Posts Tagged ‘Goodall’


October 27, 2013

[Dark Side I; the squeamish is invited to read something else.]

Jane Goodall, the fanatical Christian and do-gooder, was the leading chimpanzee ethologist. Her lesson number one, as she always insists, is that “chimpanzees are very much like us“. Paradoxically, the greatest discovery Goodall made was what I view as the deepest pillar of the Dark Side. The WILL TO EXTERMINATION. Roll over Nietzsche, and even Sade!

Nietzsche’s Will to Power should be controversial. Because, not only the likes of Caesar or Napoleon had evoked it, but there are other “Wills“. Obviously. And the most important “Will” had not been uncovered by Nietzsche. Or, come to think of it, by any major philosopher, so far. The Will To Extermination is the very core of the Dark Side. It has been ignored at humanity’s own peril.

War is Business. On the Extermination Path.

War is Business. On the Extermination Path.

[Chimpanzees are four to five times stronger than human beings; the latter surrendered power for dexterity, allowing to terrorize chimpanzees with superior weaponry.]

Sade had achieved a much better understanding, and he warned fellow revolutionaries that it was unwise to push the French revolution onto Europe by the force of arms… That it would all turn into what it turned into. Sade had a point one has to keep in mind (say in Syria).

Understanding that the Will to Extermination is a dominant emotion is a must for making progress in humanism. Keeping it in mind would have led humanity to question early on what the German “Reichs” were up to, or Lenin, Stalin, or Hitler, or many of today’s mass homicidal dictators. Or, more generally, what all plutocrats are up to. The Will To Extermination is the main interface of true plutocracy with the world.

Is that all there is to the Dark Side? Oh no. There is the “Will To Power”, sitting on the side. And there is more: emotional, not just rational, pointillism.

I had a dream. A rescue helicopter was landing in the thick forest next to my home. I had to recover my solar powered camera to immortalize the scene. However it was on the south side of the overhang of a giant cliff I knew very well. In my haste to recover the camera, I overlooked the fear that the cliff ought to have inspired, overshot the device, and found myself hanging from weeds above the enormous void. At that point, waking up seemed the only reasonable option left.

Lesson? People act on reduced emotional sets. In that particular case, the urge to get the device was the only thing considered. Similar reduced emotional sets were at the origin of the German attack in 1914, or the rise of the United Stasi of America, or Obamacrap Obamacare.

Thus, it’s not enough to consider e-motions (what moves), but also which emotions are operationally in command, in any given course of action.

Nietzsche explained in “Beyond Good & Evil”, that he wanted a unified cause, a Theory Of Everything psychological (are modern physicists taking themselves for Nietzsche?). That’s why Nietzsche promoted the Will To Power. That was rather a bid for infuriating oversimplification. Indeed, he himself admitted people thought with their guts, or stomach.

Indeed there is a Will to Drink, or one to fill one’s stomach. Or, more basic of all, there is a Will to Breathe (people can’t commit suicide by refusing to breathe; even under water, end by trying to breathe water).

Nietzsche himself also admitted that there was a “Will to Knowledge”. As it’s well known that curiosity killed the cat, it’s hard to see what kind of power, but for self destruction, the cat was after.

In other words, the silly Nietzsche himself had to admit that there is more to a brain than the desire to turn power on. Studies on Aplysia have confirmed this. Far from being the way Nietzsche thought, the essence of brains is non locality. That’s precisely why consciousness was evolved.

What is usually said is that Goodall discovered that chimpanzees made war. What I point out is why they make war. Here is a recent (2010) study in “Current Biology”:

Chimpanzees make lethal coalitionary attacks on members of other groups [1]. This behavior generates considerable attention because it resembles lethal intergroup raiding in humans [2]. Similarities are nevertheless difficult to evaluate because the function of lethal intergroup aggression by chimpanzees remains unclear. One prominent hypothesis suggests that chimpanzees attack neighbors to expand their territories and to gain access to more food [2]. Two cases apparently support this hypothesis, but neither furnishes definitive evidence. Chimpanzees in the Kasekela community at Gombe National Park took over the territory of the neighboring Kahama community after a series of lethal attacks [3]. Understanding these events is complicated because the Kahama community had recently formed by fissioning from the Kasekela group and members of both communities had been provisioned with food. In a second example from the Mahale Mountains, the M group chimpanzees acquired part of the territory of the adjacent K group after all of the adult males in the latter disappeared [4]. Although fatal attacks were suspected from observations of intergroup aggression, they were not witnessed, and as a consequence, this case also fails to furnish conclusive evidence. Here we present data collected over 10 years from an unusually large chimpanzee community at Ngogo, Kibale National Park, Uganda. During this time, we observed the Ngogo chimpanzees kill or fatally wound 18 individuals from other groups; we inferred three additional cases of lethal intergroup aggression based on circumstantial evidence (see Supplemental Information). Most victims were caught in the same region and likely belonged to the same neighboring group. A causal link between lethal intergroup aggression and territorial expansion can be made now that the Ngogo chimpanzees use the area once occupied by some of their victims.

So what the authors suggest is that chimpanzees behave like little Hitlers, plotting an expansion of their “Lebensraum” (vital space).

Maybe. However, is it how chimpanzees feel it? Certainly not. Inter-chimpanzee violence is extremely brutal and cruel: parts are torn away, bitten off, until death occur from shock and blood loss. (This happens in the wild, and in captivity.)

One can describe a murderous chimpanzee rampage only as motivated by unbounded hatred. When moved by that sort of emotion, chimpanzees are not in the spirit of just making smart real estate investments.

Nietzsche tried to explain everything with the Will To Power: “Suppose, finally, we succeeded in explaining our entire instinctive life as the development and ramification of one basic form of the will–namely, of the will to power, as my proposition has it… then one would have gained the right to determine all efficient force univocally as–will to power. The world viewed from inside… it would be “will to power” and nothing else.” (From Beyond Good and Evil.)

Well, Nietzsche missed the big picture, the one that explains Auschwitz. Trying to do, finance, economics, sociology without the Will To Extermination, is to try to reason out of a reduced emotional set, missing the most important ingredient.

There too, contemplating chimpanzees’ behavior help. the art of extermination with chimpanzees consists into having the many surprise an isolated individual. So chimpanzees go on the war path. They make a single file, they become very silent, strongly bounded by… the perspective of committing murder. And they murder at a stupendous rate, much higher than that of hunter-gatherers. Thus war is a force that provides chimpanzees with the strongest meaning.

Verdict? To defeat the Will To Extermination, we need a higher form of war, just as to fight a disease, we need to understand, and use its essence against itself, as vaccines do.


Patrice Ayme