The Subdued Monkeys concept

Welcome to Narrating The Dream and this time, I am discussing a theory of how society subdues its people over time. I call this: Subdued Monkeys theory.

This isn’t original. I came across it on Facebook and felt it is too good to not share. So, I did share it on FB. Now, as I wonder about the next post, I feel that it would be perfect.

There were once five monkeys placed at the bottom of a cage with solid walls. The only way out was with a solid ladder. The ladder had a mechanism that when a monkey climbed halfway to the top, all the monkeys would be hit by a jet of cold water, but the force will not be enough to topple the climbing monkey.

Three monkeys tried and all the monkeys were hit with cold water. The panic in the climbing monkey made it fall every time. When the fourth monkey tried to climb, the others dragged it down and beat it to stop it from climbing. No one then tried to climb.

One of the monkeys was now replaced with a new one. It too tried to climb and was beaten by the others. Soon enough, it too stopped trying for the fear of being beaten.

Once again, another monkey was replaced. Even the monkey which had tried in the last turn was among the ones to beat it. It too stopped trying soon enough.

In this manner, all five monkeys were replaced. And when the newest one tried to climb, it too was beaten by other monkeys. These monkeys were all replacements and had no idea why the climbing was forbidden.

The monkeys kept getting replaced but this time, what stopped them from trying the climb was not the water spray. Rather the knowledge that it would get them beaten did.

And this is how the new get tamed. Sometimes it is the right thing to do. After all, it isn’t wise to try jumping off a cliff while others stop you on the logic that they don’t know what will happen. But, on the other hand, it does stops creativity and innovation because the newer generation is always scared and has grown up believing in the concept of playing it safe. The Subdued Monkeys theory is for these cases.

So, are a subdued monkey?


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