Archive for the ‘The Monkey Agenda’ Category

Who-Whom

I was reading the other day about the phenomenon of the “bow shock wave”: that is, when the bossman enters the room, the way his spear-carriers deploy so as to make his entrance both secure and highly visible. It is an ancient power technique, and I found myself wondering whether new gophers were explicitly taught […]

Posted on May 21, 2009 at 09:24 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: MONKEY BUSINESS, The Monkey Agenda

Noble Chimps

The primatologist Frans de Waal asserts that forest chimpanzees are just as intelligent as humans in social interaction. As with us, leaders generally lead by putting on a big show and engaging in a lot of intrigue; but the scope for variation is vast. One troop he observed had two different leaders, a laid-back male […]

Posted on June 1, 2009 at 09:08 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: MONKEY BUSINESS, The Monkey Agenda

The Monkeys And The Meat

In place of the old Economics, which was based on mythical Rational Consumers, we need a new dismal science in which social organisation and economic behaviour are reducible to the outcome of repeat games played between suites of reproductive strategies. If we set the victory condition of the game series arbitrarily as the greatest number […]

Posted on June 3, 2009 at 10:18 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: MONKEY BUSINESS, The Monkey Agenda

Sailing Over The Edge Of The Earth

“Population-typical behaviour is usually fit behaviour,” say the evolutionary biologists. By this they mean that the present typical behaviour of an animal population has generally evolved by natural selection, in that genes for deviant behaviour have already been punished by extinction. It is therefore unlikely that any gross deviation on the part of any individual […]

Posted on June 4, 2009 at 12:02 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: MONKEY BUSINESS, The Monkey Agenda

Economic Man Can Be Dissed

Some Harvard scientists tested patience (that is, the capacity to defer gratification) in chimpanzees. They turned out to be four times more likely to wait for the bigger payoff (that is, four times more patient, or perhaps, in Weberian terms, four times more Protestant-capitalist). Another surprise was that chimpanzees were hopeless at the Ultimatum Game, […]

Posted on June 6, 2009 at 11:06 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: MONKEY BUSINESS, The Monkey Agenda

Dissing Our Hindbrains

Why do people get so irritable in check-outs and at shop counters? Answer: mixed messages. Since we do not demonstrate relative status by mounting one another in public like the forest chimps, we have developed other markers for social power. I show that I am a bigger beast than you in three ways: by renaming […]

Posted on June 16, 2009 at 09:14 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: MONKEY BUSINESS, The Monkey Agenda

The Root Of All Evil

For thousands of years those of a moralistic and idealistic persuasion have denounced “materialism”. Those of an acquisitive or cynical persuasion have retorted that “materialism” can invariably be translated as “someone else’s money”, and asked how one is expected to be hostile to the wherewithal of life. After all, the fowls of the air, who […]

Posted on June 17, 2009 at 11:00 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: MONKEY BUSINESS, The Monkey Agenda

Can I Push In Line?

If there isn’t one already, I should like to see a discipline of queue-o-nomics. A priori, one might expect to see queue discipline correlated with prosperity. Where people are hard up, they would push and shove and so forth; when people have enough, they ought to be able to take the relaxed view. But this […]

Posted on June 20, 2009 at 20:27 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: MONKEY BUSINESS, The Monkey Agenda

The Spinning Animal

H. G. Wells thought that education would save the world. Not a chance. The main function of education is to supply impressive vocabulary for our primate hierarchy games. In its concern with knowing if and how we can obtain true knowledge of the world, philosophy makes the fatal assumption that the human mind is some […]

Posted on June 29, 2009 at 08:13 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · One Comment
In: MONKEY BUSINESS, The Monkey Agenda

Three Labels For The Same Trapdoor

There are three discourses that at first sight appear to be about the world, but are actually a pure zero-sum game of social hierarchy. Whoever tries to talk about the ostensive subject, has already lost. This is because the real purpose is for the player in the know to stigmatise the naïve individual who is […]

Posted on June 30, 2009 at 11:46 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: MONKEY BUSINESS, The Monkey Agenda