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Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Bipedal swagger, Apes and Machiavelli

From Video

Just a quick commentary on the text and subtext of the following humorous TED talk by Frans De Waal from November 2017:

The author of that talk, is a leading scientist in the subject of our Great Ape Cousins. He deftly points out the similarity in behavior between Alpha males among them and among them. But he also draws out points about authoritarianism and human bullying that are worth considering. Like Machiavelli, when folks read his earlier works, they took his works as a primer on successful tyranny and bullying. He notes how Newt Gringrich made his book on Alpha Males required reading among Republicans, to their eternal detriment and shame. But more importantly he talks about how the most successful Alpha males use Strategy, not brute force. This was the same lesson Machiavelli was trying to impart:

Strategy = making alliances, being (or at least seeming to be) kind and generous to the downtrodden. That sometimes two alphas can beat a hated bully alpha. That respecting former alpha's is as much in our nature as bullying. That kindness is as much a feature of Great Ape, and human, nature, as cruelty.”

Anyway, watch the video, it's entertaining and informative.

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