3 Monkeys (no, not those 3)

Remember the story of the three monkeys? This is a story about three monkeys. And "bullying".

Back in the 1930's a lab researcher was working with three monkeys; one large, one medium-sized and one small. Only the medium monkey solved the puzzle, so the researcher rewarded the monkey with a piece of fruit (call it a banana).

This, of course, made the other monkeys angry but the large monkey took immediate action. Running to the other, the large monkey shoved him down and took the banana for himself. The small monkey looked on as the medium-sized monkey jumped around, howled in anger and threw things (poo) around the room. This, of course, did not result in the large monkey giving back the banana.

All of the howling and outrage went on for quite some time as the medium-sized monkey got more and more worked up; it all ended when the enraged medium-sized monkey ran over to the small monkey in the corner and proceeded to beat the living crap out of him.

The NEXT time around when any of the monkeys solved the puzzle, the researcher gave all three monkeys a banana. This worked out well for the big monkey; he got three bananas. Needless to say that the researcher got to clean up poo again and the little monkey got another beating.

Round three came along and the researcher once again gave the banana to the much more capable medium-sized monkey, but this time he gave the small monkey a stick. The results were more or less the same, except the medium-sized monkey ended up with a severe headache to go along with his bad attitude while the little monkey was much safer if not unscathed (the medium-sized monkey was bigger, after all).

Round four comes along, the same sequence happens (large monkey has become lazy, he can simply TAKE) and medium-sized monkey wins the prize. The researcher gives the medium-sized monkey a banana and the small monkey a stick. This time the medium sized monkey rushed over to the small monkey and immediately took the stick away. But to the researcher's surprise, he did not attack the small monkey but instead went after the large monkey with the stick. He had learned how to deal with HIS tormentor from his former victim.

The researcher learned something as well, from then on he distributed a stick along with the banana. An unexpected result though; none of the monkeys ever had to use the stick again. They all learned that it was present and what the consequences would be if it were used.

Despite all of the public service announcements and F/B memes and "Promise Groups" and educational seminars, bullying will NOT go away. It is a fact of nature that all species establish a social and economic order within themselves; typically through threats, intimidation and actual physical violence.

With the human species one of the prime weapons in our arsenal are words ("words are weapons, sharper than knives").

So what can we learn from the three monkeys?