We naked apes, are still animals

In the last chapter of Naked Ape, Morris writes, and I agree with him that

despite all our technological advances, we are still very much a simple biological phenomenon.

He continues to write

Despite our grandiose ideas and our lofty self conceits, we are still humble animals, subject to all the basic laws of animal behaviour.

Before you hang me, he also writes

we are an extraordinary species and I do not wish to deny it, or belittle us.


About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

29 thoughts on “We naked apes, are still animals

  1. violetwisp says:

    I think it’s really important that we remain constantly aware of this, it affects so much of our behaviour – well, all of it! But I don’t think it in any way belittles us to acknowledge it, and I also think most species on close inspection are extraordinary (to our silly little animal minds). ๐Ÿ™‚


  2. Sabio Lantz says:

    I am humored at atheists who struggle to present humans as extra-ordinary. I get when theists do it, they have underlying mistaken theology, but what excuse those atheists have escapes me.


    • makagutu says:

      Maybe we could pick this up with Desmond Morris! Am a reporter who finds the laughing animal a funny creature


      • Sabio Lantz says:

        Do I remember correctly that chimps laugh.
        I think you are right, readers need to know they are special — theist and atheists alike. I understand this with kids, but aren’t we suppose to grow up? ๐Ÿ™‚


        • makagutu says:

          Am not sure whether chimps laugh, maybe they do. Am not aware. The number of times have been in close proximity with chimps haven’t heard a laugh, maybe they were stressed.
          I think it would be an up hill task to demonstrate why humans are special. If you check the link I attached in the response to John, you will find some of the reasons people have offered to support why they think they are special. I just think we are a strange ape.


        • I’m not sure we ever really do, Sabio. We seem to need frequent reassurances, no matter our age.


  3. I’m not so sure about the “extraordinary” part, most animals can do a number of things we can’t – we just found our niche in the continuum, and within that niche, we seem to excel.


  4. john zande says:

    Was it Morris who wrote: “We are the only animal who can be highly active whilst sitting still” ?


  5. nannus says:

    It is like that but I think the biology only defines the plattform. It sets the stage. The brain has a very high plasticity. We take up information from the environment (including the culture we are living in) and this information becomes active in us. It is like programming a computer. You cannot derive from electronics and computer science what the computer will be doing. It depends on the program and the information that is put in. E.g., while wordpress works according to laws of electronics and some programming languages, you cannot derive its content from these laws. That is why we spend time here.
    In a similar way, we are to a large extent cultural or informational and not biological. Chimps are like that as well, to a lesser extent.


  6. fojap says:

    Have I thrust archy and mehitabel on you you yet?

    insects have
    their own point
    of view about
    civilization a man
    thinks he amounts
    to a great deal
    but to a
    flea or a
    mosquito a
    human being is
    merely something
    good to eat



  7. Tarnished says:

    Love this quote! Think I’ll use it on monotheists who try to argue with me that humans aren’t animals, or that we are innately “special” somehow. Um, no we are not. Our niche is simply intelligence.

    Or ay least it’s supposed to be. ๐Ÿ˜›


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