Weight

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Contently Deranged Travelers
Even greed can come at a price.

Submitted: February 06, 2016

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Submitted: February 06, 2016

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A psychological experiment was designed and implemented to observe mental variables dependent on one’s social status. For this particular situation, a homeless man and a young noble were called in to complete simple tasks. These men were of similar physical stature.

These men were given the test in separate rooms to avoid any potential contact with the other, and those conducting the experiment were trained professionals. Results using different people may contradict those shown here, but outcomes will commonly be similar.

The testing rooms were black with small stage lights on the ceiling above the table and chairs where the tests took place. Two boxes sat on the far ends of the table, concealing objects unbeknownst to the guests until their revelation.

Although these men took the test at the same time, the noble will be analyzed first.

Test 1: The Rich

The experiment began with the professional examiner taking out two sacks: one with one pound of feathers, and the other with one pound of rocks.

“Which weighs more, one pound of rocks or one pound of feathers?” he asked the noble.

Without hesitation, the noble responded. “The rocks, of course.”

The examiner then asked the noble to pick up each of the sacks. He did so, and, realizing his mistake, apologized to the examiner and stated that he meant to say that they weighed the same.

The examiner said nothing.

Continuing with the test, the professional then walked over to the leftmost box on the tabletop.

“Which weighs more,” he said, lifting the first lid. “A 50-pound bag of gold coins,” he said, walking to the second box and lifting its lid, “or a 50-pound bag of silver coins?”

Again, the noble’s answer was prompt and without any doubt. “They weigh the same.” He barely was able to make out the words, however; his stare couldn’t be diverted from either bag. His greed was being fueled.

Like before, the professional requested for the man to lift both bags. He eagerly gripped the tips of the sacks and began to lift them up, before realizing he didn’t have the strength or the energy to do so. In aggravation and defeat, he dropped the bags back onto the table, shoved the chair aside, and stormed out of the testing room.

Officials outside of the testing room have reported bribery attempts from the noble’s relatives to fetch them the gold and silver contained in the bags.

Test 2: The Poor

The homeless man was given the exact same test with the same rules and an identical set of restrictions.

“Which weighs more, one pound of rocks or one pound of feathers?” the instructor asked the man.

Unlike the previous participant, the poor man thought for a minute, then for two, then three, before finally opening his mouth to talk. “They weigh the same,” he said.

The professional asked him to pick the bags up. He did, nodded, and gently placed them back on the table with ease.

As before, the examiner rose both boxes and asked, “Which weighs more, a 50-pound bag of gold coins or a 50-pound bag of silver coins?”

The man thought for a minute, then two, then three, before once again speaking.

“The gold weighs more than the silver,” he said.

The instructor nodded, and asked him to pick up the bags. After a feeble, failed attempt, the homeless man shrugged and smiled at himself, almost finding his lack of strength funny.

The instructor gave the homeless man the sack of gold, as that was what he said weighed more, and sent him on his way.

***

Outside the testing chambers, the homeless man and the noble ran into each other with the homeless man still holding on to his sack of gold. The noble glared angrily at the sack and then into the other man’s eyes, as he wasn't able to hold or take either of the bags out of the testing room.

“Unbelievable,” he snickered. "Why does an undesirable waste deserve that quantity of wealth?”

They stared at each other for a while, allowing the wind to blow past them, the sun to peek through the clouds above, and the trees to sway and rustle.

The homeless man thought for a minute.

Then for two.

Then for three, before finally speaking.

“A man is only worth as much as he can carry,” he said, walking away.

The noble didn’t stop him.


© Copyright 2019 Hanorbi. All rights reserved.

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