Tale of Ten Monkeys

Commuting can be dull, especially when it stretches for two and a half hours. The story I am about to tell you today was narrated to me by two of my friends during such a commute.

A room was filled with ten monkeys. On the ceiling of the room, there were a bunch of bananas with a ladder just below it. The monkeys were free to act, climb the ladder, and collect the bananas. However, as soon as any monkey tried to reach for them, ice-cold water would be sprayed on all the monkeys. Annoyed, the other monkeys would beat up the monkey who tried to reach for the banana. Soon, none of the monkeys tried reaching and gave up. After this, one monkey gets eliminated and is replaced by another monkey. Oblivious to the water-spray situation, the new monkey tries reaching for the banana. But before he could completely climb the ladder, the other monkeys get triggered and beat him up. A second monkey is replaced with a new monkey. Again the new one tries performing the very same act as the one before him. He gets a similar treatment, only this time the previously thrashed monkey joins others in beating the new one. He does not understand why but decides to join the herd anyway.

This act of eliminating and replacing the monkey is performed again and again with the oldest ones in the room. Soon a point is reached where a new one will be thrashed every time he tries climbing the ladder by monkeys who are completely oblivious to the water-spray situation. The real motive behind their act is lost; they do this because the previous monkeys had been doing it.

I am not sure who wrote this story, nevertheless, the symbolism is deep and I leave it open for interpretation.