Sunday, May 25, 2008

Five monkeys, on a scientific experiment

Everyday, we meet people with Radical ideas, extreme thoughts, which we can’t comprehend, or ideas and thoughts which can’t be accepted by logic or reason.

Everyday, we find strange habits, that some individuals relate to Religion, where it’s only related to old customs and habits.

Every single day we meet these people and see these actions, we can’t understand where did they come from, or based on which grounds.

Only one psychological experiment made it clear –at least for me-, why do people act or think like that.

It’s the Heritage and legacy of a specific social environment, we may all know that, but the only different thing is that the experiment shows it from a very unique point of view.

I guess this experiment reflects lots of our upside-down models that we meet daily in our beloved Egypt, the land of 7000 years of Pharos ;)

Start with a cage containing five monkeys. Inside the cage, hang a banana on a string and place a set of 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, all of the other monkeys are sprayed with cold water. After a while, another monkey makes an attempt with the same result, and all the other monkeys are sprayed with cold water. Pretty soon the monkeys will try to prevent it. Now, put away the cold water. 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 surprise and horror, all the other monkeys attack him. After another attempt and attack, he knows that if he tries to climb the stairs he will be attacked. 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! Likewise, replace a third original monkey with a new one, then a fourth, then the fifth. Every time the newest monkey takes to the stairs, he is attacked. Most of the monkeys that are beating 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 all the original monkeys, none of the remaining monkeys have ever been sprayed with cold water. Nevertheless, no monkey ever again approaches the stairs to try for the banana. Why not? Because as far as they know, that’s the way it’s always been done around there.


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