This is a funny story I've heard a long time ago, and today it has reached my mailbox again. It is not only funny, but also insightful; a great entry for the "office space" section.
Homework assignment: analyze your corporate/academic/family/personal habits, and find examples of "that's the way its always been around here". Naturally, the other assignment is to do something about it!
Start with a cage containing five monkeys...
Hang a banana from the roof of the cage and place a set of steps underneath it.
One of the monkeys will eventually make a move towards the banana. As soon as it gets to the steps drench the other monkeys with freezing water.
After a while another monkey will make a move towards the banana. Again drench the others with freezing water.
Turn the water off.
The next monkey which tries to reach the steps gets set upon by the others despite there being no further drenching.
Remove one of the original monkeys and replace with a new one.
The new monkey will eagerly approach the steps to reach the banana and is promptly beaten up by the others. After a second similar attack the new monkey now knows that if it approaches the steps it will be mugged.
Remove another of the original monkeys and replace with new one.
Once again the newest monkey will attempt to reach the banana and will be set upon by the others including the first replacement monkey who has no idea why he's doing it.
Repeat the removal and replacement process. Now there are two monkeys beating up the newest comer without the faintest idea of why they are doing it or why it isn't acceptable to climb the steps.
Replace the fourth and fifth of the monkeys which suffered the drenching at the outset with new monkeys. Now there is no monkey which understands why it is not allowed to approach the steps or why it is beating up any other monkey which tries to approach the steps. Nevertheless, no monkey ever again approaches the steps.
Because that's the way its always been around here!
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