Chimps, Humans, and Social Behavior.
I mentioned this in the "God, man, and the nature of sin" thread and decided to make a thread out of it.
Warning: This thread and topic contains mature themes
Does the way we treat sex and our women, homo and heterosexual, effect how we interact socially with each other?
"Make War, Not Love."
[_1_] "Out of almost 5,000 mammal species in the world, there are only two in which males live with their relatives in social groups and occasionally make trips into neighboring territories to stalk, hunt and kill members of neighboring groups. Chimpanzees are one. Humans are the other. And we are so closely related that a blood transfusion from one species to the other will save a life, if the blood types match. "
[_1_] "Our violent primate nature, shared with chimpanzees, is bad news, especially when you add that both chimps and humans are extremely sensitive to imbalances of power. Gangs of males -- either kind -- know perfectly well how vulnerable a stranded individual neighbor is. And regularly take advantage of the situation in murderous ways, as has now been repeatedly observed among chimps in the wild. It does not require an anthropologist to observe similar behavior in humans. "
[_2_] "Male chimps are highly aggressive towards their female counterparts – sometimes using branches as clubs to beat them. The study found that male chimps are most aggressive towards the fecund females in their group. It also revealed that these males mated more with the females that they beat."
[_2_] "'We conclude that male-female aggression represents an evolved strategy to constrain female sexuality,' the authors say. They add that the males mainly used force to prevent the females from mating with other chimps."
[_3_] "Chimps don't form monogamous pairs; rather, mating is dictated by the females' estrus cycles. During estrus, the competition for access to these few fertile females is intense. The leading theory, albeit a shaky one, is that the physical abuse is punishment for female chimps' promiscuity. By bullying them, they are discouraged from seeking other males, making it more likely that resulting offspring is his. Another explanation is simply that the violence is the result of disputes over food resources."
[_3_] "Male chimps didn't just beat up on females at random, the researchers conclude. Those that bore the worst of the attacks not only had far more sex--and most often with the males that beat them--but were also the most fecund, with twice the average odds of a sexual encounter resulting in pregnancy. "Males are basically trying to force females into exclusive mating relationships," says Muller."
[_3_] "However they also found high levels of cortisol--a stress hormone--in the urine of beaten-up females. At persistent high levels, cortisol can result in gastric ulcers and other physical problems, which would be decidedly counter-productive to reproduction."
In summary, the common chimp has a male run society. Females are kept away from each other so they cannot form social groups outside nursing. They are regularly beaten and raped to stay in line and keep them from gaining social status in their groups, which can reach up to 150 members.
Why is this important? Chimp and human minds are very similar socially. We are both capable of our own forms of speech, we create clichés with each other, we often claim mates as our own and only our own, and males in both species have the problem of killing each other and beating women to gain control, namely for sexual purposes. Believe it or deny it, 1/3 women in the USA is assaulted sexually at some point in her life.
I may be a strong feminist, but I'm not going to say that women have control over this society. We are getting there, but we are far from it in many parts of the world.
But, this is far more apparent outside first world countries. African tribes, for example, live very similarly to Chimps. Social groups, constant wars with each other, and they regularly beat their women to keep them in line and kill those that go out of line. Many human societies kill babies that are not their own when they claim a mate, exactly what chimps do. Human society was heavily anti-feminist for thousands of years until recently, and even today many women are still treated as objects.
Chimps may hold the key to the vast amount of human domestic violence around the world. They may even hold the key in their social behavior as to why we constantly wage war against each other. Chimps have been known to attack other tribes, killing all males, children, and taking the women for their own. Many scientists believe these are just disappearances, but recent discoveries have seen areas covered in chimp corpses from a battle recently fought.
Males also fight each other heavily over mates, food, and territory. One scientist has described it as "the air literally feels like it is swimming in testosterone." They are under the constant need to feel superior, the need to have power in their society whether it be in the form of food, sex, or land. Too be honest, that’s exactly how much of male human society works as well. Take what you can, because the more you have the more power you have. I use money as my example in the modern day world.
"Make Love, Not War."
[_1_] "Professor Wrangham describes both humans and chimps as sexist, but the bonobos are not. Why? For starters, there is increased social pressure from other bonobos in the wild -- they live in much larger groups than do chimpanzees. And bonobo females form strong alliances with the result that females are at least co-dominant with males. Then there's the "copulatory behavior" which is a release for the inevitable pressures of living in groups. Chimpanzees fight, bonobos ... well, you know."
[_2_] "If you know them at all, it is probably as the most highly sexed of all the apes, but they are also considered by many to be our closest living relative - closer even than the common chimp. Bonobos seem to live by the principle "make love, not war". They are very docile towards one another, never aggressive or murderous, and possess many of the psychological traits we value most, including altruism, compassion, empathy, kindness, patience and sensitivity."
[_2_] "When communities of bonobos from different areas of a forest meet, the females of each tribe initiate sex with males from the other. When chimp tribes meet, the encounters are extremely violent and it isn't unusual for at least a few individuals to end up mauled or even dead. Chimps create despotic male-controlled societies where males beat up females to display dominance. Bonobo society is egalitarian, until it is time to feed, at which point females tend to get preferential access. Tool use is another huge disparity between the two species."
[_2_] "Then there is the sex. Bonobos are famous for it. Aside from the typical male/female activity, they also engage in more "creative" behaviors: wet kissing, masturbation, oral sex, female/female and male/male couplings, group activities, the list goes on and on. The only restriction seems to be incest between mothers and their children. Chimps by contrast restrict themselves almost entirely to male/female sex and don't have nearly as much of it as bonobos. What's more, males are dominant, frequently use food to lure females into having sex with them, and sometimes beat uncooperative females."
[_3_]"Bonobo males remain attached to their mothers all their lives, following them through the forest and being dependent on them for protection in aggressive encounters with other males. As a result, the highest-ranking males of a bonobo community tend to be sons of important females."
[_3_] "Bonobo society is, however, not only female-centered but also appears to be female-dominated. Bonobo specialists, while long suspecting such a reality, have been reluctant to make the controversial claim. But in 1992, at the 14th Congress of the International Primatological Society in Strasbourg, investigators of both captive and wild bonobos presented data that left little doubt about the issue."
[_3_] "Bonobos are unique in that the migratory sex, females, strongly bond with same-sex strangers later in life. In setting up an artificial sisterhood, bonobos can be said to be secondarily bonded. (Kinship bonds are said to be primary.) Although we now know HOW this happens--through the use of sexual contact and grooming--we do not yet know WHY bonobos and chimpanzees differ in this respect."
[_4_] "If you're a female, there isn't much point having sex if you don't want a baby. But bonobos, like us, have clued into the fact that sex can be lots of fun. But there are other reasons sex is good, especially lesbian activity. It deepens friendships and strengthens the bonds between females. Which is why female chimpanzees live in fear of their next beating, and bonobo females run the show."
[_4_] "I think human females often lose this connection. Noone is more vicious to females than other females. Backstabbing bitchiness goes on everywhere from the office to the nightclub. There would be more women in high places if other women weren't scheming to bring them down."
I think the quotes explain themselves.
Bonobos, like humans, have discovered that sex is fun. That, possibly over all else, is what makes their society so incredibly peaceful. Humans share a number of characteristics with Bonobos and the Bonobo is also the ape we are estimated to be our closest living relative. Bonobo chimps, unlike the common chimp, have a much more human skeletal structure, for example.
What can the Bonobo teach us? Make love, not war. Bonobos rarely engage in physical combat, even with other Bonobo tribes. They solve everything with sex, and even have sex to pass the time. It is their handshake, their kind greeting, their way of showing respect and growing bonds with each other.
How do they compare to common chimps? Females. It is -all- about the females. When chimps find a new female, one of the males beats her, kills her children, has sex with her, and then claims her as his own. When a new female bonobo arrives into the group, she is greeted by the females instead. They then initiate GG rubbing (Genitalia to Genitalia) and other sexual acts as a welcome to the tribe and a way to form a bond. When the female has her first child, she is welcomed into the tribe fully.
Bonobo society is a sisterhood. Chimp society is a male war zone for power.
In common chimp society, the females are kept from each other and are forced down the social ladder. In Bonobo society, females are at the top of the social ladder and interact with each other heavily, solving problems of food and resources together with the males.
"Make Ignorance, Not Peace."
Humans are similar in the respect that we also have recreational sex. Buuuut, we have religion. And we have many questionable morals. How does this come into play? Well, first off, apes have morality as well but they do not require religion to know what is good for the group and what is not.
I am not saying Religion is bad, but I am sure many of you will agree that people are capable of "good" things without the use of Religion. Religion, often times, simply takes credit for the "good" and "bad" things people do.
Secondly, we cast an evil eye upon Homosexuality. We ban it, we kill people for being it, and we mainly see it as disgusting and useless. But, the Bonobos are all Bi-sexual. Male-on-male, female-on-female, male-on-female. They do it all. Humans have sex for the emotions and orgasm. Bonobos have sex to form a bond, whether the person they are bonding with it the same sex or a different sex. While we hate it, they embrace it. We kill each other, they love each other. Which one sounds better to you?
Many people will say Sex exists simply to reproduce. I place the Bonobo and Common Chimp at their feet to prove them wrong. Chimps use sex to gain power, to fight wars, and to suppress to reproduce in a small window of time. Bonobos use sex as a way to make peace, to solve problems, to create bonds and help each other. Sex, to them, and to humans, is much more than a simple act to pop out another baby. Humans, like Bonobos, have a large window to have children and it is this window that keeps Bonobos from fighting each other.
Now, human society is a good blend of Bonobo and Chimp society. Males unite for cooperative ventures, whereas females also bond with those of their own sex. Monogamy, polygamy and polyandry are all in evidence. This is odd for primates, and odd for many forms of life as well. Which means, we can be either society if we try.
Humans war with each other. We are in a constant need of more money, more food, more power. We have to feel in control. It doesn't take a genius to see that this is all over human society, and the blame for this? Well, the blame, sadly, falls on the males of our society. Not the females. It can sort of fall on both, but from evidence of animal species in nature this strive for more power is a masculine trait. Women who are incredibly violent and known killers have brain wave patterns similar to males as well, meaning that the masculine part of our species is not our ultimate strength... it is our greatest weakness and if we ever wish to achieve peace we must overcome it.
I am not saying "cage up the males, let the females rule" like so many feminists out there. If you do that, then you are still the common chimp with a gender roll reversal.
An interesting thing to note as well is that Bonobo females are actually smaller than males, casting doubt on the belief that the bigger and stronger must rule the animal kingdom. The females have found a way to control their society without the use of an iron fist, without the need to be physically bigger. And the males, even though they are larger, do not attack and physically beat the females like you see in humans and common chimps.
Although, evidence has shown throughout history that humans have acted similarly to Bonobos. In ancient Greece, bi and homosexuality was everywhere and men had sex with men and women had sex with women for pleasure and pastime. It was not nearly at the scale of the Bonobo, but it was indeed similar. Meaning? Sexuality might not be written in stone. Some may be born more straight, and some more homosexual, but the capability for all humans to be bi-sexual is there somewhere, maybe in our genes or maybe in the way our society views the homosexual. Our currently human society, however, casts a terrible light upon it so there is no room to find if that theory could be true or not.
The only place I can think of that this becomes highly apparent is outside modern society: In our Jail system. All male and all female jails are known for their recreational sex with each other. This does not, however, effect how peaceful the jails themselves are. It is more like the common chimp, who takes a person and makes them their "bitch", leaving more questions open to how close we truly are to our barbaric cousins, or how our chimp cousins may effect how violent some men and women truly are.
And what if human women stopped hating each other? It has been the belief of some for a long time that men are not stopping women from going up the social ladder... it is women themselves. Women are sexist towards other women in human society. They wage war with each other over men, just like male common chimps. They make clichés and decide who is "pretty" and fit to live, pointing out those who are different, those who are "ugly". That is not ANYTHING close to the sisterhood bonds the Bonobo females have with each other. And look ladies, they are at the top of their species because they like each other and learned a long time ago that trying to kill each other over who gets the nicer man just was not going to work. There may be a lesson in that, may not be.
Conclusion:I would like to hear people's thoughts about this, and their answer to the first question:
Does the way we treat sex and our women, homo and heterosexual, effect how we interact socially with each other?
If we stopped hiding sex, homosexual or heterosexual, and let it be a common thing in our society... would things be better? Would we make love, not war... or are we forever trapped by human nature to forever kill each other in our own ignorance and hate? Would we breed out of control... or like the Bonobo, have sex for fun and bonding? If human women had casual sex with each other instead of trying to rip each other’s throats out... would they have a higher social status like the Bonobo? Would they create sisterhoods instead of horrible clichés that name some women as horrible, and others perfect? Would the same apply to men?
That feeling of disgust you feel after reading about homosexual love casually and everywhere? That could be how you are born, or how you were raised. The feeling of disgust could be the one thing holding the human world back from world peace...
Think about it.
Before I get flamed, I am not doing this under any bias. I am doing this under all the facts and theories I could find made by people a hell ova lot smarter than I am. I would wish this thread to not turn into a gay bashing thread, a sexist thread, or any other type of ignorant babble that a topic like this could produce. If you want to flame about how much you hate some of this, either make it a damn good flame or make your own thread. I still wish to hear your thoughts on this... but please keep it respectful or at least as respectful as this thread can get.
Anyway, thank you for posting it, I'll show it to my sociology teacher, should be fun.
1. Does the way we treat sex effect how we interact socially with each other?
yes, of course.
2. Does the way we treat our women, homo and heterosexual effect how we interact with each other?
yes again, but I think for different reasons than the former
The first question has to do with taking one's frustrations or other issues with how one's own life has turned out on others. It's an issue of emotional well-being and how it effects ones treatment of others.
The second question is more a matter of how people treat people that they see as different and/or socially inferior in a lot of cases. It's pretty human to percieve a difference then treat any group not like yourself as subhuman in some way.
One's got an emotional root, the other one a moral or mental/intellectual one. They do relate to one another, but are separate issues.
Fight or flight is a powerful reaction, and the energy has to go somewhere. The bonobos have found a way of rechanneling those energies away from their interpersonal and political interactions, and it does seem like a remarkable achievement that they manage to divert their energy as go almost entirely get rid of all violence in their society.
There are trade offs though. I'm sure we'd have a much more rapid spread of virulent and endemic STD's for starters. Also, the population would shoot way up, and we can't feed the people we have on earth currently.
Likewise, I'm not entirely convinced that humans can "become like the bonobos" any more than we can "become like the chimpanzees." Perhaps a shift one way or the other to some degree is possible.
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