top of page
  • Writer's pictureMMSEE

"The hundredth monkey effect"

Critical mass is a term that appears in everything from self-improvement texts to social articles. Many people are attracted to this idea, which holds that if a habit, thought or practice surpasses a certain number of people who have appropriated it, then it becomes the property of all humanity!

The hundredth monkey effect, related to the term critical mass, was popularized in the 1970s by biologist Lyall Watson. Within his 1979 book "Lifetide", he claimed that some monkeys, in order to get rid of dirt and mud, learned to wash their yams in the Sea of Koshima, Japan. When the number of monkeys who acquired this habit became 100, almost all the monkeys did the same thing. Watson relied on some 1950's research on the above, which we now know not only does not verify this theory, on the contrary some age groups did not learn this behavior at all. Also, he unfortunately never contacted the original researchers and has publicly admitted that this paper was his own invention, where from the beginning he stressed that it was based on hearsay. After all, we are only talking about a few paragraphs that were in his book.

But the "problem" lies in the fact that several New Age writers were based on these paragraphs and influenced a large number of spiritual teachers and self-improvement texts, and scientists were also involved, who concluded that "the minimum threshold required to shape the morphogenetic field into a common thought-form that can change the destinies of a region, or a people, or even the whole world, is a fixed number: the square root of one hundredth of a population." Hence it is very likely that a reader will come across texts that claim that change in Greece, for example, requires 300 people, for the whole planet 7,000, etc. These numbers are obviously very small. It is almost certain that there are as many people in various social groups who support various ideas, but without these ideas having been disseminated. But there are also groups who, by distorting the explanation of the phenomenon, think that they are the centre of the world! And individuals who lead these small groups, instead of trying to expand and collaborate with others, choose to remain stagnant in their circle of influence.

So, although this idea has been disproved, in a strange game of life, the number of people who support it is quite large, so that it is seen as true in the minds of many people. Is it really possible that a few people can change the mental climate of a vast area? And how did scientists measure the field of a thought form?

Even if the hundredth monkey effect were true, even metaphorically, and if we then assume that a critical mass (with identical numbers) of opponents to a new idea is created at the same time (washing sweet potatoes in the monkey society was indeed something new and extremely innovative!), then what?

Which critical mass prevails? The most populous? The oldest? The strongest? The most communicative? Which element is the key criterion? The obvious? The logical? The ordinary? The new? The old? The most advantageous?

So who is this "critical mass" of supporters who will prevent the new from coming? What is it that prevents us from letting go of the old ideas? What is it that prevents a new idea, such as the refutation of theory, from spreading? And most importantly, how ready are we to accept that our ideas are not true? Are we ready to investigate whether our beliefs are verified?

6 views0 comments


Post: Blog2 Post
bottom of page