Friday, 23 August 2013

A Step in the Right Direction

In the great descended from apes vs carved from clay and ribs debate, I'm with the evolutionists. For sure, personality-wise Richard Dawkins is a fart in a mini but he knows his science. The evidence is strongly stacked for Team Chimp Daddy.

I was thinking about this on my tyre swing the other day when I realised believing in evolution comes with certain responsibilities. It asks you to think about human behaviour and exactly how far it has developed from its primate origins. Apes are in constant competition for the best places and choicest food. A small number of males dominate them and with them female attention. These apes are wary, constantly required to protect their spoils with violence from the attacks of less privileged males.

We've replaced the violence with subtler signs of our power and importance, but job titles are roars in the jungle, reaching for your credit card a lunge and a bite. All the rest describes us perfectly. Apishness might be dressed nice and refracted through miraculous technology but it's still our social model.

And then I thought about the sad, Japanese monkeys from Life. The ones where a few get to sit in the hot pool, most shiver at its edge. None of them are happy, even the jealously defensive bathers. Monkeys don't know how to live.

Our animal behaviour is driven by fear that there's not enough to go round, but human intelligence tells us that there is. If we treat each other as equals and share the Earth's bounty we'll choose a world so much richer in friendship and fun. Wouldn't that be a marvellous step in our evolutionary journey?

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