Library of Congress CCN 67-10417
At the right temperature and with the right frame of mind, the water may seem to disappear. By slightly movmg and feeling the soft currents across the skin one can bring back consciousness of the water. A delightful feeling
of suspension ln empty space cam be created ;f he can remain still long enough. By this time he has already adapted to the intense darkness.
The darkness m the space about one is almost palpable; soon there is an immensity. The only disturbing factor is the line of stimulation which is between the air, the water and one's skin. One feels as if he is in two worlds which are separated at the line of the air-water line at his skin. If he rs on his back, he feels he is looking into a black "air world" from a comfortable vantage point from the "underwater world." With imagination, he can abolish the line of gravity, abolish the line of stimulation of the water and the air.
This elimination of gravity's direction is made easier by the use of the proper, custom-built breathing mask. Such a mask is fed air by a special, silent, air supply system. One can assume any position in the water without fear of breathing any water whatsoever. He can move to the hottom of the tank or to any preset depth and remain indefinitely. The proper arljustments for buoyancy are made by special apparatus. The mask svstcm has a rcstricting effect, however, in that it adds complexities and hence wonies about its operation.
- Under these circumstances, in most situations, one
learns to avoid touching the wails and the bottom of the
tank or breaking the surface. The mental phenomena to be
described are attenuated by contacts with walls or bottom.
The situation of the dolphin Iying still heneath the surface
of the warm tropical sea in the pitch black of a densely
overcast night without sharks or other dolphins present is
intagdnable when one is m this situation.
After many hours of exposure to this kind of situation, one be titts to understand some additional analogies of the dolphin's mental life. When one's bladder fills, the urge to micturition occurs. At the beginning of these experiences he holds on and suppresses the urge for a while. Finally he says to himself, "Why?" He lets go. It's fun. Once again he is becoming more delphinic. The usual dry-civilization reasons are not present here in this isolation and in this solitude. We know, intellectually and aestheticaily, that the plumbing takes care of what we produce. One then is on the way to appreciating some of the advantage of living in the dolphin's house, the sea. Even as the dolphins have solved bowel movements long ago, some day both one's 157
self and the plumbing may be ready for the bowel movements.