Welcome To The Monkey House

Start with a cage containing five monkeys. Inside the cage, hang a banana on a string and place a set of stairs under it. Before long, a monkey will go to the stairs and start to climb towards the banana. As soon as he touches the stairs, spray all of the monkeys with cold water.

After a while, another monkey makes an attempt with the same result all the other monkeys are sprayed with cold water. Pretty soon, when another monkey tries to climb the stairs, the other monkeys will try to prevent it.

Now, put away the cold water. Remove one monkey from the cage and replace it with a new one. The new monkey sees the banana and wants to climb the stairs. To his surprise and horror, all of the other monkeys attack him. After another attempt and attack, he knows that if he tries to climb the stairs, he will be assaulted.

Next, remove another of the original five monkeys and replace it with a new one. The newcomer goes to the stairs and is attacked. The previous newcomer takes part in the punishment with enthusiasm! Likewise, replace a third original monkey with a new one, then a fourth, then the fifth. Every time the newest monkey takes to the stairs, he is attacked.

Most of the monkeys that are beating him have no idea why they were not permitted to climb the stairs or why they are participating in the beating of the newest monkey.

After replacing all the original monkeys, none of the remaining monkeys have ever been sprayed with cold water. Nevertheless, no monkey ever again approaches the stairs to try for the banana. Why not? Because as far as they know that’s the way it’s always been done around here.

And that is how a culture, a simulation of humanity, begins. Welcome to the monkey house.

Almost everything we say, think, do and believe is because somewhere in the past someone beat one of our ancestors with a stick until they gave up their truth and accepted their tormentors lie as truth. 90% of all we know is fiction, false truths, and most of the other 10% slipped through by accident.

A recent example is what happened to Sigmund Freud. When he was just starting out he wrote a paper – The Aetiology of Hysteria -in which he accidently stated the cause of mental illness. If you know the cause you know the cure. He was immediately set upon by his colleagues in the medical profession who threatened to have both his licence to practice medicine and his medical degree cancelled if he didn’t immediately withdraw the paper and reissue it with the offending bits removed. So he did. No psychological paper since then has contained any real truth, and that is why psychology experiments are those most affected by lack of repeatability.

When the human race went into permanent disorder, a long time ago, the people who first noticed it imagined they were responsible and were consumed by guilt. Their solution was simple. Build a time machine and go back in the past, work out what went wrong and fix it. Then nobody would have to know – it would never have happened. If that couldn’t be done then the other option was equally simple – kill us all and let God sort it out. Anyone who objected was beaten until they agreed.

We can’t build a time machine….

It’s probably time we stopped living in simulations and became real human beings again. As Led Zeppelin sang “Yes there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run There’s still time to change the road you’re on”.