As you may know already, I do not believe in coincidences. Everything happens for a reason and I thought it was funny that I heard of that story at that time in my life and even more so on that week.
A few days later I got Chris Guillebeau's "The art of non-conformity". Guess what? At the beginning of his book, he tells the same story!
let me tell you the story in my own works:
A not-so-nice scientist wanted to do an experiment on monkeys to see how you can explain their behavior as a group. He put a few monkeys in a cage with some food in a bowl on the floor. Just ordinary food and just enough for the number of monkeys. He also hanged some bananas on the top of the cage and placed a ladder leading to the bananas. The bananas were reachable for the monkeys. Guess what? Soon enough a monkey used the ladder to get the bananas. The thing was that the not-so-nice scientist, made it so that as soon as the bananas would be touched, all the monkeys down on the floor would receive some water and become wet. Over time, no monkeys even tried getting the bananas because at one point in time the ended up wet and didn't like it. Eventually, the not-so-nice scientist, switch one of the monkey. The new monkey did not knew about the water therefore he tried getting the bananas only to find out that all the other monkeys would go crazy and absolutely try to keep him from doing it. One by one, all the monkeys were replaced with none of the new monkeys ever have been wet but having learn by peers not to use the ladder the reach for the bananas. Not knowing why, none of the monkey even tried reaching for the bananas which may seem like a normal gesture for a monkey!
End of story.
Isn't that crazy??? This obviously is about conditioning. The monkeys that got wet and didn't like it, prevented any other monkey to use the ladder to reach the bananas. The new monkeys, without knowing why, because they never got wet, learned that they could not access the bananas using the ladder and even worse... NEVER EVEN TRIED!
If we truly are like monkeys.... this is a really scary story for us too!
What type of conditioning are we under? What got handed down to us without us even asking why? Even questioning the behavior/gesture that we adopted even since we were born? Are the people that conditioned us even aware of what they did? How are we conditioning our children?
Do you realise that most 3 years old kids will ask "why" a thousand times per day? Do we still do that at 10? 20? 30?... Of course not.... because we were shut down... we were told "because" as the answer to our "why?". We stopped asking... even ourselves!
If monkeys can be conditioned with water... can you imagine how easily we can be conditioned by authority? parents? education system? publicity?
Even more so that no one, no longer realize what is going on...
I am not blaming or accusing anyone! Hey, I stopped asking "why" myself a long time ago (only recently did I start again).... and I also answered "because" on a few occasions! Not that I am proud of it... and I am tying to reverse this pattern with my son but as a blogger, I felt an urge to open your eyes on that subject!
How we going through life as zombies? Have we any clue of all we could do it we would not let a few drops of water stops us? If we would questions our actions or non-actions more? if we would not let our peer dictate what we should or should not do? If our natural desires would not have been shut down? If our ambitions were still there? If we still had dreams?
If you dream of reaching for the bananas, why wouldn't you? Who's to say that water will always be poured? Why not find a way to get the bananas without water for the down-below monkey as a result?
If you want your bananas, I say you go and get them!!! Do not let any other monkey tell you you shouldn't... or you can't! Try for yourself!
What is your banana? What will you go get once you put down this post?
if you liked this post please share it with 3 monkeys in your cage! :-)