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A Tale of Five Monkeys September 14, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Animals, Humor, Joke.

monkeysStart with a cage containing five monkeys.

Inside the cage, hang a banana on a string from the top of the cage.

Then place a set of stairs under the banana.

Before long a monkey will go to the stairs and climb toward the banana.

As soon as he touches the stairs, spray all the other monkeys with cold water.

Each time a monkey makes the attempt, spray all the other monkeys with cold water.

Soon, when a monkey tries to climb the stairs, the other monkeys will try to prevent it.

Now, put the cold water away.

Remove one monkey from the cage and replace it with a new one.  The new monkey sees the banana and attempts to climb the stairs. To his shock, all of the other monkeys beat the crap out of him.

After another attempt and attack, he knows that if he tries to climb the stairs he will be assaulted.

Next, remove another of the original five monkeys, replacing it with a new one.

The newcomer goes to the stairs and is attacked.

The previous newcomer takes part in the attack with enthusiasm because he is now part of the “team.”

Then, replace a third original monkey with a new one, followed by the fourth, then the fifth.  Every time the newest monkey takes to the stairs, he is attacked.

At this point, none of the monkeys beating him up have any idea why they are not permitted to climb the stairs, nor do they know why they are beating up the newest monkey.

Having replaced all of the original monkeys, none of the monkeys in the cage has ever been sprayed with cold water.  Nevertheless, none of the monkeys will let the others climb the stairway for the banana.


Because in their minds . . .that is the way it has always been!

This, my friends, is how most governments operate.

It is also why, from time to time, we need to replace ALL of the monkeys AT THE SAME TIME.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Source: e-mail from an unknown author (sent by Granny1947)


1. aawwa - September 14, 2013

That is brilliant! Do you mind if I re-blog it?

nrhatch - September 14, 2013

Not at all, Lorraine. Share away!

2. kateshrewsday - September 14, 2013

Absolutely! We are conditioned more than we know. And we learn not to question. The most telling sentence of this post?” None of the monkeys beating him up have any idea why they are not permitted to climb the stairs, nor do they know why they are beating up the newest monkey.”

We need to be continually asking why.

nrhatch - September 14, 2013

Yes! This e-mail from Granny tied in so nicely with the recent conversation about “re-wiring the brain.” Many of our re-actions to life are NOTHING more than conditioning we’ve not yet questioned.

WHY??? is a terrific question to ask when we want to make more mindful decisions.

3. colonialist - September 14, 2013

This is so true!
I don’t know if replacing all of ours would stop their corruption, though. It seems to have become an inbred characteristic of politicians here.

nrhatch - September 14, 2013

I expect it’s often a case of “Monkey See . . . Monkey Do.” They see others cutting corners and getting away with being corrupt and they think, “Hmm . . . I might have to give that a try myself.”

4. ericjbaker - September 14, 2013

I wish more people were willing to vote for a third-party candidate.

nrhatch - September 14, 2013

I’ve been voting for the Green Candidate for years . . . because I want to vote for something other than a 2-party system.

5. Three Well Beings - September 14, 2013

This is hilarious, Nancy! Way too funny, and an accurate assessment! Have you watched any of the Netflix show, “House of Cards?” You might be interested…not that you don’t already accurately assess governmental corruption. It’s just more interesting watching it from Kevin Spacey’s point of view!

nrhatch - September 14, 2013

Yes! We did see House of Cards . . . Kevin Spacey NAILED IT!

calmgrove - September 14, 2013

I have fond memories of the original BBC version of this, starring the late Ian Richardson and first broadcast in 1990.

Margaret Thatcher’s resignation came around the same time, and for those who opposed her stance this series will have encapsulated all they feared about the processes of government.

nrhatch - September 15, 2013

I didn’t know it was a series . . . it must have been quite “telling.”

6. granny1947 - September 14, 2013

Thought you would enjoy this one…so true.
Lots of love.

nrhatch - September 15, 2013

Thanks, Granny! This one tied is perfectly with the “Evolve Your Brain” series. Hey, hey, we’re the Monkees!

7. joannevalentinesimson - September 14, 2013

This is SOooooo… good! And true. And scary.

nrhatch - September 15, 2013

Yup. And yup. We have a long way to go to get to where we want to be.

8. gita4elamats - September 15, 2013
nrhatch - September 15, 2013

Great minds like a think! 😀

gita4elamats - September 15, 2013

They do like a think! 😆

9. Pix Under the Oaks - September 15, 2013

“replace ALL of the monkeys AT THE SAME TIME.” 😀

nrhatch - September 15, 2013

And out of the midst of the ensuing chaos . . . true leaders would be born!

10. Grannymar - September 15, 2013

An excellent example of re writing the brain. Patience and repetition seem like the major requirements.

nrhatch - September 15, 2013

That’s it. We learn to walk, talk, read, write, and tie our shoes by practicing over and over and over again.

11. jannatwrites - September 16, 2013

There is much truth to this. It’s scary how we go along without asking questions. Although, it is kind of amusing to imagine the ‘old’ congress people beating up the new ones when they try to do what’s right.

nrhatch - September 16, 2013

Yes! As Kate noted, asking “WHY?” as we go through our days is important . . . it lets us know whether we are exercising our common sense.

And the image is hysterical ~ I can see LOTS of politicians dragging their knuckles on the ground while beating their chests and screaming like banshees! 😉

12. shreejacob - September 18, 2013

Now that is a totally brilliant post!!!! I’m going to share it! 😀

nrhatch - September 18, 2013

Share away, Shree ~ it’s a great example of how we re-wire our brains due to the conditioning we receive. Far better to do it mindfully on our own.

13. diannegray - November 8, 2015

AHHHH! That’s it, Nancy. I knew you would have known it. Thank you 😀

nrhatch - November 9, 2015

SLTW is great memory aid ~> much better than post-it notes! :mrgreen:

14. Karen J - November 9, 2015

The roomie and I are both ROTFL over this one, Nancy ~ thanks!!

nrhatch - November 9, 2015

My pleasure!

Here’s to swapping out all our “monkeys” at once so that we allow the “what is” to be as it is . . . without resistance.

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