Monday, March 22, 2010

Because that's the way it has always been done.

Most of us do some silly things just because people have been doing it and our parents insisted that it was the right way to do it. While bringing up my son, I allowed him and also encouraged him to question me when he feels something I am doing or telling him to do looks meaningless. A child who had no curtains of prejudice blocking his views showed me how foolish I have been at times... and to wonder I thought I was not superstitious. How many of us do things the way it is done just because we assume that is the only way it has to be done.. I welcome you to share your experience of this behavior we all exhibit. Be it considering spilling salt an evil sign or putting a horse shoe for good luck, what ever it is mention one incident which makes you laugh when you think back over it.

Let me share one of my experiences with you all today. I say just one because I do not want to look silly by sharing all my silly experiences with you.. LOL

I grew up respecting books a lot and most of my classmates’ worshipped books once in a year. Books were considered holy and as I loved books a lot myself, like usual I never questioned this act. We never touched the books with our feet and if we ever accidentally did touch it with our feet we would touch the book respectfully and kiss it. This went on in my life till one fine day my son asked me why I do it. I told him what I believed until then .. but as I was explaining to him that books impart knowledge so they are to be respected and worshipped etc etc I felt I was being very silly. Off course Rayyan found all this very funny because for him books were inanimate objects who would never know whether we love or hate them. His idea was to save that love for someone with a heart… and I learned my lesson.

Gorilla Story

Once, an experiment was conducted on few Gorillas. Five Gorillas were kept in a cage and a bunch of bananas hung over the cage just above their reach with a stairs leading to it. Before long, a gorilla went to the stairs and started to climb toward the bananas. As soon as he touched the stairs, all the gorillas were sprayed with cold water. After a while, another gorilla made an attempt and got the same result—all the gorillas were sprayed with cold water. Every time a gorilla attempted to retrieve the bananas, the others were sprayed. Eventually, they quit trying and left the bananas alone as the other Gorillas began to attack the one that tried to climb the stairs.

One of the original gorillas was removed from the cage and replaced with a new one. The new gorilla saw the bananas and started to climb the stairs. To his horror, all the other gorillas attacked him. After another attempt and attack, he knows that if he tries to climb the stairs he will be assaulted. Next, the second of the original five gorillas was replaced with a new one. The newcomer went to the stairs and is attacked. The previous newcomer took part in the punishment with enthusiasm.

Next the third original gorilla was replaced with a new one. The new one goes for the stairs and is attacked as well. Two of the four gorillas that beat him have no idea why they were not permitted to climb the stairs or why they are participating in the beating of the newest gorilla.

After the fourth and fifth original gorillas have been replaced, all the gorillas that were sprayed with cold water were gone. Nevertheless, no gorilla will ever again approach the stairs. Why not?

“Because that’s the way it has always been done.”


  1. about the first story..i still believe in it. and having faith is harmless until and unless you are harming the people around you. thats not superstition..thats faith. and thus i don't find it silly.
    second ..the gorilla quite confused...between the first,second,third,fourth and fifth ones and thus its too soon for me to conclude anything. :(

  2. I don't mean to hurt anyone's feelings with my own confession. Every faith is considered a superstition by those who do not believe in it and every superstition is considered faith by those who believe in it... That is just the way I look at it and the change I went through. Not general opinion.

  3. Yes, I fully agree with you on both stories!
    Firstly, I was brought up to respect books, and I really have a huge collection. I would hate to have books with turned over corners....use a book-mark!
    Secondly, I think that things get in-bred in you. If you know that you want something that is just out of your reach, and everyone else is trying to get it, but are being punished for wanting that thing, then it is pointless hurting all of your friends for a few minutes satisfaction.
    Gorillas and any animals learn these things out quickly, and in a way, so do humans!
    Very thought provoking post, Farila, and it got your point across.
    Big hugs!

  4. As I was reading your first story, I was preparing to comment about something that happened at work. One of our new employees questioned me on why we did something a certain way. I told him that we had always done it like that. He proceeded to tell me that exact story about the gorillas.

    These make excellent points, that we should do something because it makes sense or is the best way to do something, and not because that's just how it has always been.

  5. I am often tempted to say just that to the kids, unfortunately it does not save me more explanations it merely incurrs more questions. (yawn !!)

    So I take the shorter route now and explain from the start why we do something in a certain way.


    p s: Thank you for your always frank comments and you are right about the unknown author - why would anyone not take credit for such a profound piece of verse. I tried searching the net - but no luck.

    Peace be with you always.

  6. I wonder, whether it is because, that my pen has shorted scratching across my blog, that i dont find you around, all I wanted to say, the I miss you. never mind, my stupid pen, for its on vacation, i have called, sms-ed and even telegraphed it to come back soon, but alas! it seems that it is asking some more time to make its mind and come back to me! poor me! thus i have to do with a silly alternative. my needle and threads are trying to do some bit of entertainment. but yes, i know you miss my words, and so do I miss them. and, I also know, "there are miles to go before I sleep..."

    with regards,

  7. I understand. It's like I was always taught to throw the first waffle from the waffle iron away. I never understood why but that's the way it was "done". My daughters do it as well and when they asked me why, I honestly told them, "I don't know. That's the way I was taught."

    The gorilla story was intriguing and brought to light how often people can go along with the crowd without really knowing why.

    I'm my blog comment, you said you were neutral...why do you think that?

  8. Hello

    Nice blog.

    In the first case, i too worship my books and NEVER intentionally touch it with my legs.i intend to continue that anyways..

    Gorilla story is fun.

    “Because that’s the way it has always been done.”

    Well,i guess "change" means adjustments in our daily routine.....which people are not always willing to do.
    May be its complacency.....


  9. Loving books is very normal. Thats the way it has always been. We have been taught to respect the things which are important in our life in any sense. Its not just the books but the Pen. pencils, erasers and all the stuff get the same regard from us.

    Mam, I really couldn't understand the message behind the Gorilla story. Please explain...:(



  10. the Indian way of life has many such beliefs...I think they are there to instill respect for values, people, plants and animals...medicinal plants have been prevented from being extinct becoz of this...the Chinkara of Rajasthan is protected by the village.
    So let us not write off old practices since they are all time tested...of coz it is important to understand the real reason for doing any given thing.

  11. Nalini- I agree with what you say. Medicinal plants and animals have been prevented from being extinct through this means.. but someday when I really know the meaning behind I will accept the value of the plant and respect it for its worth rather than worshiping it.

    To anyone who have felt offended by my mentioning of the book worship.. let me tell you I still respect and love books but then books mean even the Sidney Sheldon fiction, Filmfare magazine, Playboy, etc. I have grown up to see what books really are... but I will never make fun of anyone who practice their faith. NEVER. I just mention the change in me.

    There was time when I was not allowed to cut nails inside the house, never wake up from the left side etc etc.. but things have changed since I make my own rules now.

  12. Hi Farila

    To anyone who have felt offended by my mentioning of the book worship

    i dont think "anyone" is offended by this post.....this "getting offended" thingy because of smallest of small reasons is really SILLY.We cannot be so narrow minded as a nation and as a people.

    Cheers and dont worry too much about these things!!


Your Opinion Matters....


Rayyan Lost in Laptop

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...