(image: Hundredth Monkey – graphic art design by Michael Paukner, 2009)

This phenomenon is considered to be due to critical mass. When a limited number of people know something in a new way, it remains the conscious property of only those people. The Hundredth Monkey Syndrome hypothesises that there is a point at which if only one more person tunes in to a new awareness, a field of “energy” is strengthened so that new awareness is picked up by almost everyone.

The Hundredth Monkey Effect was first introduced by biologist Lyall Watson in his 1980 book, ‘Lifetide.’ He reported that Japanese primatologists, who were studying Macaques monkeys in the wild in the 1950s, had stumbled upon a surprising phenomenon. Some anthropologist were studying the habits of monkeys on some islands in the ocean off the shores of Japan. They found one particularly smart little fellow, and taught it to wash its food before eating it. He learned to do this quite quickly. Soon the other monkeys in his family also began to wash their food before eating it. Later this behavior spread to other monkeys in the clan. About the time one hundred monkeys were washing their food prior to eating it, suddenly all the monkeys on all the islands, some thousands of miles away, began to wash their food before eating it. This surprising observation became known as the Hundredth Monkey Effect and has been repeatedly observed. This same phenomenon is true in humans as well. It is part of the reason we have trends in fashion, the economy, and politics, etc. Finally for those who wish for extra sources, Malcom Gladwell’s “The Tipping Point” book, will be a good start.  Other related books include Philip Ball’s “Critical Mass“. Here is a good review.

Poster design above was done by Michael Paukner, one of my favourite graphic and info design contemporary artists. Not only for the themes he chooses (for instance, his most recent work was about the Golden ratio and Leonardo’s Vitruvian man), but above all, by his incredible and powerful final design. Meanwhile and on purpose, I asked today my youngest son to draw a monkey on it’s own. He his 5 years old, and this is his drawing.

(image: António’s Monkey – 5 years old – click to enlarge, Jan. 2010)