Bonobo

Just heard a radio program on the bonobos, our closest primate relatives along with the chimpanzees.  While the chimps are male-dominated and show organized fighting, infanticide, and even cannibalism, the bonobos are a feminine culture, where fighting is suppressed or offset by frequent sex.  In a ‘bonobo handshake’, females rub clitori together, more or less as a social greeting, the equivalent of offering a cup of tea to an Englishwoman, a gesture of welcome but no big deal..

While no one expects humans to go around having such handshakes on a regular basis, the social promiscuity takes away any motivation for infanticide, and apparently fighting as well.

While I am no subscriber to the Demon Male doctrine, the male principle that has reigned for the last 3500 yrs or so is wearing mighty thin.  We need to study how the bonobos have done this, as this problem of aggression is playing out as I write: the male bee, having ‘stung’ the sea floor, is dealing with the outpouring of poison from the hole.  That need to penetrate everything – we need a different sensibility.

I cannot wait for a more feminine energy to have sway again.  I lived under Margaret Thatcher, but that was less of a victory for the feminine than Barack Obama.  We need the rule of femininity for a while. I have not illusions that it will end any better than androcentric rule, I’m just up for a change.

The bonobos live only in the Congo rainforest, and a few thousand are left, with their habitat shrinking due to war and deforestation, forcing them into contact with the hunters who kill them for ‘bush meat’.  These are animals that routinely share food (and sex) with other groups of bonobos they meet, an animal that can learn sign language if raised with it, and whose social contract is devoid of the fear of each other that pervades the human condition.  We need to learn how they have dispelled that fear.  It has been my conviction since I first learned political theater back in 1968: fear is only enemy worth fighting.

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One Response to “Bonobo”

  1. Sharon Says:

    My Kahuna friend (here he is again) says the same thing; it’s time now for the women. “The men have screwed it up,” he says. He then crosses his fingers in hopes that women do a better job. Of course, the female in both genders is what is out of balance. When the President said (and he didn’t point the information at anything) at his press conference the other day — “Where I come from, in Hawaii, the ocean is sacred” — you could feel the Earth, the ocean and the whole situation of the oil spill let go and release a little bit; release the data that replays and replays, causing, this time, this tragedy. Data, that , when released as such, can bring solutions. And this time, for once and for all, echoing Obama’s words again, it’s time to clean up our act and get industrious with alternative forms of energy. One senses Mother Earth putting her foot down here.

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