Unidentified scientists were conducting a study of macaques monkeys on the Japanese island of Koshima in 1952. These scientists purportedly observed that some of these monkeys learned to wash sweet potatoes, and gradually this new behavior spread through the younger generation of monkeys—in the usual fashion, through observation and repetition. Watson then claimed that the researchers observed that once a critical number of monkeys was reached—the so-called hundredth monkey—this previously learned behavior instantly spread across the water to monkeys on nearby islands. This story was further popularized by Ken Keyes Jr with the publication of his book The Hundredth Monkey. Keyes presented the “Hundredth Monkey Effect” story as an inspirational parable, applying it to human society and the effecting of positive change therein. Since then, the story has become widely accepted as fact and even appears in books written by some educators.It came to mind when I was thinking about International Peace Day and began to wonder if enough people believe in peace, will it come to pass? Will we someday have enough people who believe in something that it will spontaneously occur? Has this already happened?
I love my wild birds so much and wonder: will they someday figure out how to stop flying into windows? It is estimated that more than 90 million birds each year fly into windows and are killed. I guess this means that the hundredth-monkey effect has a little ways to go with the birds. But it hurts me each time, and my windows are only about five or six feet from the feeders. Just moments ago I heard the telltale sound and looked out to see a goldfinch laying unconscious on the porch. I put on my special birding gloves and picked him up and put him in the plastic container I have just for this situation. He lay there for awhile, finally began to hear things, looked up and down. He tried to fly away but didn't seem to be able to, and I feared he had a broken wing. But just now, he took flight, and so did my heart. Yes!
Abe Lincoln over at Pick a Peck of Pixels wrote a very moving post this morning about a sick squirrel and his decision of what to do for him. It made me wonder what I would do in the same situation. Life is very tough sometimes, and the decisions we make are not clearly delineated as good or bad ones. I do know that I have a constant prayer in my heart to be part of the solution and not part of the problem. And it is not clear at all what this really means. I try to stay attuned, but my ability to hear the answer sometimes gets clogged.