On Social Norms, Rules, and Regulations

All great truths begin as blasphemies.

George Bernard Shaw

Let me start with the proverbial “Five Monkeys” story.

Five Monkeys

Start with a cage of five monkeys. Inside the cage, there is a banana hanging from the ceiling and a ladder placed under it. Before long, a monkey would go to the ladder and start to climb towards the banana. As soon as he touches the ladder, he and all of the other monkeys are sprayed with ice-cold water.

After a while, another monkey makes an attempt to reach the banana.  Again, as soon as he touches the stairs, all the monkeys are sprayed with ice-cold water. This is repeated again and again until the monkeys learned their lesson: climbing results in ice-cold water for everyone, so no one climbs the ladder.

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