THE BEAST WITHIN — More Evidence of Our Nasty Behavior

Chimpatologist Jane Goodall knows us better that we know ourselves.  In her article in the Wall Street Journal she easily dispatches those “experts” who portray us, homo sapiens, as gentle beings, corrupted by the forces of society into exhibiting the brutality and aggression which we so often manifest. Jane knows our genetic heritage and in her studies finds that the roots of aggression in our simian ancestors is all too obvious.

She points to actual research with male chimps which demonstrates rather brutal alpha male treatments of lesser chimps.  She also documents killing of weakened alpha males as well as preventive killing of potential tribal rivals. Comparions with primitive human warfare are astounding. Marching silently in the jungles, attacking and killing vulnerable chimps from outside their group, acquiring their territory, their resources as well as potential female breeding partners. 

What makes humans different from chimps is not our propensity for war and violence but our ability to make peace.  In order to avoid bloodshed we have developed protocols to diminish the potential for war.  This works….sometimes.  Her point is well taken.  Instead of fantasizing about an idyllic pre-societal nature, we should be realistic about who we are.  And, hopefully, work towards promoting what is positive. See article–



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