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11. Question Authority > Angry Monkeys

Angry Monkeys

This is a story I first heard from Dave Thomas during a keynote address he delivered called Angry Monkeys and Cargo Cults. I don’t know if it’s true (despite researching it quite a bit), but it doesn’t matter—it illustrates a point beautifully.

Back in the 1960s (when scientists were allowed to do all kinds of crazy things), behavioral scientists conducted an experiment where they placed five monkeys in a room with a stepladder and a bunch of bananas hanging from the ceiling. The monkeys quickly figured out that they could climb the ladder and eat the bananas, but every time the monkeys got near the stepladder, the scientists would douse the entire room in ice cold water. You can guess what that generated: angry monkeys. Soon, none of the monkeys would go near the ladder.


  

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