The male monkey and the female monkey have an argument

By Paulo Coelho

The male monkey and the female monkey were sitting on the branch of a tree watching the sunset. At one point, she said:

‘What makes the sky change colour when the sun reaches the horizon?’

‘If we tried to explain everything, we wouldn’t be able to live,’ replied the male monkey.

‘Just sit quietly and let this romantic sunset fill our hearts with gladness.’
The female monkey grew angry.

‘You’re so primitive and superstitious. You’re not interested in logic any more, you just want to enjoy life.’

At that moment, a centipede happened to be walking past.

‘Centipede!’ called the male monkey. ‘How do you manage to move all those legs of yours in such perfect harmony?’

‘I’ve never really thought about it,’ came the reply.

‘Well, think about it! My wife would like an explanation!’

The centipede looked at its legs and began:

‘Well…first I move this muscle, no, no I don’t, first, I have to sway my body in this direction…’

The centipede spent half an hour trying to explain how it moved its legs, and the harder it tried, the more confused it became. Wanting to continue on its way, it found it could no longer walk.

‘See what you’ve done?’ it cried out in despair. ‘In my eagerness to explain how I work, I’ve forgotten how to move.’

‘Now do you see what happens when someone tries to explain everything?’ said the male monkey, turning to enjoy the sunset in silence.

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  1. KK says:

    i dunno wether to agree or disagree! All I can say is that y waste our tym arguing ova here oso…y not follow the msg of the story n appreciate its simplicity n depth instead of debating ova the degree of its applicableness :)

  2. sea says:

    i read the monkey story it is good

  3. Vandana says:

    Hi Paulo,

    I found this story so very simple and yet so very profound. Joys in life are not to be explained or measured, they are simple phenomenon to be experienced. Some wishes, for example,we spend a lot of money just to have the simple satisfaction and joy in our heart. If we started digging the scientific theory, we may lose the magic. Splendid thought :)

    Best Regards

  4. i am living in an endless circle of (whys) and (hows)
    the conclusion: i am trapped in my own self

    but can we really stop searching for answers ???!!!
    it is a human nature… and although we sometimes know that it would complicate our lives, we never fear to knock on the doors of knowledge

    thanks for the inspiration
    may the moon light shine on your paces

  5. gilly says:

    don’t disect the kiss!! xx

  6. Leaf says:

    Hmm, I agree with Frank….up until the fact that Science, based on it’s own theory, (yes, without spirituality, mostly) Cannot explain (and that seems to be its’ self appointed job) how the anomalies such as factory made Gold chains ETC are found in coal seams, supposedly millions of years old…and all that jazz.

    We all only have to admit that we do not have all the answers to all our questions…and that simplified, says Quest;
    Which for me is for Knowledge and Truth, Love over all.

    Ask, and it shall be given you.
    Seek and ye shall find.

    Jesus also said, (para)
    Sit down, don’t worry about it.

    A stagnant pond feeds neither man nor beast….or something like that.

  7. Frank says:

    I think every child ask questions like those mentioned. I don’t think that our curiosity, the seek for explanations and the urge to discover takes the magic off the things. There is something magic within the curiosity itself. For example, you can appreciate the beauty of high mountains and at the same time ask yourself how these mountains form, how the rocks form, and how fossil animals that once inhabited the sea can now be found on the top of the highest mountains. With that knowledge, you can even more enjoy the landscape, Nature is very magical… World would be colder, if we teach our children, not to ask anymore. And will we get back to belief that our World has an age of 6000 years instead of 4.5 billion, or that there is no evolution, despite all the ‘discovered’ evidences? Here Wendy is right, I think…

    Of course logic and argument is not everything, I believe even science needs more than this. For science is not objective and with arguments scientist often just try to prove, what they BELIEVE. To really discover something new (in science) you need much of inspiration. God has given to us a Heart and a Brain in order to use it. Science and Spirituality should work hand in hand.
    At the end I agree with aditya: Balance is right, and we have to know when to ask and to whom. Of course, a question in a wrong moment can destroy this very moment…


  8. To discover is to notice and realize…but at times discovery rather creates more confusions with those many questions and answers just to satisfy our curiosity.

    Explanations will tend to seek more explanations. It is true that we can gain knowledge thru discovery but we sometimes forget the main purpose of why such things are there in the first place, not to confuse or complicate us… but to be appreciated.


  9. aditya says:

    HI Paulo, Hi wendy !

    To me both the standpoints appear right. while there is no need to be obssed with getting everything ‘analysed’ & ‘explained’. As paulo says it would be impossible to live, at the sametime there is no ‘progress’ if we don’t try to get things explained. the trick is to choose what we want to get explained and if we know why we want it then still better. Such an approach becomes more impiratant in this age of information overload. From all sides, we are bombarded with so much information, that most of the time we don’t really know what we are doing and why.

    specially for u wendy – don’t be too sure of anything science says, in science the ‘truth’ is for the day, till today this is what science believes in, and tomorrow if some new evidence emerges the truth may change.

    as Buddha used to say, balance is the key.



  10. GABRIELA says:

    I read the monkey story I think it’s very interesting and while I was reading it made me thing about human life it’s true what the monkey says we forget about real important things we leave them kept in our heart and as time passes we forget them completely and we stay with the sensation of emptiness in our hearts… we always ask ourselves what would happen if I…..? or we simply become so cold hearts that we don’t care about anything around us…

  11. Wendy Espinoza says:

    i don’t think there is nothing wrong in wanting to know how everything came to be we can enjoy life while before and even today people thought that the world was created in six days. which has been proved wrong scientifically with the therory of evolution more a fact than a theory. we now know that the first life that ever existed was in sea millions of years ago and from then we have been evolutionizing. but still some people refuse to believe it. because they want to believe what their ansestors believed in which is the theory of creation. they didn’t want to complicate their mind with questions that seem impossible to answer or just simply becase they didn’t have the technology or knowledge that we now have. i think is beautiful to know how everything came to be that way we can appreciate God a little bit more for creating such a perfect world for us to discover.