The Contemporary New England Witch

The Contemporary New England Witch
Author Ms.Faith

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Hundredth Monkey Principle

 Evening Greetings,

I'll be posting another discussion tomorrow evening, and then my next post will be Monday evening, December 26th, 2010. Due to the hustle and bustle of the holidays it will give myself a bit of extra time and yourself of course, to catch up with reading the discussions!

In our discussion yesterday, "Some Magick for the New Year" I touched upon a concept called the "Hundredth Monkey Principle".  Let me first start by filling you in on some of the background.  About 60 years ago, or so, there were some scientists studying Macaques monkeys on the Japanese island of Koshima.

The story goes that the scientists introduced sweet potatoes to the monkey population. Never having eaten sweet potatoes before,  the monkeys loved them. But when they were dropped into sand, the monkeys had a difficult time enjoying them. Imagine, sand all over your dinner! Not very tasty.

A scientist showed a monkey how to wash the sweet potato in the ocean water thus making it easier and more desirable to eat. The scientists then observed the other younger monkeys watching and imitating the first monkey. Soon the younger monkeys all, were eating clean sweet potatoes and enjoying them very much.  Interestingly though, the scientists observed that the older monkeys, older and more set in their ways did not learn the new behavior, and steadfastly continued to eat sandy potatoes or didn't eat the potatoes at all.

After a time the scientists noticed what they believed to be a rare phenomenon. After a large number of monkeys, some legendarily say a hundred monkeys, learned the new behavior,  monkeys on other islands started to pick up the behavior.  Today this phenomena is what we call the tipping point.  The term tipping point comes from a book by this name by Malcolm Gladwell in which he uses this term to explain epidemics.

.  The hundredth monkey principle is spoken about in the new age field and self help gurus and motivational speakers all tout it as fact. The concept is when enough people,  or monkeys in this case, learn the new behavior they become the critical mass of knowledge and 'spontaneously' everyone learns to do it.  What they don't know or won't tell you is that one monkey from the original island swam to another and stayed on that island visiting for over four years. He assuredly taught the other monkeys. Yet several islands around the original one had monkeys learning the new behavior. Perhaps he swum to all of them? Kind of like an ambassador monkey? We'll never know for sure but the principle was developed and put out there. I can tell you from a magickal perspective it does have merit.

But whether or not  you believe in spontaneous original thought amongst unrelated or unassociated entities, the United States Patent Office has seen this phenomenon before, and they call it independent creation. Independent creation is when two separate people both create the same work, or works that are substantially similar, on their own and independent of each other. I kind of believe if the U.S. Patent office says its so, then it must be!
In the magickal world we understand that we create our reality.  Our belief is what manifests. Think about that for a moment. What thoughts occupy your mind daily? How much energy do you put into negative thoughts? Thoughts of  how much work stresses you out?, that someone will be unfaithful?, on Monday that your week will be difficult?,  or perhaps you really love weekends.  Is it because of the good thoughts and energies you direct towards your weekends starting sometime around Wednesday? It most likely is.  Think about the majority of your thoughts daily.  

I had a student once who was always looking for the negative. Her life was 'cursed' according to her. She would never find anyone to love her and her life was just horrible. Working with her it became apparent her life was quite ordinary and a lot like everyone else's. The only major issue was her terrible attitude about everything.  She was the consummate victim, everything bad happened to her, and everyone else was to blame. When suggestions and possible solutions were offered for the various issues in her life, they were rejected and she became defensive, as if someone would take away her misery. She was unable to continue on this path for very long as it just doesn't support victims and those unwilling to accept responsibility for there creation.

We understand in the magickal world that we create the good as well as the bad, which makes it hard to be a victim on this path. Yet the group dynamic as described above does apply and we see it in various ways around us.  When enough people feel the same energy that energy seems to build and magnify.  That's why like minded groups can be so very effective or so very harmful dependent on the group's focus and energy.

Some positive groups or groups of people that have accomplished wonderful and amazing things such as the Rotary Club International has been able to say it has almost eradicated polio in the world. That is their major focus and they are very, very close. Also all the people who came together to help and contribute to the disasters of 9-11, Hurricane Katrina and Haiti all sending love, compassion and supplies and money to help. A major difference was made in each of these disasters because of a global out pouring of care. The Red Cross is another organization that has done so much just by the single minded focus they have to help people in times of disaster, no matter how small.

We can also name groups that are harmful and seek to perpetrate their negative viewpoints. The KKK is a good example of hatred and intolerance on a large scale. We saw an extreme case during the Holocaust in Western Europe, and gangs and similar type groups that seek to intimidate and cause fear we know can paralyze a community.

The witch knows that evil does not exist in nature. There are no evil elements any more than there are evil stones or trees! But evil does exist, in the hearts of men and women. By naming it for what it is, and putting it in perspective makes it easier to conceptualize, at least for me. I try to stay away from those who are always negative and always looking for the worst in a situation.

I try not to focus on the negative. The state of the nations economy, the hassle of the Christmas season, the stress, stress, stress!!! Only I can control how I respond to those stimuli, and at the end of the day its up to me how you feel.  I personally like to feel happiness if I have a choice in the matter, and many times I do.  Recently I was waiting in line, well . . . who hasn't?

Rather than worrying about being late, rushing to get somewhere else, I started focusing on standing in line, and started to read the headlines of the brochures and magazines and took a little 5 minute break. I went over my list in my head and reviewed somethings I might have forgotten by the time I got home.  That five minute wait in line actually saved me time in the end. It wouldn't have been able to do that if I had been stressing about the lady in front of me paying with a check, not having I.D. or something of the sort. I wasn't really paying attention as I was reading about holiday decorating and getting some fun ideas.  Besides stressing as I stood there wouldn't have done a thing to make her go any faster, it would have just made my day less bright. 

 Like the 'hundredth monkey' principle we can affect change in our family, our community and even a larger global community if enough people put their thoughts and feelings towards positive and helpful outcome.  Two additional examples that have lots of historical evidence to back them up are the breaking of the four minute mile and the HIV/Aids virus.

The former one was considered truth for hundreds of years. That a human could not break the four minute mile. This was an understood fact, verified by many experts and no one questioned it, let alone sought to try to break the record. Until it was broken by  a man from England and then it was broken several times by others after that. Another example came to my attention a few years ago when I had the opportunity to hear Dr. Deepak Chopra speak. 

His talk regarding body-mind medicine was very interesting and it speaks to our discussion tonight when he related that when Aids and HIV were first diagnosed,  when a diagnosis of Aids was given, it was a virtual death sentence. Everyone believed if you had Aids you would die from it. And everyone did,  initially.   He went on to say that it was only when people developed a belief and hope that they could possibly survive that they started to live longer.  He also says this evidence is evident before the medication that has since been developed for the treatment of this horrible disease.

 Whether we believe the monkeys learned telepathically how to wash their sweet potatoes or if they learned in a more direct manner, its an example that what we do, what we say and how we interact with our world impacts us and everyone around us. We, as much as some might wish, are not separate, responsible for none but ourselves. Instead we all share the same space, the same life, the same opportunities to experience life as everyone and as such we have a responsibility to the energy we put out around us.  Are you a young monkey that can adapt to change and see the world as a place of opportunity and potential. Or are you an old monkey, resistant to change and eating sandy potatoes?   What have you put out there today? I hope it was magickal, and brought you happiness.

Peace and Happiness

© 2010 Enchantments, LLC Portions of this blog posting may include materials from my book “Enchantments School for the Magickal Arts First Year Magickal Studies.” For more information, see or go to the title of tonight's discussion and click, it will link you to my school's website. 

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