other cage, if the pigeon pecks elsewhere than at the black disk, he is given an electric shock. The instructor correctly predicts that the pigeon will suffer a few of these shocks, and then will sit in the center of the cage, with frizzled feathers, and not know what to do.

The instructor explains that it is the same way with human beings as with the pigeons. If human beings are rewarded for desirable conduct, you will see much more of the desired conduct. But if they arc punished (the electric shock) for undesirable conduct, they will freeze and not know what to do.

 

If you will accept me wherever I am, all my energies and desires to grow will be released and energized.[59]

 

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