Quaking of places,
tumult of peoples,
scheming of nations,
confusion of leaders.
Worlds in Collision pg. 256 quoted from Ezra 9-IV
Doesn’t that sound like today’s world news, yet it was written what over 2,000 years ago.
It is an interesting thing, this sense of self we carry around with us. Much of youth is spent creating a shell defining our independence then trying to fill it with the uniqueness within us all. For some the experience looks easy for others a struggle to understand what self is, of nature, goals, ambitions, aspirations all forward looking in the quest for self-actualization. Does that equal whole?
These days I find that ‘my self’ is quietly disappearing. I have come to understand that I have absorbed all of those around me as well every thought in every book that ever engaged me lodges there too.
The book The Hundredth Monkey by Ken Keyes had a profound effect on the belief system of my younger self.
For those of you who don’t know the tale he presented the idea of new behaviour having a numerical tipping point for it to be adopted by the whole species. He uses a case study of monkeys in Japan; their learned behaviour of washing sweet potatoes to get rid of grit before eating them. After so many adopted this behaviour, the monkeys on neighbouring islands also adopted this behaviour without having any contact.
I was reading Carl Jung at the time, and thought it fitted neatly into his ideas on the collective unconscious. The only problem is, as I learned years later from a small article in the Globe and Mail it wasn’t true.
An enterprising journalist went back to those islands to see how the monkeys were faring to discover the knowledge of washing sweet potatoes did not in fact move from one island to the next, but remained an isolated phenomenon. The behaviour adapted solely by visual/physical exposure to the idea.
When challenged the author said, “Well, it should have been true”. Yes indeed.
Even then, I didn’t trust news print media to unravel the truth of any event, but after reading that I now read every book as a fiction as well.
I was very naive; the obvious example that this idea is not true is war. We are still engaged in that activity and yet most of the world’s inhabitants wish otherwise.
In 1985, Elaine Myers re-examined the research – and found it non-existent.
Wikipedia are representing the book written as a parable. I don’t remember it that way, but I am not going to re-read it either.