Really interesting talk about what makes us "uniquier" from other animals, on the behavior, psychology and culture aspect as a specie.
I do agree that we have an immense OPPORTUNITY as educated, empowered primates. The talk is addressed at Stanford University students on the day of their graduation : I understand and highly value the encouraging content of the message. Professor Robert Sapolsky explains how privileged and responsible the soon-to-be-graduated audience members should feel, and the immense RESPONSIBILITY they will have in the real world. In a sense it is very good to make young women and men responsible and ambitious, but on the other hand, it does glorifies the audience more than it does give it direction ... and that's the greatest thing about this talk.
I highlighted the words "Opportunity" and "Responsibility" as a simple equation. As a matter of fact, we have the opportunity to be in charge of our lives and others, educated or not, and we all do in different ways BUT the grand ambition that generations feed upon generations is not necessarily healthy : as if we had to force-feed-forward, an ideology of performance and sacrifice...
What's even greater in this talk is that the performance we are encouraged to perform is the heroic figure of the PARADOX BELIEVER, may it be Jesus or this nun working in the death row ... Volunteer martyrs? Are these our moral models? Acting incoherently and negating our animal tit for tap instinct would be the ultimate mark of superior intelligence, what makes us beyond "uniquier", but "uniquierest"? Why do we want to pretend to be better than all other animals? Where does this extravagant arrogance leads humans? What do humans do to the other species? To the earth? What if we were thinking a bit more like animals, maybe we wouldn't destroy our world as much as we do as "super intelligent" specie? Isn't there anything to learn from animals but that we are superior and responsible for everything?
This is why I think this talk is greatly wrong.
This talk tells you "you have immense power, so be responsible and powerful" but it does pose the figure of the paradox believer as the role model, when in the world we have so many NON-PARADOXAL problems that need to be addressed humbly, with common sense and creativity. As a scientist specialized in primate behavior (logic development of social interactions), he could propose an other approach to problem-solving but the paradox that usually leads to immobility or to the dichotomic self-destructive psychologic profile (to cite the drone pilot in Texas). We dont need no more paradox heroes, we need coherent positive models, no more martyrs please.
What makes us different is not what makes us "uniquier" or superior Professor Sapolsky. That's terribly wrong and non scientific.
I am very sorry but we are not "uniquier" or "superior", we are different, and we should concentrate our efforts on observing and studying other species and learn what good they do to themselves and the environment, and try to implement these methods in our own lifes.
I am not claiming we should go back to being monkeys, but I think our attitude toward the world must change so radically we might loose a lot of human ego, as a specie, as individuals. It is another ego we would gain, the ego of being part of this world, truly, among the other animals. This new ego we should desire is what I wish you were exploring professor Sapolsky. And this time, it is not so much about being superiorly intelligent, it is about being good, in a true sense.
Cesar Harada, Paris, France. 2010/01/14
((tag : Ideology, Philosophy, Politics, TED, Monkeys, Animals, Youtube))