동국포스트

Thursday,August 22,2019
Last Update : 3:56 PM ET
상단여백
HOME Culture Entertainment
Chimps and Men Don't Have Tails

  "When King Yeroen was isolated from Arnehm society, Luit held hands with Nikkie to overcome the Arnehm. During the conflict between Yeroen and Luit, Nikkie acted as if he were on no one's side. But when he realized Yeroen was no longer powerful, he cheered Luit tacitly."
  Where do you think Arnehm is located? Somewhere in Africa? And what do you think it is? A small village?
  I will tell you where it is located and what it is. It's not a small village and it's not in Africa. The Arnehm is a zoo in the Netherlands. And Yeroen, Luit, and Nikkie are chimpanzees.
  Did you know that chimpanzees have social interactions? It is widely known that chimpanzees have intelligence like humans. But many people don't know they have social interactions, too.
  Frans de Waal, a Dutch ethologist, has focused on the social mechanisms of chimpanzees. He had observed chimpanzees during 1975-1979 in the Arnehm Zoo, and published his observations as a book, Chimpanzee Politics.
  The first edition was released in 1982, and the revised edition was printed in 1998. The Korean translation was issued last April.
  The author says, "The history of politics is longer than the history of humans." He found out that chimps have coalitions, isolated tactics, rational strategies, and sexual privileges through power takeovers. Similar phenomenon can be seen in the social mechanisms of mankind, especially in politics. The writer insists that politics originated from apes.
  The book explains the political movement and social interactions of the chimps in the Arnehm Zoo. Yeroen is a chimpanzee who ruled the Arnehm society for a fairly long term. But a young powerful chimp, Luit, wanted to takeover his position.
  In order to conquer the Arnehm, Luit organized a group of relatively young chimpanzees to block all approaches to Yeroen. Whoever tried to greet the old ruler, would be attack violently by Luit's group. That is how Yeroen got isolated from the chimp society. He finally bowed his head to Luit without offering any serious resistance.
  After grasping power, Luit formed coalitions with other influential male chimpanzees to keep the social order. To win popularity, he carried out a policy of protecting female chimpanzees.
  Accordingly, we can recognize the common features between the society of chimpanzees and the society of nations. When we take a look at the Cold War in the middle of twentieth century, Luit can be spoken figuratively as the U.S.A. and Yeroen as the U.S.S.R.. During the Cold War, the U.S.A. took used "isolated tactics" to triumph over the U.S.S.R..
  Before the war, both countries were equally competitive. Actually, Moscow was superior to the U.S.A.. However, Washington allied itself with many countries and disconnected all channels to Moscow. Therefore, Moscow was segregated politically and economically and simply collapsed without severe military confrontation.
  After the collapse, Washington started to form several new unions while consolidating the existing unions. Moreover, it carried out a human rights policy and regarded itself as the world's police state. Undoubtedly, Washington intends to keep its position and organize further international unions.
  How can we relate mankind and chimps? We think humans are more reasonable and moral than chimps, and are also able to hide their radical minds and political intentions, but chimps can't. But in accordance with the book, chimps' political activities like coalitions, isolated tactics, manipulation, and rational strategies are almost the same as humans. Therefore both races are under the control of the law of power, which can be related.
  Aristotle (BC 384∼BC 322) said that man is by nature a "political animal." Frans de Waal also states the frequent use of "politics" by humans from early school days and later among nations. No one can deny the invisible political hands.
  The Prince, written by Machiavelli in 1513, is very similar to Chimpanzee Politics if we replace the characters' names. Machiavelli describes the naked political manipulations among Italian monarchs, the Pope, and influential families in the same way that Frans de Waal describes the chimps' society.
  Let's go back to the Arnehm Zoo. The new ruler Luit seemed to be settled for a while, but it did not last long. Nikkie, who was on Luit's side, betrayed Luit and confederated with Yeroen to take power. So Luit's tenure lasted for only 10 months.
  Chimpanzee Politics gives us a chance to think about the world's policeman as he bullies his way to world power.

Kim Sung-ho  kaedoly@dongguk.edu

<저작권자 © 동국포스트, 무단 전재 및 재배포 금지>

icon인기기사
기사 댓글 0
전체보기
첫번째 댓글을 남겨주세요.
여백
여백
여백
Back to Top