We are living in a society today where the metaphor of these three Japanese monkeys is very significant. Growing up I was always attracted to these clever little fellows, not realizing how ancient their image and message actually is.
Originally, they were designed to urge people coming to their local Shines to remember not to do evil, speak evil or set their sights on evil doing. But since my childhood it seems they have morphed into representing a silent message, which represented a value in just not getting involved, keep a low profile, “go along to get along”, and don’t make a big deal out of it”. I I am sure you can add similar captions!
It strikes me as a very poignant symbol for an acceptable passivity on one hand and a tendency to accept a “group think” mentality on the other, which is attracting us as a means of distancing ourselves from getting involved in anything uncomfortable, despite obvious chaos and negativity all around us.
How do we get beyond the attitude if it doesn’t involve me, I don’t want to get involved! We are letting ourselves become a set of monkeys whose mantra has become, I don’t want to hear about it, I don’t want to see what’s wrong, let along speak up to try and change anything.
Abuse and bullying and taking advantage of the weak exists everywhere. The rich, the powerful and the smart are teaching us not to be a victim because if we go deep enough we will find out we are all victims to something. But becoming a victim is not what we are about. What we need to be about is teaching those who are truly too weak to fight for themselves how to become strong and independent.
You need to understand the beginning of responsibility is to open your ears your eyes and your mouth and move away from the Three Monkey Syndrome plague of avoidance.
One of the things we see parents dealing with today is very encouraging. Parents are recognizing the importance of teaching their kids how to talk listen and see. Then when they become teachers themselves, will they face a society where they are told to be quiet and not say anything?.
We live in a society where the freedom of the individual no longer exists.
While you are reading this article please ask yourself if there is something you need to say, hear or look into, because there are many people at this very moment who are being taken advantage of by others, not just politicians or rich people.. Even opinions that you hold should be questioned, they are not yours really, they just become your because you’re not willing to take a stand to agree or disagree with something, or you’re not happy with how it infringes on your personal agenda or ready to look away from something.
For that reason, I fear the Three Monkey Syndrome is controlling and manipulating us in ways we haven’t fully recognized. Today more than ever we have to speak up for things that are wrong, if not for us for our neighbor, our community.
As responsble people we are called to look and see where there is pain and remove it from society. We have to listen. The Second World War took a big price out of the world financially and socially, many women became widows, many children lost their fathers. The beginning didn’t seem so bad, but because of the Three Monkey Syndrome we didn’t stop it early enough.
If this dilemma is of interest I highly recommend you read Martin Buber about preconceived notions of the young generation.
We are not making a strong enough effort to shape our own opinions, We too often just don’t want to be bothered. The real problem is happening because some religious organizations are too quick to feed people with hatred while they are talking about peace. They feed people animosity towards each other while they are teaching about God. The goal of God is to become unified.
People cover themselves with the shield of David, the cross, Zen, Buddhism, it doesn’t matter what you follow if around you there is pain that either you caused, or you don’t bother to address. No matter what spiritual path you practice, it is not spiritual, but rather it’s a selfish path if it doesn’t lead you to Love Your Neighbor as Yourself.
In the end of the day, we have to look at what the three monkeys really represent; i can’t see this pain anymore, I can’t hear about it and I can’t be quiet about it. When we get to this level then we can see hear and listen. There’s so much pain that’s happening all over the world. Mistakes in hospital, corrupt lawyers, putting innocent in prison, police shooting and killing people for no reason, bloodshed, terrorist’s attacks, mistakes of religious abuse using the name of God to make everyone their slave, we could go on and on. If we continue sitting and saying if I make a change it will hurt me and my family, we are no more than these monkeys. We cannot be oblivious any longer. We need to see the truth and speak up and made sure we are heard.
May god help us all to unite and make a difference in the world,