...is based on the observation of monkeys on some
remote chain of islands. When the monkeys on one island discovered a new way to
get coconuts down from the tree (or was it bananas?), the monkeys living on a
nearby island somehow acquired that same knowledge, even though there was no
physical contact between the two groups of monkeys.
So the theory
goes that when, one by one, the members of a group (monkeys... us) begin to
acquire a certain piece of knowledge, there is a tipping point - the hundredth
monkey - where this knowledge passes into the collective consciousness, and all
members of the group acquire that knowledge.
I don't know how
true any of this all is, but it would account for the irrational popularity of
such things as the hula hoop, POGS, and the Macarena.
(Editor's note - Here is a perfect example of the danger of passing on information only
vaguely recollected. I had heard the 100 Monkey Theory way back when I was in
high school in the early 1970's, from a friend who must have actually read the
book it was taken from. Since getting the facts correct would have required a
little effort on my part, I just relied on my faulty memory instead.
this Friday evening some 30 years later, a simple Google search has revealed I
didn't quite have it right - sort of the way everyone can hear in their heads
Humphrey Bogart say, "Play it again, Sam" in the movie
"Casablanca," when in fact he never does say that exact phrase. Memory
isn't so reliable! Turns out, it wasn't getting coconuts or bananas at all (to
be honest, I just made that part up), it was washing sweet potatoes.... but other
than that minor detail, they way I have it is the gist of it.
the way, the book this is all from is "The Hundredth Monkey" by Ken
Keyes, Jr. Hope this clears things up!)