July 4, 2012

The 100th Monkey Effect And Social Change

The 100th Monkey: it could be you
Welcome! You could be the 100th monkey, and the things you learn here on NBA and elsewhere could change not only your life, but the whole world.

The 100th Monkey Effect has to do with the spontaneous transmission of an idea or ability once a critical mass of a population has heard the idea, or learned the ability. It is a phenomena first observed by Japanese researchers.
"Scientists were conducting a study of macaque monkeys on the Japanese island of Koshima in 1952. These scientists purportedly observed that some of these monkeys learned to wash sweet potatoes, and gradually this new behavior spread through the younger generation of monkeys—in the usual fashion, through observation and repetition.
Watson then claimed that the researchers observed that once a critical number of monkeys was reached—the so-called hundredth monkey—this previously learned behavior instantly spread across the water to monkeys on nearby islands." - from Wikipedia
Although it was found that at least one eager monkey swam to a neighbouring island and spread the new knowledge, it remains unclear how new ideas and abilities can spontaneously spread to an entire area's population... of monkeys or humans.

Although skeptics claim to have discredited this theory outright, it has appealed to enough people to have had its own 100th monkey effect - it has become a popular and widely known concept.

The monkey effect concept is not alone. It is in good company, and therefore questions remain.

Is it similar to psychologist Carl Jung's collective consciousness? Is it a variation on convergent evolution, where different species develop similar traits independently? The wing is one such example, and was developed by insects, birds, reptiles, and mammals independent of each other.

The wing was just a good idea whose time had come - nature couldn't ignore it.

Whatever the monkeys are telling us, they could be pointing to a knowledge tipping point that leads to rapid, widespread changes once enough individuals are in on it.

Regardless, the potentials of triggering a mass awareness leading to wholesale changes in the way we think and do things is an intriguing one. People seem to be waiting for change, indeed, have been waiting for some time now.

But when do these much needed changes finally occur? What, and when, is the trigger? What is the critical mass we may need before the dominoes begin to fall?

When do we begin to create our ideal life, and our ideal world, in synchronous harmony?

Is it with the 100th monkey? And if so, are YOU that monkey?


  1. Anonymous7/04/2012

    Eckhart Tolle described what I feel sums up my place in the world best:

    “Others, after the natural expansion that comes with growing up has run its course, lead an outwardly unremarkable, seemingly more passive and relatively uneventful existence. They are more inward looking by nature, and for them the outward movement into form is minimal. They would rather return home than go out.

    “Some of them find it hard to fit into this world. Some are lucky enough to find a protective niche where they can lead a relatively sheltered life, a job that provides them with a regular income or a small business of their own.

    “In past ages, they would probably have been called contemplatives. There is no place for them, it seems, in our contemporary civilization. On the arising new earth, however, their role is just as vital as that of the creators, the doers, the reformers. Their function is to anchor the frequency of the new consciousness on the planet. I call them frequency-holders. They are here to generate consciousness through the activities of daily life, through their interactions as well as through ‘just being.’

    “In this way, they endow the seemingly insignificant with profound meaning. Their task is to bring spacious stillness into this world by being absolutely present in whatever they do. There is consciousness and therefore quality in what they do, even the simplest task. Their purpose is to do everything in a sacred manner. As each human being is an integral part of the collective human consciousness, they affect the world much more deeply than is visible on the surface of their lives.”

    1. Everyone has a part to play in the major scheme of things.

      Thank you for sharing this beautiful passage.


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