A Very Serious Question About The Monkey Emoji

by Megan Grant

Every morning when I hop online, I'm bombarded by headlines about Donald and Hillary, GMOs, and the latest proof that the world is going to end soon. Today, however, a new argument is taking the internet by storm. The monkey emoji debate has created the most epic of divides, and we still have yet to answer the riddle.

You're likely familiar with the cute little emoji. There are three in total: A monkey covering its eyes, one covering its ears, and a third covering its mouth — a nod to the whole "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil" thing, based on the characters of the Three Wise Monkeys. The meaning of this phrase is largely accepted as the idea of feigning ignorance to the wrongdoing of others, as in turning a blind eye. However, there is another meaning that some of us have come to believe. The first two parts — see no evil and hear no evil — are a warning of sorts. A strong piece of advice. When we see and hear evil, it becomes a part of us. If we follow these directions (to see and hear no evil), then we will speak no evil.

Surprisingly, the monkey emoji debate is only tangentially related to this story. It has to do with the number of monkeys and who they are: One side argues that it's one monkey in three different poses, while the other side argues that it's the three wise monkeys, all different primates. Artist Jonathan Sun recently posed the question on Twitter, along with a poll.

And the Internet went bonkers, as you can see from its thousands of retweets and favorites; indeed, almost 70,000 people have voted on the poll as of this writing. Here's what some of the participants are saying.

It's Definitely One Monkey

No, It's Definitely Three Different Monkeys

There Was This Guy, Who Just Can't Handle It

And This Girl, Who Has Officially Solved The Problem For Us All

You didn't ask for my opinion but I'm giving it to you anyway. I personally think it's three monkeys, following the tale of The Three Wise Monkeys. You can't do The Three Wise Monkeys with one monkey. You just can't.

Images: Megan Grant/Bustle