Monkey Syndrome


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, spray all of the
other monkeys with cold water. After a while, another monkey makes
an attempt with the same result, all the other monkeys are sprayed
with cold water. Pretty soon, when another monkey tries to climb
the stairs, the other 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 of the
other monkeys attack 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 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 here.