The 100th Monkey Syndrome

The 100th Monkey

A story about social change.

By Ken Keyes Jr.

The Japanese monkey, Macaca Fuscata, had been observed in the wild for a period of over 30 years.

In 1952, on the island of Koshima, scientists were providing monkeys with sweet potatoes dropped in the sand. The monkey liked the taste of the raw sweet potatoes, but they found the dirt unpleasant.

An 18-month-old female named Imo found she could solve the problem by washing the potatoes in a nearby stream. She taught this trick to her mother. Her playmates also learned this new way and they taught their mothers too.

This cultural innovation was gradually picked up by various monkeys before the eyes of the scientists. Between 1952 and 1958 all the young monkeys learned to wash the sandy sweet potatoes to make them more palatable. Only the adults who imitated their children learned this social improvement. Other adults kept eating the dirty sweet potatoes.

Then something startling took place. In the autumn of 1958, a certain number of Koshima monkeys were washing sweet potatoes — the exact number is not known. Let us suppose that when the sun rose one morning there were 99 monkeys on Koshima Island who had learned to wash their sweet potatoes. Let’s further suppose that later that morning, the hundredth monkey learned to wash potatoes.


By that evening almost everyone in the tribe was washing sweet potatoes before eating them. The added energy of this hundredth monkey somehow created an ideological breakthrough!

But notice: A most surprising thing observed by these scientists was that the habit of washing sweet potatoes then jumped over the sea…Colonies of monkeys on other islands and the mainland troop of monkeys at Takasakiyama began washing their sweet potatoes.

Thus, when a certain critical number achieves an awareness, this new awareness may be communicated from mind to mind.

Although the exact number may vary, this Hundredth Monkey Phenomenon means that when only a limited number of people know of a new way, it may remain the conscious property of these people.

But there is a point at which if only one more person tunes-in to a new awareness, a field is strengthened so that this awareness is picked up by almost everyone!

From the book “The Hundredth Monkey” by Ken Keyes, Jr.
The book is not copyrighted and the material may be reproduced in whole or in part.



My observation is that this phenomena is quite common. Take the issue of women’s  tights here  in Kenya. Ladies’ tights have their origin in Europe where the leggings are a matter of survival in winter. To see African women donning them, and especially woolen ones in the equatorial heat is baffling to say the least. Like the straight hair, the leggings are just a mass consciousness that has no other explanation but a result of the 100th monkey syndrome. I think as far as leggings are concerned we are doing very well here in Nairobi.

Other issues that have hit the 100th mark with Nairobi monkeys.

1. Low cholesterol is good for you

2. Animal fat is bad

3. The weave is hair

4. European football is a vital need like uji.

5. Every meeting must start with Christian prayer



One thought on “The 100th Monkey Syndrome

  1. Now, if only we can have the 100th scientist to help put more more weight on the importance of exploring the science of fields with the same vigour as space exploration! As the author of the book MindStar put it, fields “are inconvenient and annoying refutations of one of their most sacred cows: the law of cause and effect.”

    6. You must have a TV in your living room (otherwise, where will all your furniture be pointed towards?!) 🙂

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