100th Monkey Theory
Have you ever heard the theory of the 100th
In the 1950's biologists and anthropologists were studying the behavior of a species of monkeys that live on
some of the outlying islands around Japan. In order to gain the confidence of the monkeys and get close enough to study their
behavior, the scientists would place sweet potatoes on the beach. The monkeys adored these moist potatoes (called batatas),
but disliked the sand clinging to them. One day an adolescent female monkey (about eighteen months old) on the island of Koshima,
solved this problem by washing her batata in fresh spring water.
She taught the "trick" to her mother, and then to
her playmates, and over a period of time most of the monkeys on the island learned to wash their batatas to get rid of the
sand. At this point perhaps 99 monkeys had been trained in this behavior. One day the 100th monkey learned how to wash his
batata. By the next day every single monkey on the island of Koshima was doing this - even the ones who lived a bit more isolated
from the others and had never witnessed a demonstration.
But what was particularly astonishing was that this new behavior
was suddenly observed in the populations of these same species of monkeys on the other islands. Every monkey in the remote
outlying islands was washing away the sand on their sweet potatoes without ever having been taught how to do it!
number 100 may not be exact, but the theory of critical mass evolved from this study: That once a certain number of a species
learns a new behavior and that number reaches a critical mass, it can spontaneously be transmitted to all members of the species.
This was very encouraging to metaphysicians and philosophers, who envisioned a time that a significant percentage of the human
species, having learned to live with one another peacefully and harmoniously, would reach a critical mass and transmit this
behavior to all of humanity.
I first learned about this study about the time I opened my private practice in LA in
the mid-80's. I so enthusiastically embodied the ideal of the 100th monkey, that whenever I treated a new patient I would
think "maybe this is the 100th monkey. Maybe if he or she can learn to take responsibility for the state of the world and
make the appropriate inner changes, the world will become a better place."
One day I made an important discovery: I
AM THE 100TH MONKEY! Taking responsibility isn't about being at fault or blamed. It's a conscious recognition that we had
to play some role (even if only the tiniest little part!) in the circumstances that we find ourselves involved in; And not
only in our personal dramas, but also in the overall condition of the planet.
If we can't stand the hate and hostility
that seem to prevail now around the world, why not examine our own petty resentments and unwillingness to bend in our beliefs.
If we are bothered by growing world-wide pollution and environmental destruction, could it be a reflection of the contaminated
thoughts and feelings that persist in our psyches? If terrorism is an issue, what about how we allow our own inner fears and
judgments terrorize us? Do we expect things from our children that we are unwilling to change in ourselves? Who's the 100th
monkey? Everyone is the 100th monkey.
Linda Joy Rose, Ph.D., creator of The Fairy Line, is a world-renowned psychologist,
fairy lover, and expert in subconscious dynamics and the power of suggestion.