The Monkey Meritocracy
You start with a cage containing four monkeys, and inside the cage you hang a banana on a string, and then you place a set of stairs under the banana.
Before long a monkey will go to the stairs and climb toward the banana.
You then spray ALL the monkeys with cold water.
After a while, another monkey makes an attempt.
As soon as he touches the stairs, you spray ALL the monkeys
with cold water again.
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
The new monkey sees the banana and attempts to climb the
To his shock, ALL of the other monkeys beat the stuffing out
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 four monkeys, replacing
it with a new monkey.
The newcomer goes to the stairs and is attacked.
The previous newcomer takes part in the punishment with
enthusiasm -- because he is now part of the "team."
Then, replace a third original monkey with a new monkey,
followed by a fourth.
Every time the newest monkey takes to the stairs, he is
Now, the monkeys who are beating him up have no idea why
they were not permitted to climb the stairs.
Neither do they know why they are participating in the beating of the newest monkey.
Having replaced all of the original monkeys, none of the
remaining monkeys will have ever been sprayed with cold water.
Nevertheless, not one of the monkeys will try to climb the
stairway for the banana.
Why, you ask? Because in their minds, that is the way it has