I saw this documentary about chimpanzees in a physical anthropology class once. I should have put it together then, but I didn’t.
This group of primates was lead by a two-year old male. He wasn’t bigger, faster, stronger, or smarter even. He just found a rusty old oil drum in the woods one day and hit that thing with a big stick. All the other monkeys were scared of the noise, and that guy became king of the jungle. He’d just carry that thing around like, “do what I tell you or I’ll hit this freakin drum with my tree branch.”
So, I’m walking with my puppy the other day, and I see the flash of a traffic signal camera as someone fails to catch a yellow light. I start thinking to myself, “look at all this shit we’ve been able to do with bipedalism and opposable thumbs. Walls, fences, buildings, roads, traffic signals with cameras attached to them. This is a really fucked up natural environment for a primate.”
I put it all together right then. That traffic camera, that yellow light, that road with dotted lines on it… it’s all a rusty old oil drum and a big stick. And we’re all just monkeys, doing what that chimpanzee tells us to do because we’re scared of the loud noises he makes.
— Lee Stone —