The Parable of the Monkeys in the Cage

monkeys

submitted by jwithrow.Banana on String

Five monkeys awaken to find themselves inside of a large cage. A banana hangs from a string at the very top of the cage and there is a staircase in the middle of the cage that leads directly up to the banana.

One of the monkeys, before long, decides that he would like to have the banana so he goes to the stairs. As soon as the monkey touches the stairs, however, every monkey inside of the cage is sprayed with high pressure cold water from an external hose which knocks each monkey to the ground and makes for a miserable evening.

A few uneventful days pass before a second monkey decides that he would like to have the banana so he goes to the stairs. Once again, as soon as this monkey touches the stairs, every monkey inside of the cage is sprayed with high pressure cold water.

A few months go by and one of the original monkeys passes away and is replaced with a new monkey. The new monkey is amazed that the other monkeys have not gotten the banana and he immediately makes his way for the stairs.

As soon as the new monkey touches the stairs, the four remaining original monkeys immediately yank him to the ground and proceed to assault him.

After a few days to recover, the new monkey once again decides to try to get the banana. And once again, the other monkeys immediately prevent him from climbing the stairs and they beat the new monkey for his efforts.

A few months go by and the second of the original monkeys passes away and is replaced with a new monkey. Naturally, the new monkey is shocked to find that the other monkeys have not gotten the banana and he immediately makes his way for the stairs.

As soon as this newest monkey touches the stairs, the three remaining original monkeys immediately yank him to the ground and proceed to assault him. The first new monkey also rushes to beat the newest monkey with enthusiasm as the first new monkey is now part of the “team”.

The third and the fourth original monkeys both pass away as the years go by and they are replaced each time with a new monkey. Each time the new monkey attempts to get the banana only to be shocked by the beating that he receives from the older monkeys.

Finally, the last original monkey passes away and is replaced by the fifth new monkey. The fifth new monkey finds it strange that the other monkeys have not gotten the banana so he immediately makes for the stairs. As soon as he touches the stairs, the four other monkeys rush to assault the newest monkey.

Now, the four monkeys that are beating up the newest monkey have no idea as to why they were originally beaten for their own attempt at climbing the stairs and neither do they know why they are perpetuating the tradition of beating each new monkey that tries to climb the stairs. As none of the monkeys now in the cage are the original monkeys, none of them have ever been sprayed by water. Nevertheless, the “experienced” monkeys do not try to climb the stairs to get the banana and they immediately suppress any attempt from newer monkeys to go for the banana.

Why is this? Wouldn’t the monkeys love to have the banana?

Well, in their minds, it’s just the way it has always been. The monkeys have been fully cultured to accept the fact that it is unacceptable to climb the stairs in pursuit of the banana.

Silly monkeys, huh?

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