Research into the animal nature of the human species is not something that gives the curious scientist person a grant these days. There are obvious reasons for that.
In the past, such research tend to conclude that middle aged white academics are the apex of the species when it comes to intelligence, ability to get laid, and so on. It’s one method to ensure that these people should be much more paid, and have much more status. For obvious reason, the intrepid reporter souls like yours truly scoff at the outrage. Everyone knows the fearless truth-seeker who holds power to account is the apex of humanity. Scientists like Mark are just nerdy dorks. It’s all that maths. It goes to their heads.
Status and wealth is the most human desire of all. Status and wealth is ALWAYS a relative concept, where the measurement is against other human apes. Having a pile of gold means nothing to a tree. A squirrel will be impressed by a large nut, but your Beamer isn’t getting anywhere with it.
Human apes does have control groups that we could check research into human nature with. We have Chimpanzees and we have Bonobos. We also have more distant kin in the same ape family, such as Gorillas and Orangutans. Some researchers have spent their lives studying these apes, and I think you’d find that they think apes are… quite human in nature. Is that because of chance, or because those other apes are very much like us, and works as a control group to fact check ourselves?
The problem is, though, that here in the west, influenced as we are by Christianity, humans do not like to admit to their animal ape nature. Mind over matter, thoughts over raging hormones, the spirit over the chemistry which runs out bodies. It’s annoying to think that matter dictates our minds. It shreds the idea of free will. If the idea of free will is shredded, then everything is torn apart.
So, even atheists and agnostics and liberals and socialists, not just the evangelicals, put man on the top of the pedestal as the chosen species, and removes the human from the natural order where humans are just one kind of ape among a closely related family of four species, who in turn all operate basically the same, with minor variations.
Those human scientists I mentioned earlier could start with the most human trait of all: the need to look good to others. When the Chimpanzee in the jungle jumps up and down, shrieking, and beating a stick against the ground – that’s the same thing as when human scientists students send their own work to an award giving body, like someone wants to do in this household. It is, literally, “look at me how clever and strong I am. Give me attention! And give me money!”
Everything the human does is to weave a story that says to the world “don’t look at those other idiots who haven’t got a clue about anything. Look at me instead, and follow me! And give me your money!”
Every single thing a human does is directed at either the human itself, or at other people. Because, unlike what the libertarians, the socialists, and the anarchists would have you believe, humans organise into hierarchies, and humans are always social. Humans always form a community, but in that community, a human always tries to become the silver-back.
For people who recognise this, the aim is how to prevent the alpha ape, male or female, from taking over and hogging everything, at the expense of every other ape. Our nature dictates that we must have a silver-back in charge of everything, but we can chose how we put the silver-back there.
Libertarian and anarchist and socialist philosophy says that the need for that silver-back is a lie, and we don’t need it. Socialists, on the other hand, decided in the early 20th century to give a lot of people a lot of power, thinking that their animal status- and wealth-seeking nature would compel them to dissolve all that which gave them status and wealth, and then give away the proceeds to everyone.
That’s the essence of the “dictatorship of the proletariat” which was always meant to be the first stage in dissolving the state. Dissolving the state, being a necessary step in reaching socialism. The new ruling class never gave up their power and prestige. The other side of the spectrum took the failure of this as proof that each man is an atom, separate, and unique. And became even more miserable.
Isn’t what political philosophy should concern itself with, the curious boundary between the self and the monkey troop? If it’s innate human nature to organise into hierarchical societies with an alpha male or alpha female at the top, then shouldn’t we work together to ensure that this alpha person is as constrained as possible?
Can’t the whole of human civilisation in the 20th and 21st century be reduced to: “Who does he think he is, eh? Getting above himself, I say. Let’s vote for the other guy. See how he likes that.” So, I have decided to vote for Jeremy Corbyn, finally. And so have Mark. I didn’t have to do any convincing to Mark to do it. Now I just have to battle my political cynicism, and try to believe that this will come to any good.