In hippie days, an acquaintance of mine, Lyall Watson, published a summary of a Japanese monkey study. It immediately became fact among the hippies of the world.
When Lyall’s material was later discredited as research findings it remained among hippies and New Agers as a parable.
Lyall’s version was that monkeys on a river near Kyoto were given dirty sweet potatoes and observed. The potatoes were to attract the monkeys to the research station. The researchers, after a few years, observed that more and more monkeys learned to wash the sweet potatoes before eating. They observed that this phenomenon spread to other monkey troupes all over Japan including other islands. Watson said that once the number of monkeys who washed sweet potatoes reached 100 it spread to the entire population promptly. That was his ‘hundredth monkey theory’.
This became a parable, that when enough people hold a new insight it spreads by mysterious waves to every other human.
Careful review of the data found a real truth that I hold dear.
Only young monkeys learned to wash their sweet potatoes. Old monkey never did. Young monkeys taught other young monkeys in other parts of Japan. It spread by direct contact and only slowly from young to young.
The truth I learned from this study is that only young animals are capable of learning new things. At some point the brain becomes hard boiled and no new learning occurs.
I have picked age 23 as the point when human beings become unable to learn anything new. They get stuck in the world view, the values and often the lifestyles they acquired before age 23..
Maybe a few people out of a hundred can learn after age 23. They are the anomalies that occur in all natural phenomenon.
This explains a great deal of human behavior that I observe. Nearly everyone is stuck with the brain they had at age 23 with no capacity to learn thereafter.