Wednesday, September 07, 2011

The Monkey Parable
(as told by a CoWorker)

There once were some scientists, who, in the time before the ASPCA, decided to test some monkeys.

They set up a large cage with a very long ramp on one end that winded all the way along the sides, to reach the top of a "peak", on which they put a basket of juicy, sweet fruit.

They then put a monkey in the cage. The monkey sniffed, smelled the fruit, and climbed all the way up to the top. When he got there, he reached out for the fruit, and the researchers hit him with a blast of ice-cold water that knocked him off the peak.

Confused, he climbed the ramp again, reached out again, and got knocked around by the ice-cold jet spray again. The monkey was smart; he only needed to be shown twice that going to the top of the peak would result in him being attacked.

They then introduced a second monkey. The first monkey sat placidly and watched while the second one climbed to the top. The second monkey reached for the fruit, and the researchers blasted him with water, but they also blasted the first monkey, who hadn't done anything. It was repeated a second time, and the second monkey learned not to go to the top of the ramp, and the first one learned that if ANYONE went to the top he would get attacked.

Third monkey introduced, third monkey goes to the top, and this time, all three are blasted with water. When third monkey decides to go up to the ramp again, the first and second monkeys beat him up. The third monkey realizes if he goes up the ramp, the other two will beat him up.

Monkey #1 is removed, and #2 and #3 see #4 enter and try to go up the ramp. They beat up #4 to keep him from going up the ramp.

Monkey #4 is confused, but then when #2 is taken away, he helps #3 beat up #5 to keep him from going up the ramp, even though the researchers put away the hose. And so on it goes, with each subsequent monkey helping keep other monkeys from going up the ramp, without ever knowing why.

Moral of the story: think about what we do sometimes. Are we monkeys?

(Some people think so)