I had a long talk the other night with old family friend the Logeyed Roman, during the course of which he told me an anecdote that very much struck me.
His father spent a number of years stationed over in the Pacific after World War II, and during that time was shown the local technique for hunting monkeys.
You took a coconut and drilled two holes in it just large enough to put a rope through. This allowed you to tie the coconut tightly to a tree. Then you drilled a larger hole, just barely large enough for an adult monkey to reach its hand into. Through this hole you poured a few handfulls of peanuts into the coconut, and then you sat back to wait.
A monkey would approach the coconut, put its hand in, grab a handful of peanuts, and then find that it could not withdraw its hand while holding the peanuts in its fist. While the monkey was struggling with this, the locals would approach and club it. As the humans approached, the monkey would scream hysterically and struggle to get free, but the one thing the monkey would not think to do, as death bore down on it, was to simply let go of the coveted peanuts so that it could pull its hand out and scamper up the tree.
Learning Notes Week of May 18
1 hour ago