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Questions for this section
What do you mean by smart monkeys?
Do you really think humans are like monkeys?
What are some of the characteristics of monkeys that you think are important to this observation?
When I first went to college back in the 60s I majored in political science.. One of the required classes that I took was introduction to psychology. Young and naive at the time I had this notion that psychology was to be about the study of mind and people. However the first one through the course was mostly about people who studied monkeys and chimpanzees primates Jane Goodall.
At the time I just could not figure it out why were we stating monkeys if we wanted to understand human mind and consciousness. Looking back on it however it makes a lot more sense now to me.
When I was young, I assumed that we humans were pretty impressive creatures and knew quite a bit. I read a lot of books, hoping that the cumulative effect would allow to have a good measure of human knowledge.
As I gained experience, i began to realize how little we really do know. Even more than how little we know, how silly and pretentious we are as a species.
We like to refer to our selves as humans although probably a better way to think of ourselves is as smart monkeys.
We humans through the development of powerful tools such as language and technology have managed to dominate our planet. Language has given us the ability to write down observations about things we experience and make maps of the territories we traverse.
We even are able to use our observations to some predictions about a variety of things. In some cases, these predictions turn out to happen more often than chance alone would account for. Using these methods have allowed us to take back a small degree of control from the forces of nature.
Unfortunately, our accomplishments have often lead to a species-wide arrogance. Because we are superior, we forget that we are mostly likely just the latest leading actor in an evolutionary drama that may continue long after our species is extinct.
This arrogance leads to use forgetting that among life on the planet, we have a large number of characteristics in common with other mammals and among mammals with other primates (better known as apes, monkeys, chimps, gorillas and bonobos)
My best friend Clay has a 2 1/2-year-old daughter and one of the favorite things that humans wife like to do is take her to the zoo so on a recent visit to to their home in Long Beach they might take long as they visited the Santa Ana zoo which has one of the best exhibits are about primates in the country
I’d actually never been to a monkey zoo before and so the visit to approve it both on musing and somewhat enlightening. When the most dramatic things that I noticed was the huge repertoire of expressions that monkeys have which in an eerie serve way reminds me of of our own human facial expressions.