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Actually bononos do not have alpha primates in any meaningful use of the term.. and bononos are primates.

Hey, bonobos have sex for fun, are matriarchal and the women exchange sexual favours for material goods. We can't allow people to know that we're as close to them genetically as to the patriarchal, warlike and cannibalistic chimpanzees.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 8th, 2007 at 06:00:12 AM EST
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That would be certainly dangerous.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Thu Mar 8th, 2007 at 06:15:15 AM EST
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Am I the only person unconvinced by the 'Some monkeys do it this way, and since we're monkeys our natural state is to do it that way too'?

It looks like a pseudo-explanation no matter which side you come at it from.

The idea seems to be that there's a natural form of expression which we could all enjoy if only if it weren't for our social conditioning, and which is 'better' than our social conditioning because it's 'natural.'

What if being conditioned socially actually is our natural state?

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Mar 8th, 2007 at 08:53:26 AM EST
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The analogies with our relatives are useful insofar as they give us some idea of the range of behaviours of other animals similar to us in many ways. The assorted ape's behaviours are social conditioned to some extent as well. The ape studies are mostly in opposition the the myth of male-dominated hierarchy as the "natural" state of mankind.

Being socially conditioned is our natural state, but we don't start from a blank slate - we are primed in all sorts of ways and the innate tendencies vary from person to person. If the social conditioning is too much in conflict with our instincts and needs then there is excessive tension and the situation isn't very stable or much fun.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Mar 8th, 2007 at 09:00:15 AM EST
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The analogies with our relatives are useful insofar as they give us some idea of the range of behaviours of other animals similar to us in many ways.

That would be useful if it were true. But that's not how I see these studies being used. The Social Darwinists and the Bonobo Fans both seem to be intent on creating narratives that say we 'should' be like their subjects because it's 'natural.'

I don't think that's a valid premise. In fact I think it should be challenge vigorously.

As for the possible range of behaviours - when you have anthropological studies that seem to cover almost every imaginable social structure - the range of actual human expression is already wide enough without needing to draw on animal studies.

Being socially conditioned is our natural state, but we don't start from a blank slate - we are primed in all sorts of ways and the innate tendencies vary from person to person.

That's also true and personal differences seem to be under-appreciated in these models.

But that's more or less the point I'm trying to make - there is no 'right' culture, and no 'natural' one. And the range of possible cultures is huge.

It's the diversity and adaptability that's unique to humans. Not some specific ethological instantiation.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Mar 8th, 2007 at 09:07:54 AM EST
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The Social Darwinists and the Bonobo Fans both seem to be intent on creating narratives that say we 'should' be like their subjects because it's 'natural.'

We have an ongoing cultural problem with the conflation of 'natural' with 'desirable'.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Mar 8th, 2007 at 09:15:38 AM EST
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So there's one narrative that says "whatever is natural is desirable". What are the alternative narratives?

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 8th, 2007 at 09:21:02 AM EST
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"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Thu Mar 8th, 2007 at 09:40:55 AM EST
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Mr Natch has spoken!

And a 10 for Melanchthon!

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Mar 8th, 2007 at 12:14:25 PM EST
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So who is Mr Natural here? (And where did you find this?? This is great!!)

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Thu Mar 8th, 2007 at 02:06:50 PM EST
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where did you find this??

Melanchthon's Dual-BrainTM Technology


"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Thu Mar 8th, 2007 at 03:34:23 PM EST
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So who is Mr Natural here?

I suggest a poll...


"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Thu Mar 8th, 2007 at 03:36:15 PM EST
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The narrative isn't about being desirable, but about being inevitable.

You can't argue with human nature, after all. Although oddly no one seems to agree what human nature is.

It's just another variation on the traditional 'God says you should...' gambit, with more a pseudo-scientific gloss.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Mar 8th, 2007 at 12:28:33 PM EST
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I coudl not agree more.

Nothing is natural in humans.. or all almost nothing is natural..

And now let's gonna discuss why there are some universal traits to all humans... That's tough , man and as I say either you can explin it purely on cultural terms or as a combiantion of environment biology and cultural cahnge.. but each case is different. Stuff is complex as Migeru's says :)

And the last sentence.. you nail it my friend.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Thu Mar 8th, 2007 at 01:59:34 PM EST
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Count me unconvinced as well.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Thu Mar 8th, 2007 at 11:43:41 AM EST
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