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The monkey, banana and water spray experiment

Frank_MackyFrank_Macky PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
From http://freekvermeulen.blogspot.com/2008/08/monkey-story-experiment-involved-5.html
The experiment involved 5 monkeys, a cage, a banana, a ladder and, crucially, a water hose.

The 5 monkeys would be locked in a cage, after which a banana was hung from the ceiling with, fortunately for the monkeys (or so it seemed…), a ladder placed right underneath it.

Of course, immediately, one of the monkeys would race towards the ladder, intending to climb it and grab the banana. However, as soon as he would start to climb, the sadist (euphemistically called “scientist”) would spray the monkey with ice-cold water. In addition, however, he would also spray the other four monkeys…

When a second monkey was about to climb the ladder, the sadist would, again, spray the monkey with ice-cold water, and apply the same treatment to its four fellow inmates; likewise for the third climber and, if they were particularly persistent (or dumb), the fourth one. Then they would have learned their lesson: they were not going to climb the ladder again – banana or no banana.

In order to gain further pleasure or, I guess, prolong the experiment, the sadist outside the cage would then replace one of the monkeys with a new one. As can be expected, the new guy would spot the banana, think “why don’t these idiots go get it?!” and start climbing the ladder. Then, however, it got interesting: the other four monkeys, familiar with the cold-water treatment, would run towards the new guy – and beat him up. The new guy, blissfully unaware of the cold-water history, would get the message: no climbing up the ladder in this cage – banana or no banana.

When the beast outside the cage would replace a second monkey with a new one, the events would repeat themselves – monkey runs towards the ladder; other monkeys beat him up; new monkey does not attempt to climb again – with one notable detail: the first new monkey, who had never received the cold-water treatment himself (and didn’t even know anything about it), would, with equal vigour and enthusiasm, join in the beating of the new guy on the block.

When the researcher replaced a third monkey, the same thing happened; likewise for the fourth until, eventually, all the monkeys had been replaced and none of the ones in the cage had any experience or knowledge of the cold-water treatment.

Then, a new monkey was introduced into the cage. It ran toward the ladder only to get beaten up by the others. Yet, this monkey turned around and asked “why do you beat me up when I try to get the banana?” The other four monkeys stopped, looked at each other slightly puzzled and, finally, shrugged their shoulders: “Don’t know. But that’s the way we do things around here”…

Conclusion: If no one can adequately explain to you why you have to hold to a particular tradition (or BELIEF), you should often just say ***** THAT TRADITION/BELIEF and will probably see a lot more progress by doing so.


  • you gave me an idea that some urban legend have in fact basis :D
  • Frank_MackyFrank_Macky PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
    Whether or not the experiment was actually carried out, it's pretty obvious the story above accurately describes the dynamic of how behavior in human society (not just apes) is transmitted. In fact, it's probably even more acute and widespread in humans, because this tendency is a very quick shortcut to passing knowledge down without having to have the original experience and human society is far more complex.

    However, humans (many, not all) have been evolving much more capable analytical abilities (as opposed to mere imitation) and can now override/critically analyze such passed-down behaviors. These useful but often flawed shortcuts - which are often embodied in religious proscriptions and teachings - can now be analyzed and modified with the help of the much much more powerful and newer tools of Science and Reason. Unfortunately, a lot of people are still operating in the mode which the apes in the story above work in and unable to utilize these tools.

    If you buy some of the New Age stuff, there are even more advanced tools beyond "Science and Reason", e.g. third eye and all that new age/occult jazz... and in this case it is the skeptics/materialists who will get stuck/fixated at their level of evolution:

    I most certainly do not buy everything in the video above, but I think one should be open-minded enough for it to be food for thought.

    If we apply the banana/monkey/water spray analogy to occult knowledge, we can say that people in the past tried to work with such knowledge and many of them ended up with disastrous results. Hence, you have many warnings against exploring such knowledge (because they are indeed dangerous, just like knowledge of atomic power - or even just chemistry - is dangerous). In many religions, there is no more explanation of why such occult knowledge should not be sought after, they are JUST FORBIDDEN or "satanic" or "evil". But progress is inevitable, and while occult knowledge has been generally forbidden from man, we have made tremendous progress just keeping to the purely material realm in the last century or so...

    Nowadays, the very deepest levels of our material understanding have already punctured through that purely materialist/mechanistic world view (e.g. quantum physics) and may now be starting to give us hints of an even higher level of understanding and control. Michio Kaku - a "mainstream" quantum physicist - routinely talks about "tuning into" different quantum possibilities. In the video, it is mentioned that the reason evidence for Atlantis is scarce is because the Atlanteans existed at some "higher dimension".

    If you look at our cyber-driven world today, much of the activity we have, the very communications you and I are having right now would definitely be seen to be at a "higher dimension" when someone from the past tries to comprehend it. For someone not familiar with the concept of bits/bytes/information all they will see of our civlization is copper wiring and they will be completely unable to believe that somehow this copper wiring has the ability to carry our thoughts from one physical place to another. Similarly, for "skeptics" who insist on apprehending the world only in terms of materialist/mechanist interactions, what sort of stuff are they missing?

    We take it for granted that we can exchange our thoughts without being physically present in one another's company... but to someone from the past this would seem absolutely magical. Who knows what more fantastic stuff the "future" holds...?

    In fact, looked at the right way, every little thing we take for granted today is actually full of magic and mystery. "Mere" spoken language itself is a magical tool for primitive barbarians who could only make non-standardized grunts and squeals at each other. It is not even just our cyber-technology that could be considered magic... even our use of everyday language *IS* a form of "magic". The transition from spoken to preservable (across lifetimes) written language was in fact also another advance in magickal tools.
  • I think the Milgram's obedience experiment can partially explain the behavior of the monkeys.

    Why is it so many people obey when they feel coerced? Social psychologist Stanley Milgram researched the effect of authority on obedience. He concluded people obey either out of fear or out of a desire to appear cooperative--even when acting against their own better judgment and desires. Milgram’s classic yet controversial experiment illustrates people's reluctance to confront those who abuse power. It is my opinion that Milgram's book should be required reading for anyone in supervisory or management positions....
  • That sounds so familiar in real time..."assumption" of existence.
  • AteoAteo PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
    What a great experimental design. It can be readily repeated and the outcome is amazing in terms of insights into the sustainability of memes. There is no need to generalize it into humans though. A more sophisticated experimental design can be made for humans.

    I wonder if the Confessional as part of Penance is one example of traditional the start of which is clouded by mystery. It certainly is not biblical and its theology is shaky. Could it be that five monks/monkeys just decided to learn about the juiciest sins from other monks and decided to invent the Confession?
  • Based on history...man will follow once threatened and beaten into submission. Those people, both the victims and the abusers passed away for a long long time, but the next generation still following the same instruction, even though the threat is gone and became slaves of falsehood where they can no longer escape from it.
  • Rebelled. Finally, rebellious subjects questioned the authority of the experimenter and argued there was a greater ethical imperative calling for the protection of the learner over the needs of the experimenter. Some of these individuals felt they were accountable to a higher authority.

    With the cult leader/s designating himself/themselves as the representatives guided by god himself, rebellion would be lessened.
  • Frank_MackyFrank_Macky PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
    ETEs wrote: »
    Based on history...man will follow once threatened and beaten into submission. Those people, both the victims and the abusers passed away for a long long time, but the next generation still following the same instruction, even though the threat is gone and became slaves of falsehood where they can no longer escape from it.
    It is not really "falsehood" that is the issue here. At one point in time there was a GOOD REASON for the monkeys to engage in that behavior. The problem was that it was NOT clarified as to why they were doing it. It is just like religion and tradition that is done without the benefit of rational and critical analysis.

    Like a little kid that was scolded for putting her hand near the wall socket but she perhaps misunderstood thinking that touching walls is bad per se or muslims being forbidden to eat pork because it is a "sin against God". The fastest way to learn behavior is to tell people "obey, just because you should". When someone is not yet smart enough to understand the reasons, this is often THE best way to avoid disaster. But, like apes and monkeys with a lower level of understanding, people without training in rational thinking and critical analysis may fall into the trap of imagining all sorts of different and wrong reasons for behavior forbidden to them (by religion and tradition).

    In humanity's case it is not even threat of physical harm that control our behavior, it is mostly verbal+written TEACHINGS passed down from earlier generations. These are in the form of words and are at a more abstract and subtle level of transmission but it still does not follow that they are therefore necessarily and completely correct. Even for words, there is a need to introspect and apply analyses (and META-analyses) to them.

    We are all still evolving towards clearer understanding and relationship to what is around us. The slowly growing movement of "atheism" can be thought of as an immune reaction by human society at large to the excesses and follies of religion and religious tradition. It is not a panacea for all false beliefs, but clearly there are poisonous memes infecting human society that are being recognized which need to be rejected and ejected. But like all immune reactions, they run the risk of overreach.
  • Frank_MackyFrank_Macky PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
    Pyros wrote: »
    I think the Milgram's obedience experiment can partially explain the behavior of the monkeys.

    The story of Abraham, his god and his son Isaac is very similar to the Milgram experiment but with a perverted explanation. The story itself is a TEST to see how many people are willing to buy the notion that "obedience to God" (so-called authority) rather than human life is the higher value to consider.

    In baptist and evangelical schools all over, "obedience to God" is indeed being taught as the correct value to adopt. The first time I heard about the Isaac story as a *kid*, I already rebelled and was foaming at the mouth at this abominable "god" of Abraham. More sunday school stories followed and it just made me hate this "God" even more... so the teaching goes that I am sinful, rebellious, and will go to hell. I actually believed all that at one point in time and it was extremely damaging to my psyche. The real TEST for me personally, I now realize, is just how far I was willing to torture myself with these false beliefs before I finally said enough is enough and learned to THINK FOR MYSELF - something no one else but I can give to myself. Making it harder were obstacles to enlightenment such as false assertions that in doing so, "I am trying to be my own God". It's a test that no one tells you how to pass or what the correct answers are. You just either graduate or you don't.

    Muslims may fancy themselves to be "civilized" in all sorts of ways (and their civilization did indeed figure out a lot of good stuff) but that is mutually exclusive to their attitude of "complete subservience to God". They are EVEN WORSE than baptists and evangelicals when it comes to this sort of attitude. Those at a lower level of thinking think that it is a matter of which "God" you choose to believe in - those who have graduated and applied meta-analysis(*) realize that the name of the "God" (whether muslim, jewish or xtian) is completely irrelevant, it is the attitude towards that "God" that is the problem.

    (*) analysis is those endless debates over whose religious scriptures are correct. META-analysis is realizing that they are ALL THE SAME... mainly good as tissue paper for wiping your butt with.
  • gotta lick itgotta lick it PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
    bro, you own a dog?

    the water spray treatment works...!!! that how we disciple our dogs not to bark when not needed. we used to own big working dogs and a simple shush wont work with the new dogs. actually, they hate it so much that some would try to bite the water spray while the rest goes to the corner of their cages.

    no kidding it really works.

    does that make the sadist a god of the monkeys?
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