Have you ever wondered that we human beings are probably the only specie that co-exists with their ancestors from whom we are supposed to have evolved? Yes, monkeys are an inseparable part of our ecology , not just mythologically. Unfortunately today if some one compares us or our actions with those of our ancestors, it is considered as derogatory.
However recently I came across a phrase “The hundredth monkey” and it really amused me. I checked the details of its origin and this is what I found.
In 1952, on the Japanese island of Kohima, scientists were providing monkeys with sweet potatoes dropped in the sand. The monkeys 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 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, the scientists’ beings witness to it.
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 monkeys, say ninety nine, were washing sweet potatoes on their side of the stream. One monkey from the other side of the stream watching this. He couldn’t control his curiosity and joined the band wagon on the other side. He jumped with joy as he tasted the washed sweet potato. Not surprisingly,the monkeys on the other side of the stream were ecstatic to learn the revolutionary idea that was brought by the hundredth monkey. It did not take long for the revolution to spread from island to island before crossing the sea barriers, thereby becoming the accepted global norm.
In fact the added energy of this hundredth monkey somehow created an ideological break through. Thus, when a certain critical number achieves awareness gets communicated from mind to mind. Although the exact number may vary, the
Hundredth Monkey phenomenon means that when only a limited number of people know of a new way, it may remain the consciousness 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 by almost everyone!
Coming back to the so called society of ours, we keep facing innumerable situations in our day to day life where we can become the so called ‘hundredth monkey’. At times, we feel the idea of be too trivial, work to be too mundane and sometimes are inhibited to accept or adopt something different waiting for others to take the lead. We keep crying wolf for various problems that we face individually or collectively. But we hesitate to solve them for want of accept norms. We talk of rampant corruption prevailing in our society but don’t want to leave the opportunity that comes our way.
The excuse is very simple. As an individual I can not put an end to corruption. If I don’t take my share, then some one else will get it. Thus the vicious cycle continues. Why should your action be dependent on others? You should act as per your conscience. Let’s decide today as an individual that we will not adhere to any sort of corruption in our respective professions. I am sure our strength would swell like the monkey washing sweet potatoes. Do not hesitate to practice something just because it appears to be unconventional. Don’t leave any opportunity to be ‘hundredth monkey’.