THE 100TH MONKEY EFFECT
A Key To
The World Situation
The 100th Monkey Effect
began in 1952:
Something started in 1952, which was
accomplished by 1958, which had never been
noticed before... the 100th Monkey Effect.
Huge global Spacecraft
sightings in 1952:
1952 was the busiest
year for the
Spacecraft and UFOs
in the atmosphere of
Earth. Were our
neighbours from out
in the Universe giving
humanity - via an obliging species of life on
Earth - a helpful hand in understanding how
consciousness and change function?
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AND THE 100TH MONKEY EFFECT
The following is from 'Lifetide', by Lyall Watson.
Book Club Associates, London, 1979.
"..... This might imply that the essential conflict is
between the newer parts of the forebrain and the more
primitive parts in the mid and hind brains. Between
the mammalian and reptilian memories. And in a sense
this is probably correct, but I doubt that it is
possible or even necessary to isolate the command
centres of the opposing forces in any spatial
location. The war is between the old selfish
instructions and the new self-awareness. Between
genotype and aspects of the phenotype. Between the
needs of the replicators to keep on doing their thing,
which is replicating, and the desire of the organism
for identity. The battle lines are drawn between
orders and ideas.
Where the two coincide, a truce is declared and
progress takes place by leaps and bounds. But where
they disagree, skirmishes are fought in the no man's
land of the mind and ambivalent we, with all our
special strengths and peculiar frailties, are the
result. I believe the seeds of this conflict are sewn
in every cell by the presence there of nuclear DNA and
factors connected with the contingent system. And that
just as the presence and pattern of a number of cells
behaving in a certain way can produce sensations such
as sight or sound, so the mere existence of contingent
factors in sufficient numbers in certain critical
configurations could account for their recent
intrusion in evolutionary affairs.
There is a biological analogy which makes this process
IMO - THE FIRST MONKEY
The behaviour of the Japanese monkey Macaco fuscata
has been studied intensely for more than thirty years
in a number of wild colonies. One of these is isolated
on the island of Koshima just off the east coast of
Kyushu, and it was here in 1952 that man provided the
monkeys with the right sort of evolutionary nudge.
Provision stations were established at selected sites
in the range of the troop. Normally young monkeys
learn feeding habits from their mothers who teach them
by example what to eat and how to deal with it, and in
these macaques the behaviour had grown to a complex
tradition involving the buds, fruits, leaves, shoots
and bark of well over a hundred species of plants. So
they approached the new artificial food supplies
equipped with a formidable array of behavioural
predispositions, but nothing in their established
repertoire enabled them to deal effectively with raw
sweet potatoes covered with sand and grit.
Then an eighteen month old female, a sort of monkey
genius called Imo, solved the problem by carrying the
potatoes down to a stream and washing them before
feeding. In monkey terms this is a cultural revolution
comparable almost to the invention of the wheel. It
involves abstraction, the identification of concept,
and deliberate manipulation of several parameters in
the environment. And, reversing the normal trend, it
was the juvenile Imo who taught the trick to her
mother. She also taught it to her playmates and they
in their turn spread the news to their mothers.
Slowly, step by step, the new culture spread through
the colony, with each new conversion taking place in
full view of the observers who kept a constant watch
right through all the daylight hours.
By 1958, all the juveniles were washing dirty food,
but the only adults over five years old to do so were
the ones who learned by direct imitation from their
Then something extraordinary took place.
The details up to this point in the study are clear,
but one has to gather the rest of the story from
personal anecdotes and bits of folklore amongst
primate researchers, because most of them are still
not quite sure what happened. And those who do suspect
the truth are reluctant to publish it for fear of
So I am forced to improvise the details, but as near
as I can tell, this is what seems to have happened....
THE HUNDREDTH MONKEY
In the autumn of that year an unspecified number of
monkeys on Koshima were washing sweet potatoes in the
sea, because Imo had made the further discovery that
salt water not only cleaned the food but gave it an
interesting new flavour.
Let us say, for argument's sake, that the number was
ninety-nine and that at eleven o'clock on a Tuesday
morning, one further convert was added to the fold in
the usual way. But the addition of the hundredth
monkey apparently carried the number across some sort
of threshold, pushing it through a kind of critical
mass, because by that evening almost everyone in the
colony was doing it.
Not only that, but the habit seems to have jumped
natural barriers and to have appeared spontaneously,
like glycerine crystals in sealed laboratory jars, in
colonies on other islands and on the mainland in a
troop at Takasakiyama.
The latest news from Japan is that Imo has by no means
exhausted her powers, but has unleashed several
additional cultural bombshells. Another of the foods
provided at the stations is wheat, which the monkeys
enjoy but find difficult to deal with once it has
blown out of containers onto the sand.
Imo was only three when she solved this dilemma by
picking up mixed handfuls of sand and wheat and
winnowing the grain by casting both into the sea.
There the sand soon sank, leaving the wheat floating
free on the surface where it could easily be scooped
up and eaten. At the moment this sub-culture has
spread only to Imo's immediate associates, but it will
be fascinating to see what happens next. I personally
wouldn't be surprised if, in her later years, Imo
The relevance of this anecdote is that it suggests
there may be mechanisms in evolution other than those
governed by ordinary natural selection.
I feel that there is such a thing as the Hundredth
Monkey Phenomenon and that it might account for the
way in which many memes, ideas and fashions spread
through our culture.
It may be that when enough of us hold something
to be true, it becomes true for everyone.
Lawrence Blair says:
'When a myth is shared by large numbers
of people, it becomes a reality.'
I'll happily add my one to the number sharing that
notion, because it may be the only way we can ever
hope to reach some sort of meaningful human consensus
about the future, in the short time that now seems to
be at our disposal.
Lyall Watson, 'LIFETIDE'
The 100th Monkey Effect
and The Gathering
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