I like the idea of humans as monkeys. It gives us the proper place in the scheme of things. I like the idea of us as hairless monkeys that get up to the usual monkey business of jumping up and down, beating sticks in the ground. At least we don’t fling faeces at each other, right? That’s an improvement over nature.

Chimpanzee. Taken at the Los Angeles Zoo.
Photo credit: Wikipedia

I like the idea of how self-important we can become, where we squat down and draw stick figures in the sand, and then think of ourselves as wise and intelligent. All this while we operate on urges and impulses and conditioning. Just like monkeys on the savannah.

People talk about technology and tools as separations between us and the animals, but ask anyone if they can explain how a fridge works, or how a car engine is built, and you’ll see the technological level of most people. I’m telling you, it’s not so grand.

Money is, for instance, just a token that we give other people so that we won’t have to go out and beat some other non-human animal in the head with a big stick. Everything we do are tokens for something basic, something primordial. Birds in the forest build nests and fill it with shineys so that the birds can have sex. We’re not so different, are we? We buy chocolate or sweets, or just slap someone’s bottom. Methods vary, intentions remain the same. The intentions are basic, primordial.

Food, sex, and warmth – we all exchange these tokens for it. Often the tokens are money. Human misery is counted in not having it, because not having it means that we can’t exchange tokens for those basic things, and by all rights we should go out and club animals in the head ourselves. Except we don’t do that. And people become miserable, particularly when they watch the neighbour have all those lacking things. Eventually, it’s all about being the squatting monkey, and think that it’s all a part of the monkeying around for status and hierarchy and place in the troupe. We call that squatting being intellectual, or being intelligent, or being wise.

I’m dithering about things again, in my head. I’m questioning my motives and intentions, and realise that I don’t have any. I go on rote, hoping to impress other monkeys, and not because I work toward something. It’s fine, and I can do that for now, but sometimes I envy Mark’s laser determination to become a scientist monkey.

I used to be like that, but I’m not any more. I used to have this big huge goal in my head, and everything I did was working toward it. Now? Now I just go through the motions, and hope that people like me, and that I prove to be not too silly or stupid at the end when people have to judge my efforts and worth. And, in the end, are these people’s opinion of me worth anything, in the end? Why should their decisions and opinions affect my future?

I think I need a hug from Mark at the moment. Then we’re going to another party. And I don’t want to go, because I want to sit here with my tea and feel sorry for myself. Even if I have absolutely nothing to feel sorry for. Or, I want to spend the evening in front of the telly with my head in his lap, sipping this tea. Yeah, and talk about big things and big plans and big ideas, and then pretend that I have any of those.

I can pretend that I have some idea of what I want beyond this that I have. This that I have, I want very much, but I already have it. Maybe that’s why I feel so rudderless sometimes.