In his book The Hundredth Monkey,
Ken Keyes, Jr. wrote about scientists who had been observing monkeys in the wild for
thirty years. In 1952, on the island of Koshima, when there was a serious drought & famine, they provided monkeys with sweet potatoes which they had dropped in sand. The monkeys liked the taste of the potatoes
but found the sand unpleasant. One day, an eighteen month old monkey washed
the potatoes in a nearby stream. She taught the trick to her mother and her playmates,
who taught it to their mothers. As the story is told, perhaps 99 monkeys learned to wash
their sweet potato between 1952 and 1958. One day the 100th monkey learned to wash the potatoes. Suddenly, almost every monkey on the island began to wash their
potatoes before eating them. The added energy of this 100th monkey had somehow created a behavioral
But, more amazing,
the scientists observed that the act of washing sweet potatoes had jumped over the sea, because the colonies
of monkeys on other islands, as far as 500 miles away, began washing their sweet potatoes.
This phenomena is known
as "critical mass." When a limited number of people know something in a new way, it remains the conscious
property of only those people. However, there is a point at which if only one more person tunes
in to a new awareness, that new awareness is picked up by everyone.
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