Monkeying Around

"As a man thinks, so he is." (Proverb)

It may funny and amusing but it is a sad reflection of what we think about ourselves. What is "it?" It's a display of human beings at the London Zoo. No joke. It's real!

It's too pathetic to say very much about it. Read the article and weep.

For those of you who say it's an appropriate placement, since we are just animals, I'll tell you what I learned long ago from a teacher. The one capability that sets humans apart from animals scientifically is what is called "metacognition." That is, the ability to think about what we're thinking about. That one area of cognitive development is the very thing that allows us to have self-control and make moral and ethical judgments on our own behavior. We are not simply animals without any ability to control our desires, emotions and actions.

In a strange way, this story makes for an interesting wrap up for the week. Think about it. Our selfish motives would naturally lead us to creating our own little kingdoms, feeding our egos whatever the cost ("Celebrity vs. Integrity"). Our "animalistic" nature means we can't and shouldn't control our sexual appetite whenever and however we deem appropriate, even as high school students ("How did it happen?!). And finally, our lack of self-control and personal responsibility open the door to blame our doctor when he tells us the very thing we need to hear ("Political Correctness Can Kill You").

That "animal mentality" feeds our desire to be unaccountable and irresponsible. It also robs us of the joy and prosperity we're designed to enjoy as human beings.

Perhaps we ought to think a bit more highly of ourselves.


At 8/27/2005 04:36:00 PM, Blogger Mark said...

I saw that story and the first thing I thought of was that it is a clever idea, but a typical liberal attempt to equate humans with animals.

This same notion is the one that compels an animal rights activist to step over a sleeping homeless person so she can throw red paint on someone wearing a fur.

Or courts giving stiffer sentences to animal abusers than to people abusers.

America is truly upside down.

At 8/28/2005 08:21:00 AM, Blogger Poison Pero said...

PETA should be happy about this......Considering they've lately run ads comparing Jews to Chickens.

Just once I'd like to see them do a Blacks and Monkeys ad........Then all Hell would break loose.
As far as these idiots at the zoo: Just another reason why our forefathers left Europe to come to America.

At 8/28/2005 03:11:00 PM, Blogger Doug said...

We're not "just animals" -- no animal is. As for metacognition, yes, that could be a discriminating factor.

However, we are part of the animal kingdom. Regardless of what you may think, there is no Gotterfunken in any of us.

Question: What is the political, real-world record of those who believe that humanity is somehow divinely ordained? Not pleasant, is it? Yes, I know all about the Soviets; not pleasant, either.

I guess the question can thus be separated from relgiosity completely then, no? The question being: how to comport ourselves ethically, fairly, and justly? Try reading John Rawls A Theory of Justice: no mention of God therein. Or check out some of Chomsky's lectures on the universal basis for human rights -- no relativist he!

Please post where PETA is comparing Jews to Chickens -- I imagine it has something to do with the way we shove thousands of chickens into industrial feedlots and then slaughter them. Does a human life equal a chicken's, in my book? No. Is there a point to be made, though? Yes. Is PETA making it? Not sure; have to see to judge.

Mega-sized feedlots are destroying much of the environment we depend on. That affects at least the quality of human life, if not the quantity.

Check out this article. Btw, the author is a hunter and gun owner.

Mark, please post laws wherein we give stiffer sentences to animal abusers than to people abusers, and define people abusers. In advance, I'll tell you that I'd find that bizzarely off, too.

When did an animal-rights activist step over a homeless person to do what you say? Or is that urban myth?

For the record, I do think that we ought to be putting the homeless above any animal abuse. Whence so many homeless? Check into it and you'll find its roots in nasty, mean and purposeful underfunding of psychiatric institutions during the Reagan era.

pero: What does the activity of 21st-century Brits have to do with why speculators and Puritans came here in the 17th century?

At 8/28/2005 07:38:00 PM, Blogger Doug said...

Hi, Just-A-Woman-ites!

So, I just added this blog to the links on cyberpols.

Ironically, given the picture that started this string, my action is not intended to be of the reciprocal-altruistic, you-groom-me-and-I'll-groom-you kind -- i.e., Lores, don't feel some kind of social/netiquette pressure to put cyberpols on your blog!

I just like coming here and chatting with y'all, and I'm sick of clicking through Allen's post to get here!

Also, and more seriously and importantly, one thing about the blogosphere and blogging Allen T. and I have talked about (and which I and other cyberpollers have also talked about) is: given the time we put in, what's the point of preaching to the converted, so to speak? Sure, there's some group support, so to speak, and that's fine. But what does it accomplish in any larger sense? We all know how "we" (i.e., those who agree with us) feel and think; we at cyberpols are trying to understand that which seems mystifying to us about others' beliefs. We all do have to live in this country together, after all, and I think we all agree that our country faces daunting challenges, even if we may disagree on the order of the list, or even on what deserves to be included on the list.

Thus, I come here, and I wanted to make it available to my peeps. I also wanted to make our blog available to your peeps, too -- seems only fair. Come and tweak us and keep us honest!

I've found through blogging with Thornbloggers that what I suspected to be the case has borne out: it's much harder to dismiss people and people's ideas when you break down the "diffusion of responsibility" that occurs when those who disagree or those you've had little contact with stop being the Other and become blog-friends, or at least familiar!

It's so much harder to say "Oh, those [insert label] are all just a bunch of [insert epithet]!" when you actually engage with real, live people -- if only via blogs.

Lores, if I've overstepped, and you want your blog removed from cyberpols, please let me know!
And please let me or any other cyberpoller who comes here know if we are treading too heavily or being annoying or are simply not wanted.

It's your blog, after all!

We welcome everyone at cyberpols, but we respect that some want their blog communities run differently, which is their right.

So, there you have it! I frankly love to talk to, spar with, and engage with those who disagree with me -- that's why I take time out to blog, as I said.

Feel free to e-mail me privately, Lores, if you like, in case you want to discuss any of this.

Cheers, all...Dug

At 8/28/2005 07:45:00 PM, Blogger Jamie Dawn said...

This story really is a great wrap up to your week of posts.
Those people in the zoo exhibit seem to be "acting" like monkeys (picking/grooming) instead of just being homo sapiens. A more true exhibit would be to just have a video of people at the airport, which is my favorite place to people watch.
I'm glad you dropped by my silly, humorous blog. I'm also glad you've given up dining on rabbits.

At 8/30/2005 06:07:00 PM, Blogger Layman said...


I suspect the exhibit is a little tongue-in-cheek, but I agree with your assesment of their intent. The irony is just how much a failure the exhibit really is.

If it is intended to show man in some sort of primitive state, why did they pick good looking young models in bikinis and swimsuits? Why aren't they naked, malnourished, have really bad teeth (well, it is the English so maybe they do), and other health problems? Why do they have pillows?

If it is intended to show man in his "natural environment" as the sign says, then why are they sitting on rocks doing nothing? Why aren't they in their business casuals at the office pushing paper? Or, as most humans spend much time doing, watching television? THIS is humanity's true natural environment.

Which just goes to show that, contrary to the zoo-keepers' comments, humanity is not "just another primate."


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