Do You Feel Like People Are Holding You Back?

The Monkey Story

I passionately believe in challenging the status quo. It is my opinion that we need progress in our world, and the traditional ways will no longer work. Unfortunately, people tend to join into the flow of conformity, rather than challenge what the majority says. I realized this in college, and I’m starting to see it more as I identify areas that need improvement in our world today. This realization reminded me of an experiment I was once told of that was performed by psychologists years ago.

The experiment started with a cage, and inside the cage were five monkeys. The psychologists hung a banana on a string inside the cage, and they put a set of stairs under the banana. It didn’t take long before a monkey started climbing up the stairs to get the banana. As soon as the monkey started climbing the stairs, the psychologists sprayed all of the other monkeys with ice cold water. Awhile later, another monkey made an attempt up the stairs to get the banana. As soon as his foot touched the first step, all of the other monkeys were again sprayed with ice cold water. It didn’t take long before all of the other monkeys would physically prevent any monkey from climbing the stairs.

The psychologists then turned off the cold water, removed one monkey from the cage, and replaced it with a new one. The new monkey saw the banana and immediately started to climb the stairs. To the new monkey’s surprise, all of the other monkeys attacked him. After another attempt and attack, he discovered that if he tried to climb the stairs, he would be assaulted.

Next they removed another of the original five monkeys and replaced it with a new one. The new monkey went to the stairs and was attacked. The previous new comer even joined in on the attack. Again, they replaced a third original monkey with a new one, then a fourth, then a fifth. Every single time the newest monkey tried to climb the stairs, he was attacked. The group of monkeys had no idea why they were not allowed to climb the stairs or why they were attacking any monkey that tried. After replacing all the original monkeys, none of the remaining monkeys had ever been sprayed with cold water. Nevertheless, no monkey ever again tried to approach the stairs to try for the banana.

Why not? As far as the monkeys knew, that’s just the way it’s always been. We do the exact same thing as humans. We’ve done it with education, politics, and the workplace. There’s been very little change in those areas in the last 100 years. We continue to follow what was created long before we came without asking, why? If we fail to question the way things are done, we will fail to move forward. As far as I’m concerned, if we’re not moving forward, we’re moving backward. I suggest we all start climbing the stairs towards the banana again.

www.letsmarch.org

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