CHICAGO—A study conducted recently by the University of Chicago suggests that shadows lead flat, unfulfilling lives. According to the study—based on observations of shadows in thirty-seven states—shadows do not exhibit characteristics associated with a satisfactory existence.
Those characteristics include a positive self-image, a willingness to initiate social interactions, and the ability change direction when the situation demands.
“These findings are staggering,” said Dr. Stephen Malkowitz of the American Psychological Association. “We clearly have an epidemic on our hands. The evidence is right under our noses. There’s no point trying to run away from it.”
The scientific community, Dr. Malkowitz explains, “is virtually unanimous in its belief that shadows do not have ‘lives.’ Therefore researchers have been afraid to risk professional ridicule by conducting studies in this area.”
Dr. Malkowitz likens the attitudes toward shadow research to those that impeded research into the cognitive and emotional lives of animals until recently. He believes that as soon as “we can derive better shadow questions and a way of posing them, we can begin a meaningful dialog with shadows, which at one time were thought to contain a person’s soul.”
Toward that end he has been using shadow puppetry, an ancient form of storytelling and entertainment that employs flat, articulated figures to create the impression of moving humans and other three-dimensional objects, to develop a shadow sign language.
“We may not be too far from developing a shadow with a vocabulary like that of Washoe (a female common chimpanzee who was the first non-human to learn to communicate using American Sign Language).”
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