with a cage containing five monkeys.
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.
soon as he touches the stairs, spray all of the monkeys with
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.
off the cold water.
later, another monkey tries to climb the
stairs, the other monkeys will try to prevent it even though
no water sprays them.
remove one monkey from the cage and replace it with a new
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.
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
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.
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
"Because that's the
way it's always been done around here."
The 100th Monkey
The Japanese monkey, Macaca Fuscata, had been
observed in the wild for a period of over 30 years.
In 1952, on the island of Koshima, scientists
were providing monkeys with sweet potatoes dropped in the sand. The monkey liked
the taste of the raw sweet potatoes, but they found the dirt unpleasant.
An 18-month-old female named Imo found she
could solve the problem by washing the potatoes in a nearby stream. She taught
this trick to her mother. Her playmates also learned this new way and they
taught their mothers too.
This cultural innovation was gradually picked
up by various monkeys before the eyes of the scientists. Between 1952 and 1958
all the young monkeys learned to wash the sandy sweet potatoes to make them more
palatable. Only the adults who imitated their children learned this social
improvement. Other adults kept eating the dirty sweet potatoes.
Then something startling took place. In the
autumn of 1958, a certain number of Koshima monkeys were washing sweet potatoes
-- the exact number is not known. Let us suppose that when the sun rose one
morning there were 99 monkeys on Koshima Island who had learned to wash their
sweet potatoes. Let's further suppose that later that morning, the hundredth
monkey learned to wash potatoes.
THEN IT HAPPENED!
By that evening almost
everyone in the tribe was washing sweet potatoes before eating them. The added
energy of this hundredth monkey somehow created an ideological breakthrough!
But notice: A most surprising thing observed
by these scientists was that the habit of washing sweet potatoes then jumped
over the sea...Colonies of monkeys on other islands and the mainland troop of
monkeys at Takasakiyama began washing their sweet potatoes.
Thus, when a certain critical
number achieves an awareness, this new awareness may be communicated from mind
Although the exact number may
vary, this Hundredth Monkey Phenomenon means that when only a limited number of
people know of a new way, it may remain the conscious property of these people.
But there is a point at which
if only one more person tunes-in to a new awareness, a field is strengthened so
that this awareness is picked up by almost everyone!
From the book "The Hundredth Monkey"
by Ken Keyes, Jr.
The book is not copyrighted and the material may be reproduced in whole or in
the whole book.