The Hundredth Monkey Effect

musings of a professional dreamer

My sister is a fountain of knowledge. Something she mentioned in passing conversation over a year ago has stuck with me ever since. The phenomenon below essentially has nothing to do with music, but I find it intriguing because I like the idea that one can affect change in the world one monkey at a time… it has a certain ring to it.

There once was a Japanese scientist who observed a group of monkeys eating potatoes that they dug up from the ground. One day, one of the little monkey dudes dropped his potato in a river by mistake, and subsequently realised that potatoes tasted better washed. So, he tunes his fellow monkeys this new found knowledge. With no internet in 19-voetsek, armed with only their “monkey see, monkey do” skills, it took the next six years for 99 monkeys to learn of the new washing-your-potatoes-before-you-eat-them trick. However, once the 100th monkey heard of this revolutionary de-soiling method, the awareness somehow magically spread across water to monkeys on islands up to 500 miles away.

“The Hundredth Monkey Effect is a supposed phenomenon in which a learned behaviour spreads instantaneously from one group of monkeys to all monkeys once a critical number is reached (i.e. “critical mass”). The story was popularised as an inspirational parable, applying it to human society and the effecting of positive change therein. By generalisation it means the instant, paranormal spreading of an idea or ability to the remainder of a population once a certain portion of that population has heard of the new idea or learned the new ability. In other words, it hypothesises that there is a point at which if only one more person tunes into an awareness, the field of energy around that awareness is strengthened so much so, that it becomes the collective consciousness.”


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© Shannon Hope 2017