I want the world to end tomorrow.
We need not look far to see the many sad and awful things this world has wrought, school shootings, predation of the weak, despair of the less fortunate, disease and loneliness. We have been taught that what we see is all there is. It is a zero sum game in a zero sum world in which every winner creates a loser, and among those who win, there can only be one who bests them all. And so we are all losers, and among the losers we are even compelled to compare ourselves. I would not grieve the loss of the zero sum world, I would welcome it.
Back in the 1970s, Japanese scientists studying monkeys noticed that some small portion of monkeys living on one island had developed a habit of washing sweet potatoes. As time went on, more and more monkeys on the same island developed the habit and it was also observed that at some point, monkeys on another island, presumably without contact with the first group, began washing their sweet potatoes as well.
Conclusions were drawn by others that when a certain number of monkeys had learned the skill, most of the others would gain the knowledge without actually learning it, as if it were transmitted to them. This was dubbed "The Hundredth Monkey" theory, that is, when the hundredth monkey learned the habit ALL monkeys learned it. The hundreth monkey theory became part of New Age lore suggesting that when enough people became enlightened, the world itself would become enlightened.
Subsequent review of the actual study (according to Wikipedia) showed that, in fact older monkeys never learned the new habit but younger monkeys did. As the older monkeys died off and the younger ones had offspring the new habit became more prevalent. As to how monkeys on other islands learned the habit, the only explanation given was that monkeys are able to swim and the knowledge may have been transmitted by monkey swimmers. The conclusion that may be drawn is that the hundreth monkey may have been more a function of time than nonphysical transmission of knowledge, but to me, it could be either or both.
I submit that it is possible that new ideas about our world are being learned even now. That we need not live as we have, climbing over one another for a spot in the sun. That we might share the spot and even help each other get there. That the change that is needed has nothing to do with our bank accounts or where we live, it has to do with what lies within our own hearts. Tomorrow, somewhere in the zero sum world, there may be a "hundredth human" who embraces the idea of a new and better world. It really is just a matter of time.
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