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Society's Monkey Business

An experimenter (society) puts 5 monkeys in a large cage. High up at the top of the cage, well beyond the reach of the monkeys, is a bunch of bananas. Underneath the bananas is a ladder.The monkeys immediately spot the bananas and one begins to climb the ladder. As he does, however, the experimenter (society) sprays him with a stream of cold water. Then, he proceeds to spray each of the other monkeys.The monkey on the ladder scrambles off. And all 5 sit for a time on the floor, wet, cold, and bewildered.

Soon, though, the temptation of the bananas is too great, and another monkey begins to climb the ladder. Again, the experimenter (society) sprays the ambitious monkey with cold water and all the other monkeys as well. When a third monkey tries to climb the ladder, the other monkeys, wanting to avoid the cold spray, pull him off the ladder and beat him.Now one monkey is removed and a new monkey is introduced to the cage. Spotting the bananas, he naively begins to climb the ladder. The other monkeys pull him off and beat him.

Here’s where it gets interesting.The experimenter (society) removes a second one of the original monkeys from the cage and replaces him with a new monkey. Again, the new monkey begins to climb the ladder and, again, the other monkeys pull him off and beat him - including the monkey who had never been sprayed.

By the end of the experiment, none of the original monkeys were left and yet, despite none of them ever experiencing the cold, wet, spray, they had all learned never to try and go for the bananas.

The above story is an interesting metaphor for how the limiting beliefs we have been given through our social conditioning limit our life experience. Often we do things because “that is the way they have always been done” and often “this way” doesn’t serve us or fulfill our needs. Being self-aware is a good way to counteract this limiting group think but it takes some perseverance in knowing what we want in life and finding or creating our purpose.

Make sure your creative expressions in life is yours and not what society wants you to create. Chat soon

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