9/22/2011 | Share this article:By Dave8 ~
I remember in my undergraduate years, sitting dreary eyed in psychology classes thinking… another theory class, how can this possibly have any meaning towards practical application.
And, over the years, I’ve come to learn that some theories seem to be quite accurate in describing how social functions emerge, like… the function of religion for instance.
Many have inquired, “I wonder how organized religions can “possibly” stay in vogue?” Well, there are many reasons but, of the many theories floating around, I find the “Wet Monkey Theory” to be pretty much in line with how people are conditioned to operate, hence the associated psychological theory, “operant conditioning”.
“Operant conditioning is a form of psychological learning where an individual modifies the occurrence and form of its own behavior due to the association of the behavior with a stimulus.”
What this means, is that people tend to form behaviors based on their operating environment/conditions; as they behave they simultaneously receive a stimulus, good behaviors receive pleasant stimuli, poor behaviors receive negative stimuli.
In the following illustration, consider that the initial monkey group represents those on the scene in Nicaea. Constantine had the power to set the ‘conditions’ for everyone within the range of the growing Empire; those who didn’t follow Roman rules were subject to his wrath.
The initial monkeys in the cage represent the local people in that era; the banana represents the desire to acquire power, which in essence at that time, and even today took the form of knowledge.
Each original monkey in the cage represented a particular belief group that held a portion of power in the region. The water represents the violence and oppression of Rome, which was continually employed to break down these localized power structures.
As Rome broke down the local power structures…it incorporated the remnants into its social fabric, and even into its governing directives; the bible, is one of those governing directives.
So, how do we end up with all these monkeys a few thousand years later?
The Wet Monkey Theory
- 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 the other monkeys with cold water.
- After a while another monkey makes the attempt with 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 the cold water away. 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 of 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 is the way it has always been done around here.
We have millions of monkeys today, mainly because the same business models that were employed 2,ooo years ago, are the same ones being employed today.
Why challenge the way it’s always been said, or done?
Because without the basic human effort to climb the stairs for greater knowledge...we are left powerless to those who process the baby chimps through the cages, teaching them that the golden banana/knowledge is the downfall of mankind…keeping the power centralized.
Christian parents bring their children into the cage/church on Sunday, to be taught the evil of reaching for the banana and how bad it was in the early days in the cage.
Except; the Christian story provides us Adam & Eve. We were taught, that Adam & Eve partook of the apple, and started climbing the stairs towards godly knowledge, when the Authority found out, they were knocked down so hard that humanity is forever condemned to violent torture upon death in Hell (or so the story continued to evolve); the only escape...don't seek knowledge that challenges authority/Authority.
What do you think?