From the moment in 1963 when I finished reading Jane Goodall’s first article in National Geographic, I was enthralled with her work and still consider her one of the greatest personages of my lifetime.
During the nearly six decades that have followed, inspired by her revelations (and by the insights of Desmond Morris’ The Naked Ape), I have come to believe that — despite Mother Culture’s multi-millennia-long, quintessential “lipstick on the pig” scam that we have risen above the slime of the World of Fang and Claw — human behaviors are driven by our primate biology unless individuals make conscientious efforts to oppose it.
The fact that we are naked apes — highly intelligent and inventive apes to be sure — has not been a part of any conversation I have been a part of (unless I bring it up after one too many glasses of wine), nor is it ever mentioned in conjunction with never-ending examples in our newsfeeds of primitive behaviors that would not have been unusual three million years ago in the African habitats in which hominid primates lived, behaviors that have long dominated human civilizations in defiance of the efforts of prophets who devoted — and in some cases sacrificed — their lives to explain how we might rise above our primate biology.
The Killer Ape Theory hypothesizes that violence and aggression were driving forces behind human evolution. Raymond Dart is accredited with bringing the theory forward in the 1950s, and it was developed further in African Genesis by Robert Ardrey.
Greed. Acquisition of territory. Fear of “the other.” Maintaining one’s status via threat of and actual physical violence primarily to ensure access to fertile females. All are internal drives that elicit survival behaviors that have contributed to our specie’s eventual domination of the biological world. These biological responses were once essential to species survival in the World of Fang and Claw; today, they are the roots of toxic masculinity and the enduring characteristics of killer apes.
According to the (killer ape) theory, the ancestors of humans were distinguished from other primate species by their greater aggressiveness, and this aggression remains within humanity, which retains many murderous instincts.
The expression “killer ape” does not mean an outstanding aggressive kind of ape; in fact, the term refers to anthropological analysis of human aggression. Accordingly, the killer ape is a notably belligerent species on which our instincts might be rooted, because this very ancestor could establish itself due to its special aggression.
This post was born a few days ago out of the disgust I felt toward the opposing clans of killer apes in Israel who have reignited the hatreds created by their killer ape predecessors, lineages that stretch back thousands of years. The death and destruction raining down on innocents once again is nothing more than the manifestation of survival instincts implanted in our primate biology acted out between rival alpha males.
The only difference between the killer apes depicted in this post’s images and that of two alpha males and their clans a million years ago is the sophistication of their weaponry and the refinement of strategies of terror, torture, and murder. These two toxic males and their followers are nothing more than naked killer apes in suits behaving like male chimpanzees behaved in the Gombe War.
As the linked Wikipedia article about the Gombe War summarizes …
… chimpanzee societies, in their natural state, wage war. A 2018 study published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology concluded that the Gombe War was most likely a consequence of a power struggle between three high-ranking males, which was exacerbated by an unusual scarcity of fertile females.
Ostensibly, the current conflict in Israel is attributed to a court case about the eviction of Palestinian families in East Jerusalem and Israeli police clashes with Palestinians near the city’s al-Aqsa Mosque, but that’s just Mother Culture smearing lipstick all over the pig.
What is happening in Israel as I write this post is but one more in the list of countless confrontations that stretch back at least three million years to (and probably before) the origin of our species, a species that has proven to be so deadly to all life that it has spawned one of the greatest extinction events in biological history, a species so deluded as to its importance that its collective behaviors are leading us to the end of civilization as we have come to know it.
And what of those prophets? When Jesus, a Jew, was asked, “of all the commandments, which is the most important?” he responded:
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.
What about traditional Jewish views on love?
One of the core commandments of Judaism is “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18). This commandment stands at the center of the central book in the Torah. The Talmudic sages Hillel and Rabbi Akiva indicated that this is the central commandment of the Torah.
Humanity has long known the solution to the pain and suffering of the world because the prophets of religions great and small have spelled it out for us; unfortunately, their guidance has proven no match for the instincts natural selection has imprinted in the minds of killer apes. Not even one of the greatest prophets of our Boomer Generation was able to move us beyond our biology when he sang …