Start with a cage containing five apes. In the cage, hang a banana on a string and put stairs under it. Before long, an ape will go to the stairs and start to climb towards the banana. As soon as he touches the stairs, spray all of the apes with cold water.

After a while, another ape makes an attempt with the same result -- all the apes are sprayed with cold water. This continues through several more attempts. Pretty soon, when another ape tries to climb the stairs, the other apes all try to prevent it.

Now, turn off the cold water.

Remove one ape from the cage and replace it with a new one. The new ape sees the banana and wants to climb the stairs. To his horror, all of the other apes attack him. After another attempt and attack, he knows that if he tries to climb the stairs, he will be assaulted.

Next, remove another of the original five apes and replace it with a new one. The newcomer goes to the stairs and is attacked. The previous newcomer takes part in the punishment with enthusiasm. Again, replace a third original ape with a new one. The new one makes it to the stairs and is attacked as well. Two of the four apes 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 ape.

After replacing the fourth and fifth original apes, all the apes that had been sprayed with cold water have been replaced. Nevertheless, no ape ever again approaches the stairs. Why not? Because that's the way they've always done it and that's the way it's always been around here.

And that's how policy begins....

--random email forward

Pol"i*cy (?), n.; pl. Policies (#). [L. politia, Gr. ; cf. F. police, Of. police. See Police, n.]


Civil polity.



The settled method by which the government and affairs of a nation are, or may be, administered; a system of public or official administration, as designed to promote the external or internal prosperity of a state.


The method by which any institution is administered; system of management; course.


Management or administration based on temporal or material interest, rather than on principles of equity or honor; hence, worldly wisdom; dexterity of management; cunning; stratagem.


Prudence or wisdom in the management of public and private affairs; wisdom; sagacity; wit.

The very policy of a hostess, finding his purse so far above his clothes, did detect him. Fuller.


Motive; object; inducement.


What policy have you to bestow a benefit where it is counted an injury? Sir P. Sidney.

Syn. -- See Polity.


© Webster 1913.

Pol"i*cy, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Policied (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Policying.]

To regulate by laws; to reduce to order.

[Obs.] "Policying of cities."



© Webster 1913.

Pol"i*cy, n. [F. police; cf. Pr. polissia, Sp. polizia, It. polizza; of uncertain origin; cf. L. pollex thumb (as being used in pressing the seal), in LL. also, seal; or cf. LL. politicum, poleticum, polecticum, L. polyptychum, account book, register, fr. Gr. having many folds or leaves; many + fold, leaf, from to fold; or cf. LL. apodixa a receipt.]


A ticket or warrant for money in the public funds.


The writing or instrument in which a contract of insurance is embodied; an instrument in writing containing the terms and conditions on which one party engages to indemnify another against loss arising from certain hazards, perils, or risks to which his person or property may be exposed. See Insurance.


A method of gambling by betting as to what numbers will be drawn in a lottery; as, to play policy.

Interest policy, a policy that shows by its form that the assured has a real, substantial interest in the matter insured. -- Open policy, one in which the value of the goods or property insured is not mentioned. -- Policy book, a book to contain a record of insurance policies. -- Policy holder, one to whom an insurance policy has been granted. -- Policy shop, a gambling place where one may bet on the numbers which will be drawn in lotteries. -- Valued policy, one in which the value of the goods, property, or interest insured is specified. -- Wager policy, a policy that shows on the face of it that the contract it embodies is a pretended insurance, founded on an ideal risk, where the insured has no interest in anything insured.


© Webster 1913.

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