Wednesday, August 6, 2008

conditioning

It has been a long time since I last blogged. It's not that I have been particularly busy (well, I have, but not so much that I didn't have half an hour to write) or that I haven't had much to say. The trick is to say it before the moment passes.

And that is true for so many other things!

I am subscribed to this National Geographic video podcast and the episode I was watching today (download it here) shows how a group of conservationists are trying to protect an endangered species of cranes from becoming extinct. They have a website too - operationmigration.org. These people breed cranes and teach them how to eat, how to fly, even migrating across the continent for the winter. The migratory path is apparently only in the memories of these birds, and handed down generation to generation. If a generation is lost, so is the collective memory.

What I found most interesting was the method employed by these scientists. They dress up to look almost like the cranes - well, close, and not human anyway - and play recordings of crane-speak to the little ones. No human is allowed to come near the cranes, nor are the dressed up scientists allowed to speak. The idea is to not let the cranes get used to humans since they are meant to be wild. They are taught flying by means of an ultra-light, white-painted aircraft that guides them through their migratory course too. And this aircraft is made to be a part of their environs ever since they are born, with the engine running often - so the cranes are used to it and the sound when the time comes for it to teach them flying.

I found it almost magical. You must see the video to experience it first hand.

What got me really thinking was the power of conditioning. It is absolute.
If we were to ever be subject to similar conditioning as these cranes, how would we realise it? What if we already were?


4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Interesting!

Reminds me of Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World"

-Arun

Harish B said...

thanks for visiting my blog and commenting.

hemantbhanoo said...

have you seen Winged Migration?

Umang said...

@hemantbhanoo Have seen the trailer, but didn't get around to seeing the complete movie yet.