The Critical Mass of Social Change
The following material is taken directly from the source.
In December 1981, Ken Keyes Jr, presented his book, "The Hundredth Monkey", to the world.
Beginning on page 10, he says:
There is a phenomenon I’d like to tell you about.
In it may lie our only hope of a future for our species!
Here is the story of the hundredth monkey:
The Japanese monkey, Macaca fuscata, has been observed in the wild for a period of over 30 years.
In 1952, on the island of Koshima, scientists were providing monkeys with sweet potatoes dropped in the sand. The monkeys liked the taste of the raw sweet potatoes, but they found the dirt unpleasant.
An 18-month-old female named Imo found she could solve the problem by washing the potatoes in a nearby stream. She taught this trick to her mother. Her playmates also learned this new way and they taught their mothers, too.
This cultural innovation was gradually picked up by various monkeys before the eyes of the scientists.
Between 1952 and 1958, all the young monkeys learned to wash the sandy sweet potatoes to make them more palatable.
Only the adults who imitated their children learned this social improvement. Other adults kept eating the dirty sweet potatoes.
Then something startling took place.
In the autumn of 1958, a certain number of Koshima monkeys were washing sweet potatoes - the exact number is not known.
Let us suppose that when the sun rose one morning there were 99 monkeys on Koshima Island who had learned to wash their sweet potatoes.
Let's further suppose that later that morning, the hundredth monkey learned to wash potatoes.
THEN IT HAPPENED!
By that evening almost everyone in the tribe was washing sweet potatoes before eating them.
The added energy of this Hundredth Monkey somehow created an ideological breakthrough!
Amost surprising thing observed by these scientists was that the habit of washing sweet potatoes then jumped over the sea - Colonies of monkeys on other islands, as well as the mainland troop of monkeys at Takasakiyama, began washing their sweet potatoes too!*
(*Lifetide by Lyall Watson, pp. 147-148. Bantam Books, 1980. This book gives other fascinating details)
Thus, when a certain critical number achieves an awareness, this new awareness may be communicated from mind to mind.
Although the exact number may vary, the Hundredth Monkey Phenomenon means that when only a limited number of people know of a new way, it may remain the conscious property of these people.
But there is a point at which, if only one more person tunes-in to a new awareness, a field is strengthened (a threshold is reached) so that this awareness is picked up by almost everyone!
(Taken from the book, The Hundredth Monkey, Ken Keyes, jr, vision Books, Oregon.
The book is not copyrighted, and the material may be reproduced in whole or in part)
An Esoteric Perspective
From an esoteric perspective, the 100th monkey phenomenon is seen as a wave of "influence and evolution" that spontaneously manifests when a "critical" number of people (conscious mass) think like-minded, even if it only happens to be a very small percentage within the group. Further, it appears that this smaller focused percentage seems to transmit a powerful, possibly "telepathic", "suggestion" to the larger, and now "receptive" percentage.
Consequently, it is in this way that change can be effected, for good or bad, on a larger scale that can be imagined. The combined "broadcast/projection" of a few influencing individuals in a group setting can commence a chain reaction of change which is impossible to stop once started.
Interestingly enough, this process is reflected in the physical world - when enough atoms align in a particular way within a molecule, critical mass is reached and the rest of the atoms follow suit and automatically line up the same way.
Physicists refer to this process as "Phase Transition".