• Fred R. Kline

"The Fuzzy Logic of the House Mouse: A Fable"

He realized a better mousetrap had been made and it was especially infallible if a little peanut butter was touched to the trigger clasp.

He loved the country life but he hated killing the little house mouse. Nevertheless he accepted the fact that killing the mouse was necessary for health reasons and that the killing was carried out using the most merciful of executions. At the same time he could not think of a more innocent, curious, and industrious creature and he felt sincerely that the house mouse had endearing qualities comparative to children.

He guessed it was the survival instinct that made him go ahead with the traps since the busy house mouse was everywhere and their tiny waste dropped on everything and it was bound to be unhealthy. On many mornings he found a dead house mouse in a trap and he always placed the body on an outside wall for the ravens. Often he would grant a certain returning late night mouse a reprieve as he watched it and laughed at its antics and explorations, hoping the critter would move away. In the end, he executed the mouse but by then he had given the house mouse a nickname and that only made him feel more like a murderer and this thought lingered in his mind as something close to a crime. After all, he argued, they just flit around friendly and curious like children discovering the world and no less a marvel of creation.

He hated to kill the house mouse but he went ahead year after year. A serious change came over him as he grew into his seventies and he increasingly considered the possible good of allowing the house mouse to live in peace in a world in which both would soon depart. If he spoke of it he would be thought an unbalanced and sentimental fool for considering the house mouse worthy of amnesty and even reverence.

It was a fuzzy kind of logic, at best, since this thinking was not the way of the world. But if it were, he thought, perhaps, just perhaps, a sentimental fool just might change the way of the world, change it toward more sensitivity to living things and maybe, just maybe, war would become obsolete. He knew about war only too well.

It was a crazy idea but by then, in his eight decade on earth, he knew for certain the way of the world was very much crazier than anyone had yet dared to imagine or even speak of. Yes, he decided, this evening at the big White House dinner party he would tell the assembled important people of the world about his crazy idea. He would set an unsuspected trap with the crazy idea and watch it fly away into the way of the world. He knew the crazy idea would be shocking and later discussed and reported and with luck he would watch it spread, irresistible gossip on everyone’s lips.

He was, after all, the former President of the United States.

Before dinner, he stood at the podium and offered his opening remarks. “I love the country life but I hate killing the cute little house mouse,” he began. “I consider this innocent, curious, and industrious creature to have endearing qualities that are closely comparative to children. I do not wish to kill the house mouse any longer, this miracle of creation, and so I have thrown away all mousetraps. There is a better way to a better freedom than the way that offers death and war as a model and together we will find it, and yes, together with the house mouse.” He continued on eloquently with his remarks, for about as long as Lincoln’s brief Gettysburg Address, and when he finished he was astonished by the rousing applause. He could see people wiping their eyes and laughing and many apparently doing both. At dinner, he brushed away questions with a smile and said nothing more.

He finished his dinner and then unexpectedly stood up in a very cheerful mood, reached into his pocket, and held high for all to see a little house mouse whose head he lovingly stroked. “This is my friend Mokey,” he announced. Cameras flashed and great applause followed him as he hastily departed the gathering.

From that crazy idea of 100 years ago, people in the millions and in all countries began adopting the house mouse, a phenomenon known as “A Friend in the Pocket,” and a higher consciousness began to spread. A vaccine was developed to immunize people against all house mouse related disease. Before long, a new sensitivity could be recognized everywhere, in word and deed. Learned judges of history believe it to be the first cause of the big change, when war disappeared as the way of the world.

Moral: It takes a crazy idea to change a crazy world. #