~BACK TO PHILOSOPHY~
Start with a cage containing five apes. In
the cage, hang a banana on a string and put stairs under it.
Before long, an ape will go to the stairs and start to climb
towards the banana. As soon as he touches the stairs, spray all of
the apes with cold water. After a while, another ape makes an
attempt with the same result, all of the apes are sprayed with
cold water. Soon, all of the apes realize that if any
one of them approaches the stairs, they all will be sprayed with
Turn off the cold water.
If, later, another ape tries to climb the
stairs, the other apes will try to stop him, even though no water
is sprayed on them. Now, remove one ape from the cage and replace
it with a new one. The new ape sees the banana and tries to climb
the stairs. To his horror, all of the other apes 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 apes 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. Again, replace a third original ape
with a new one. The new one makes it to the stairs and is attacked
as well. Two of the four apes that beat him have no idea why they
were not permitted to climb the stairs, or why they are
participating in the beating of the newest ape.
After replacing the fourth and fifth
original apes, all the apes which have been sprayed with cold
water have been replaced. Nevertheless, no ape ever again
approaches the stairs. Why not? "Because that's the way it's
always been done around here."