Bureaucracy in Action
Start with a cage containing five apes. In the cage, hang a banana on a string and put stairs under it. Before long, an ape will go to the stairs and start to climb towards the Banana. As soon as he touches the stairs, spray all of the apes with cold water. When any other ape makes an attempt, again spray all the apes with cold water. Then turn off the cold water, and observe. Do not be surprised if when another ape tries to climb the stairs, the other apes will try to prevent the single ape from doing it even though no water sprays them.
Now, remove one ape from the cage and replace it with a new one. Observe that when the new ape sees the banana and starts to climb the stairs, all of the other apes will attack him. After another attempt and attack, the new ape will know that if he tries to climb the stairs, he will be assaulted. He ceases to attempt to climb the stairs.
Next, remove another of the original five apes and replace it with another new one. Observe the newcomer going to the stairs, being attacked -- with the previous newcomer taking part in the punishment with enthusiasm.
Again, replace a third original ape with a new one. The new one makes it to the stairs and is attacked as well. Note that two of the four apes that beat him (the new apes which were never exposed to the cold water) have no idea why they were not permitted to climb the stairs, or why they are participating in the beating of the newest ape.
After replacing the fourth and fifth original apes, all the apes which have been sprayed with cold water have been replaced. Nevertheless, no ape ever again approaches the stairs. Why not?
“Because that’s the way it’s always been around here.”
New Rule: Grab the banana and run!
This was copied from Hey, Hey, We're the Monkeys!