The Five Monkeys

Start with a cage containing five monkeys. In the cage, hang a banana on a string and put stairs under it. Before long, a monkey will go to the stairs and start to climb towards the banana.

As soon as he touches the stairs, spray all of the monkeys with cold water. After a while, another monkey will make an attempt with the same response -- all of the monkeys are sprayed with cold water. Keep this up for several days.

Turn off the cold water. If, later, another monkey tries to climb the stairs, the other monkeys will try to prevent it even though no water sprays them.

Now, remove one monkey from the cage and replace it with a new one. The new monkey sees the banana and wants to climb the stairs. To his horror, all of the other monkeys attack him. After another attempt and attack, he knows that if he tries to climb the stairs, he will be assaulted.

Next, remove another of the original five monkeys and replace it with a new one. The newcomer goes to the stairs and is attacked. The previous newcomer takes part in the punishment with enthusiasm.

Replace the third original monkey with a new one. The new one makes it to the stairs and is attacked as well. Two of the four monkeys that beat him have no idea why they were not permitted to climb the stairs, or why they are participating in the beating of the newest monkey.

After replacing the fourth and fifth original monkeys, all the monkeys which have been sprayed with cold water have been replaced. Nevertheless, no monkey ever again approaches the stairs.

Why not?

"Because that's the way it's always been done around here."


At 5:29 PM, October 10, 2005, Blogger Galt-In-Da-Box said...

You have nearly diagnosed the mentality of the typical Pope-worshipping pseudoconservative. Blind adherence to the will of the Roman Catholic cult, the MIC, the bankers and oil companies is expected and enforced because "That's the way we've always done it!!!
Problem is, what if "the way you've always done it IS FUCKING WRONG!?

At 11:02 AM, October 21, 2005, Blogger Roci said...

I tried this experiment at my house. But I gave the first replacement monkey a copy of the constitution and model 1911 .45 cal pistol. After he shot dead one of the other monkeys, the rest decided it was OK for him to climb the stairs for the banana.

At 2:27 AM, October 23, 2005, Blogger Galt-In-Da-Box said...

MDS, I hope you're alright. It's been so long since you posted, I'm wondering if John Galt talked you into quitting, and leaving for Colorado, like ZZ Topper, Zod and a lot of other great bloggers.

At 7:49 AM, October 25, 2005, Blogger Master Doh-San said...

Ted: between traveling and some illness, some things have of necessity fallen by the wayside. We intend to rectify that presently. A move to Colorado is looking more and more enticing. (Please do be careful with the language, though. Thx.)

Roci: that might work pretty well with monkeys, but then... there are a lot of monkeys that are a lot smarter than many humans.

At 11:08 PM, November 16, 2011, Anonymous Anonymous said...

But the story is not over -

Then take all the monkeys out of the cage and put one new monkey in the room by himself. The new monkey sees the ladder, sees the bananas, and climbs the ladder. He begins to eat the bananas and discovers they aren’t ordinary bananas; they are Monkey’s Pride premium bananas! He’s hit the jackpot. He savors the taste.

A few hours later, place four of the original monkeys (who were sprayed) into the cage with this guy. Put fresh bananas.

This bothers the new guy as he figures these four guys will be up the ladder in a flash. So, he sprints to the ladder and is about to climb when the original monkeys see what’s happening and immediately grab him and start to beat him and drag him down.

But there was a difference -

This monkey had actually tasted the bananas, he knew they were good. So, he fights back, beating and kicking at the other monkeys and pulling himself up until he reaches the top of the ladder. He then picks up one of the bananas and shakes it at the other monkeys.

Now the four are confused.

But it looks safe enough now, and those bananas are going fast…

This is what I mean by a “paradigm-shift.”

- A summary of a key principle from “Lessons from the Monkey King” by Arthur F. Carmazzi.


At 8:35 AM, April 10, 2012, Blogger Master Doh-San said...

Try not to over-think things. As Freud said: Sometimes, a cigar is just a cigar.


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