In Transforming Church, Kevin Ford tells the story of a scientific experiment involving four monkeys and some bananas at the top of a pole in their cage. At first the monkeys competed against each other for the bananas, and the strongest ones got the most. The weaker ones had to find strategic times to get their bananas. But all of the monkeys were able to eat regularly.
Then the scientists changed the environment by putting a pail of water at the top of the pole. Every time a monkey tried to climb the pole, he got doused with water and was unable to reach the bananas. Eventually all four monkeys learned to stop going after the bananas. Then the scientists took the water away. But the monkeys, having learned from experience, didn’t attempt to climb the pole even though the threat had been removed.