Will You Be The Hundredth Monkey?

Art by Wang Yani

I create an environment of example, where others can learn, get inspired and finally find motivation to change for the better.  I know I am not the only monkey.  Our tribe is getting larger by the day. Will you join us in our efforts? Will you be the Hundredth Monkey?

The Story

In 1952, on the island of Koshima, scientists were providing wild Japanese monkeys (Macaca fuscata) with sweet potatoes dropped in the sand...

The monkeys liked the taste of the raw sweet potatoes, but they found the dirt unpleasant. Soon a young female found she could solve the problem in a nearby stream and taught the trick to her mother. Her playmates also learned this new way and they taught their mothers, too. This cultural innovation was gradually picked up by various monkeys before the eyes of the scientists. 

Soon a young female found she could solve the problem in a nearby stream and taught the trick to her mother. Her playmates also learned this new way and they taught their mothers, too. This cultural innovation was gradually picked up by various monkeys before the eyes of the scientists.

Between 1952 and 1958, all the young monkeys learned to wash the sandy sweet potatoes to make them more palatable. Only the adults who imitated their children learned this social improvement.

It is said that in the autumn of 1958, a certain number of monkeys were washing sweet potatoes — the exact number is unknown. Let us suppose that when the sun rose one morning there were 99 monkeys on the Island who had learned to wash their sweet potatoes. Let's further suppose that later that morning, the hundredth monkey learned to wash potatoes. By that evening almost everyone in the tribe was washing sweet potatoes before eating them. The added energy of this hundredth monkey somehow created an ideological breakthrough!

A most surprising thing observed by these scientists was that the habit of washing sweet potatoes then jumped over the sea — Colonies of monkeys on other islands and the mainland troop of monkeys began washing their sweet potatoes!

Several further studies came and challenged the observation made. The population of monkeys was below 60 members and the changes observed elsewhere were in no way as radical as presented. However, the story has become an urban legend and part of new age mythology, known as the hundredth monkey theory

The Hope

I find the story of the hundredth monkey inspiring and a good source of motivation. I believe in a tipping point theory and here is why:

Although separated at the physical level, I believe we are united at the core. I believe that one human making changes in his level of consciousness brings a change to human collective consciousness. I believe that in the course of our life we inherit a lot from collective consciousness. I also believe that the only way to change the world is to start by changing oneself.  As Mahatma Gandhi is notably quoted, we must “Be the change.”

The Buddha was an ascetic and he spent most of his life in solitude.  He did not walk out of his retreat place pulling up his sleeves, deciding to change the world. Can we say that the Buddha, by elevating his level of consciousness, has not changed the world? 

Despite I know the myth of the hundredth monkey is only that, I opt to believe that there is some tipping point, that in reaching a sufficient number, we really will experience global transformation.  I believe in a change for the better towards an emerging paradigm, a world where happiness and well being are more important than economical power and growth, where humans are seen belonging to an interconnected web that includes all types of humanity in addition to all sentient beings and the planet at large, where motivation is generated by compassion in a world of abundance, where sustainability is the key for management of resources, where justice and peace are seen as needed factors for harmonious evolution.

Everyday I wake up and direct my focus in its entirety to that endeavor, I create an environment of example, where others can learn, get inspired and finally find motivation to change for the better.  I know I am not the only monkey.

Our tribe is getting larger by the day.

Will you join us in our efforts?

Will you be the Hundredth Monkey?

(Drawing by Wang Yani)

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