The Mindset - 2

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This article is a sequel to the earlier article Mindset. After elephants, the gentle giants, taught us why we do not attempt to do many good things, let us take the help of monkeys to try to understand why we do many things without even thinking why we are doing them.

 Why is our response to situations so conditioned that we do not even apply our mind before reacting. Here is another story to illustrate the point.

Why do we do things the way we do them. Do we think before doing them. If not, what guides our thoughtless response?  The explanation can be explained with monkeys, a cage, a banana and a fire hose.

You build a nice big room-sized cage, and in one end of it you put five monkeys. In the other end you put a banana. Then you stand by with the fire hose.  Sooner or later one of the monkeys is going after the banana, and when it does you turn on the fire hose and spray the other monkeys with it. Replace the banana if needed, then repeat the process. Monkeys are pretty smart, so they’ll figure this out pretty quickly: “If anybody goes for the banana, the rest of us get the hose.” Soon they’ll attack any member of their group who tries to go to the banana.

Once this happens, take one monkey out of the cage and bring in a new one. The new monkey will come in, try to make friends, then probably go for the banana. And the other monkeys, knowing what this means, will attack him to stop you from using the hose on them. Eventually the new monkey will get the message, and will even start joining in on the attack if another monkey goes for the banana. Continue to swap new monkeys for the original set of monkeys.

After repeating this a few times, the time will come when none of the monkeys in the cage have ever been sprayed by the fire hose; in fact, they’ll never even have seen the hose. But they’ll attack any monkey who goes to get the banana. If the monkeys could speak, and if you could ask them why they attack anyone who goes for the banana, their answer would almost certainly be: “Well, I don’t really know, but that’s how we’ve always done things around here.”

So summing up, most of the time we are either behaving like the hesitant elephants or the ignorant monkeys. How often do we really think and act? No wonder the world hangs at the edge of the precipice.

Rajesh Chaubey, Guest Contributor, PatnaDaily.Com

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