Some of you may have browsed the Internet and read about an experiment involving barracudas. The experiment involved a school of barracudas, a tank of water, a clear sheet of glass and another school of fish that barracudas enjoy eating. An aquarium would be filled with water and a sheet of glass placed in the middle. A harmless group of fish would be placed on one side. On the other, the barracuda, who would immediately try and attack the other fish.
The Story Goes Like This
Allegedly, the barracuda would continue to try and attack its prey, despite the presence of the glass between them. This would continue until the barracuda accepted that the fish were simply incapable of being touched. The kicker? After removing the glass, the barracuda would still resist attacking.
Years of seeing this circulate on the Internet makes one wonder: did this experiment actually happen? And if it did, what were the actual results?
A Good Tale, But Very Likely Not Real
The major reason why this story is likely false is because there seems to be no way of verifying an actual experiment. Something like this would be of major interest a person interested in the habits of fish. And yet not one peer-reviewed article seems to be available. When the story is written or told, it’s always vague. Someone did the experiment in Japan, or was it Europe? It was a scientist, wasn’t it? Unfortunately, there are no exact names and places.
One source even suggested the reader try this, although it’s hard to imagine a person could just go and buy a barracuda without some kind of special permit.
Experiment Was Likely Never Meant To Be Taken Literally
Aside from being an urban legend of sorts, the “barracuda glass experiment” story serves a purpose; it informs the reader of the dangerousness of accepting mental and emotional defeat. The lesson is that often there are barriers to getting what we want out of life. And that no matter how hard we try, it may feel as if you are going nowhere. And then one day, that barrier is gone. But because you’ve already accepted that you cannot achieve a goal, you’ll no longer try, even if there’s nothing stopping you —even if the barrier was only ever in your mind.
The result is that the idea of using barracudas for an experiment was likely never something that actually happened. Instead, the barracuda-glass wall story seems to exist to motivate readers to not give up on their goals and to try and get the most out of life. In other words, don’t learn the lessons of failure so well that you believe success is no longer possible.