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the evil banana

paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15273
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
Just throwing out a fun communication thing:

The Evil Banana

1) Place five gorillas in a cage. 
2) Suspend a banana in the cage above a ladder. 
3) When any gorilla attempts to use the ladder, wet all five gorillas with a firehose.
4)When gorillas no longer attempt to use the ladder, replace one gorilla.
5)Note that when the new gorilla attempts to use the ladder, the other gorillas will beat him up.  The firehose is taken away.
6)Repeat step 4 until all original gorillas have been replaced.
7)Note that at this point, no gorillas use the ladder and none of them knows why.

There are two possible morals to this story:

1)Many people will prevent you from getting a perfectly good banana even though nobody knows why and it is now perfectly safe to get the banana. 
2)Many people will prevent you from getting a perfectly good banana for a very good reason, although nobody knows what that reason is.



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jeremiah bailey


Joined: May 05, 2009
Posts: 343
And both morals are equally scary.


"Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it." - Helen Keller
--
Jeremiah Bailey
Central Indiana
Emerson White


Joined: May 02, 2010
Posts: 1206
Location: Alaska
I'm stealing this one too 
Kirk Hutchison


Joined: Feb 05, 2010
Posts: 418
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Nice one.


Paleo Gardener Blog
Al Loria


Joined: Apr 21, 2010
Posts: 395
Location: New York
Makes you think, doesn't it.
Joel Hollingsworth
volunteer

Joined: Jul 01, 2009
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
I wonder how many times humanity has independently discovered spongiform encephalopathy, figured out how to prevent it, codified that knowledge, and then decided to write off the whole thing as superstitious nonsense, only to discover it yet again...


"the qualities of these bacteria, like the heat of the sun, electricity, or the qualities of metals, are part of the storehouse of knowledge of all men.  They are manifestations of the laws of nature, free to all men and reserved exclusively to none." SCOTUS, Funk Bros. Seed Co. v. Kale Inoculant Co.
                    


Joined: Oct 23, 2011
Posts: 0
Love it!

to me: Moral #1 resembles corporate earning, most people I know think I'm crazy for wanting to leave a job with decent pay to raise my family on real food, values, and things that matter.
Emerson White


Joined: May 02, 2010
Posts: 1206
Location: Alaska
Joel Hollingsworth wrote:
I wonder how many times humanity has independently discovered spongiform encephalopathy, figured out how to prevent it, codified that knowledge, and then decided to write off the whole thing as superstitious nonsense, only to discover it yet again...


I highly doubt that they ever discovered it before. It is natural for herbavores to eat the bones of other animals, good source of minerals. Additionally there were lots of things that drove people crazy, most notably poor nutrition, but all were interpreted as spirits.
Joel Hollingsworth
volunteer

Joined: Jul 01, 2009
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
Emerson White wrote:there were lots of things that drove people crazy, most notably poor nutrition, but all were interpreted as spirits.


Most cultures have a taboo against cannibalism. Some cultures describe all insanity in terms of spirits, but in some cases a culture will use the spirit world to conceptualize an association between cannibalism and a particular form of madness.

Take modern Western mythology, for example: we tell stories about the cannibalism of blood associated with light sensitivity and sociopathy (mediated by the action of spirits), and separately, stories about cannibalism of brains, associated with cognitive impairment, loss of coordination, and dysphoria. People don't take zombies and vampires seriously, but they do serve a mythic function for our culture.

People have known about kuru for a long time, and I think a culture that encounters it might take quite a while to figure out how to deal with it. I wonder if our taboos can trace their cultural heritage to pre-historic exposure of our forbears to this disease, is all.
Emerson White


Joined: May 02, 2010
Posts: 1206
Location: Alaska
there are lots and lots of reasons not to eat each other, many of them diseases, Kuru and VKJD are fairly uncommon compared to many of the other disease you can get from eating people, heck in many cultures brains were used (brain tan) and spines were fed to the dogs, so its really unlikely anyone figured out mad cow (which you can get with out anything being cannibalistic) .

Many taboos do trace back to good reasons not to do things (evil banana?) but many are just superstitious, the if the ancients had access to true knowledge with some akashic (sp?) antenna then they certainly would have lived differently, preferably they wouldn't have driven so many species to extinction.
Joel Hollingsworth
volunteer

Joined: Jul 01, 2009
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
Don't get me wrong, I don't believe in true (i.e., other than contingent) knowledge.

Knowledge from whatever source is easily and frequently corrupted by removal of the context that makes it true: look how many scientifically-proven facts are re-framed to become half-truth or outright falsehood by advertisers, marketers, even well-intentioned journalists.

I entirely agree that quite a few superstitions have been pushed far beyond any context that might have made them useful. But I think it's rare that a behavior would arise, and then spread through much of a culture, without some initial utility for the people that adopt the behavior. Driving a jeep makes sense if a surplus is left over from WWII, but not so much if you buy one new intending to commute 40 miles each way during the Iraq war.
Emerson White


Joined: May 02, 2010
Posts: 1206
Location: Alaska
Joel Hollingsworth wrote:
But I think it's rare that a behavior would arise, and then spread through much of a culture, without some initial utility for the people that adopt the behavior.


I'm not sure I agree, some behaviors take advantage of our feeble minds for their own ends, take for instance the action of checking the horoscope, this is something that doesn't fit in any context as useful.
Joel Hollingsworth
volunteer

Joined: Jul 01, 2009
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
Emerson White wrote:the action of checking the horoscope...doesn't fit in any context as useful.


Really? I could see a real benefit in a system that makes about 3/4 of the population off-limits for romance by any particular person, even (perhaps especially) if assignment to groups is completely arbitrary. I'm thinking in terms of the work of Robert Axelrod on complex systems.
Emerson White


Joined: May 02, 2010
Posts: 1206
Location: Alaska
That isn't nearly all of what horoscopes do, but I am unfamiliar with what you are talking about, could you explain to me what the advantage of lonely sexually frustrated people is?
Joel Hollingsworth
volunteer

Joined: Jul 01, 2009
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
Hm...since you asked directly, I imagine the advantage of lonely sexually frustrated people is that they can be manipulated with the promise of sex, either by telling them that their public image is to blame and buying some consumer product will make them seem acceptable, or that they can go to war and get what they want through violence.

But the people I've met who believe in horoscopes tend to get enough. And horoscope systems seem to have developed in relatively dense settlements, with much better social connections than suburban, digital society tends to offer today.

I'm not sure much of the benefit is to the individual, but if you're a Scorpio and decide any Saggitarius would be a bad match, you can focus your attention on (not that I know anything about this or believe in it, so I might get this wrong) a Pisces instead. You would approach that inchoate relationship with confidence that the two of you are compatible on some deep level, and work to discover that compatibility and to overcome any incompatibility, where otherwise you might behave like a donkey between two (or many) stacks of hay.

On a broader scale, people tend to be most comfortable with what is most familiar. Imposing arbitrary barriers to mating patterns would help boost the population's diversity, especially if that same system promoted the idea that people of one type do better with people of a very different type. I think just one such benefit would be enough to carry an otherwise maladaptive behavior to long-lasting success.

I was thinking of Axelrod's simulations of repeated prisoners' dilemma games, among a population of agents with randomly-assigned group identification and initially random responses to other agents' identification. It doesn't apply directly, except that the mere introduction of a completely arbitrary group identification, and the possibility to respond to that identification, meant a drastic and qualitative difference in the way the game was played.
John Sizemore


Joined: Mar 27, 2011
Posts: 96
Location: West Virginia/ Dominican Republic
Scott Alexander wrote:
Love it!

to me: Moral #1 resembles corporate earning, most people I know think I'm crazy for wanting to leave a job with decent pay to raise my family on real food, values, and things that matter.

I am going from 90k to 18k. I dont have to be told.


I am the first generation of my family to grow up on the grid eating out of the super market. I hope to be the last.
Leif Kravis


Joined: Oct 03, 2010
Posts: 78
Location: Toronto Canada
I remember reading an article about a paper written by some German statistical scientists who found that specific individual who found a resounding correlation between place and time of birth and things such as type of profession, political views, and personality as predicted by astrology. I'm not taking a stance pro or con, just found it interesting and worth a share.
                              


Joined: Apr 17, 2011
Posts: 25
Location: near Bellingham WA
Regarding useful context of astrology and horoscopes:

Astrology is, in large part, a personality system.  Regardless of its accuracy, it helps people become more aware of and sensitive to differences in personalities, in interests, in focuses, in approaches, etc.  "I'm a Taurus." or "You remind me of a Capricorn when you do that." is quite similar to the modern day "I'm an INFP" and "You remind me of an ESFJ when you do that".

Another useful context is to help someone expand their thinking outside of the box.  Maybe their having a problem and aren't sure how to approach it, nor do they have ideas on how to solve it.  They read their horoscope.  It offers an idea of what they might be able to do, or how they might look at the problem in a different light than before.  This alters the perception of the problem, which then offers new possible solutions to come to mind.

Another useful context is for those who plant by the moon and or constellations.  We know that the moon's nearness to earth alters some of earth's systems.  We also know that the light of the moon influences leaf vs root growth (when the moon is dark, more growth into the roots, but when the moon is light, more growth above ground).

Previously, the constellation + moon + sun cycles were used as a calendar.  A baby is born, we have no paper calendars, etc.  How will we know that the child is of age for whatever typical cultural event?  Well, we use knowledge of the cycles and can then determine that when the sun is in [constellation], or has been through it [number] times, then this girl child will reach menstruation stage and thus the beginnings of womanhood.  Or this man child will be of age to join a certain tribal society, etc.  Much like how we use birthdates and ages to determine drinking age, driving age, drafting age, and adulthood.  (Again, though, this calendar usage can be applied to knowing how much longer until planting weather can be expected.)

So yeah, there are plenty of useful contexts for checking horoscopes.  This doesn't mean that all contexts for it are useful.  Nor does it mean that we don't currently use other systems for similar contexts...or even a similar system just a different perceived cause.


Dealing w/ less than .17 acres, mostly shady, sun blocked by trees, annoying by-laws, about 1/3 of land covered by house and sheds, and very very minimal finances and labor options.  Time to get creative!
Jeff Hodgins


Joined: Mar 29, 2011
Posts: 140
Excelent analogy Paul you've taken something at the core of our society and made it so simple.
            


Joined: May 02, 2011
Posts: 28
Location: Montana
HEY---------IS THAT A BANANA IN YOUR POCKET-----------OR ARE YOU JUST HAPPY TO SEE ME
Lee Einer


Joined: May 08, 2011
Posts: 169
Emerson White wrote:
That isn't nearly all of what horoscopes do, but I am unfamiliar with what you are talking about, could you explain to me what the advantage of lonely sexually frustrated people is?


They are easily manipulated by advertising
Lee Einer


Joined: May 08, 2011
Posts: 169
MattM wrote:
HEY---------IS THAT A BANANA IN YOUR POCKET-----------OR ARE YOU JUST HAPPY TO SEE ME


All right, then. Yes, it is an evil banana in my pocket. Somebody had to say it.

I was frankly dismayed by the lack of double-entendre surrounding a topic like "the evil banana." Certainly with a topic name like that, it had the potential to go into the gutter pronto y profundo.
Jocelyn Campbell
steward

Joined: Nov 09, 2008
Posts: 2676
Location: Missoula, MT
    
  72
An illustration of this was posted on FaceBook by Jai Murugan (though not sure if he created it) and shared by Laura Sweany today.



[Thumbnail for monkeysandbananaonaladder.jpg]



Hands-on workshops in all shades of green - Cascadia & Seattle Eco Events Calendar | QuickBooks Consulting and Accounting Services - www.jocelyncampbell.com
Suzy Bean
steward

Joined: Apr 05, 2011
Posts: 940
Location: Stevensville, MT
    
    8
Paul and Jocelyn talk about aquaculture and aquaponics in this podcast

He discusses the evil banana experiment.


www.thehappypermaculturalist.wordpress.com
Chia Olin


Joined: Feb 10, 2012
Posts: 30
Paul, I shared this with many of my future helping hands and it was a powerful thing for them to hear. The very recent podcast about 111 was a great one to, my brother resonated with it. He is slowly leaning to help and volunteer his time in the garden.

Appreciate all the movements

Chia
Dale Hodgins
pollinator

Joined: Jul 28, 2011
Posts: 4113
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
    
  58
I'd give the ladder a shake by pushing somebody else into it, just to be safe . I was hoping that they'd eventually get a bamboo pole or something.
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This mentality seems to be driving the lack of revision to building codes, food labeling and drug policy.


QUOTES FROM MEMBERS --- In my veterinary opinion, pets should be fed the diet they are biologically designed to eat. Su Ba...The "redistribution" aspect is an "Urban Myth" as far as I know. I have only heard it uttered by those who do not have a food forest, and are unlikely to create one. John Polk ...Even as we sit here, wondering what to do, soil fungi are degrading the chemicals that were applied. John Elliott ... O.K., I originally came to Permies to talk about Rocket Mass Heaters RMHs, and now I have less and less time in my life, and more and more Good People to Help ! Al Lumley...I think with the right use of permie principles, most of Wyoming could be turned into a paradise. Miles Flansburg... Then you must do the pig's work. Sepp Holzer
 
 
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