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Monkeys and bananas

Tobias Henoeckl - Fri Feb 22 10:48:51 2002

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 other monkeys with cold

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, my friend, is how company policy begins.