Once there was a fish who lived in the great ocean, and because the water was transparent and always conveniently got out of the way of his nose when he moved along, he didn’t know he was in the ocean. Well, one day the fish did a very dangerous thing, he began to think: “Surely I am a most remarkable being, since I can move around like this in the middle of empty space.” Then the fish became confused because of thinking about moving and swimming, and he suddenly had an anxietyconvulsion and thought he had forgotten how.
At that moment he looked down and saw the yawning chasm of the ocean depths, and he was terrified that he would drop. Then he thought: “If I could catch hold of my tail in my mouth, I could hold myself up.” And so he curled himself up and snapped at his tail. Unfortunately, his spine wasn’t quite suppleenough, so he missed. As he went on trying to catch hold of his tail, the yawning black abyss below became ever more terrible, and he was brought to the edge of total nervous breakdown.
The fish was about to give up, when the ocean, who had been watching with mixed feelings of pity and amusement, said, “What are you doing?” “Oh,” said the fish, “I’m terrified of falling into the deep dark abyss, and I’m trying to catch hold of my tail in my mouth to hold myself up.” So the ocean said, “Well, you’ve been trying that for a long time now, and still you haven’t fallen down. How come?” “Oh, of course, I haven’t fallen down yet,” said the fish, “because, because--I’m swimming!”
“Well,” came the reply, “I am the Great Ocean, in which you live and move and are able to be a fish, and I have given all of myself to you in which to swim, and I support you all the time you swim. Instead of exploring the length, breadth, depth, and height of my expanse, you are wasting your time pursuing your own end.” From then on, the fish put his own end behind him (where it belonged) and set out to explore the ocean.