we are animals

Today is no braining Tuesday, so I bring you this interview of de Waal

Why are so many people wedded to the idea that humans are special?

We’re raised with those ideas. It’s an old Christian idea that humans have souls and animals don’t. I sometimes think it’s because our religions arose in a desert environment in which there were no primates, so you have people who lived with camels, goats, snakes, and scorpions. Of course, you then conclude that we are totally different from the rest of the animal kingdom because we don’t have primates with whom to compare ourselves. When the first great apes arrived in Western Europe—to the zoos in London and Paris—people were absolutely flabbergasted. Queen Victoria even expressed her disgust at seeing these animals. Why would an ape be disgusting unless you feel a threat from it? You would never call a giraffe disgusting, but she was disgusted by chimpanzees and orangutans because people had no concept that there could be animals so similar to us in every possible way. We come from a religion that’s not used to that kind of comparison.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Conclusions of the Territorial Imperative

Usually, at the end of a good book, I prefer to write my thoughts about what I have read. In this case, however, you will allow me to be lazy and let Ardrey talk for himself.

He writes towards the end, and I think the conclusions make sense;
1. We must know that man, while the alpha fish among species, is unique only in his capacity for getting himself into troubles that for other species nature would be compelled to provide
2. We must know that as body and behaviour evolve as a collective enterprise,  so human behaviour like the human body is governed by evolutionary laws comparable to those of any other species
3. We must know that while the human brain exceeds by far the potentialities of that possessed by any other animal species, its psychological processes probably differ not at all from those of other higher animals, and from those of lower animals perhaps as well
4. While granting that the varying cultural achievements of human populations set man apart from other animals, still we must know that such cultures, however complex, simply serve to fill out behavioural patterns, some as ancient as recorded life
5. Man no different from any other animal is a complex of expressions, frequently conflicting, in which no single determinant- territory, society, dominance, sex, economic necessity or single innate need for identity, stimulation or security – holds exclusive or permanent domain.
6. Our capacities for sacrifice, for altruism, for sympathy, for trust, for responsibilities to other than self interest, for honesty, for charity, for friendship and love, for social amity and mutual interdependence have evolved just as surely as the flatness of our feet, the muscularity of our buttocks, and the enlargement of our brains, out of the encounter on ancient African savannahs between the primate potential and the hominid circumstance. Whether morality without territory is possible in man must remain as our final, unanswerable question.

I will add here, contrary to Jean Jacques Rousseau, the capacity for violence is innate but the tools is what we must learn.

I hope this summary doesn’t disappoint all those who were expecting more, Victoria I am pointing at you😀

Against intelligent design

All the works and all the productions of nature are really made by necessary and accidental causes, which are blind and completely deprived of Reason. These works and productions do not at all demonstrate or prove the existence of a sovereign intelligence or consequently, the existence of a god who made them as we see them.
It is therefore absurd and ridiculous to say or think that printed characters, ink and paper, which have no movement in themselves, could arrange and bind themselves so well together that they could make a book.
The above are wise words by Jean Messlier