Witness this article from October 10, 1951 which describes an appropriate metaphor for humanity:
Monkeys In Death Fight
SEATTLE, Oct. 9 (A.A.P.). — The freighter J.L. Luckenbach has arrived in Longview, Washington, from the Philippines, with a deckload of monkeys which 109 of their mates in cage battles on the high seas.
Captain J.W. Maitland said yesterday that the fighting started two days out of Cebu, where the vessel took on a shipment of 840 monkeys for the National Foundation for Infant Paralysis.
“We could not do anything to stop them,” he said. “They were almost human — picking on individuals they did not like.”
The fighting was ferocious, but was carried on with very little noise day and night.
It began, he said, after the monkeys had recovered from the first excitement of traveling. About 10 were placed in each case.
“They just seemed to like to fight,” he said. “They’d kick each other and then go into action after seeing blood. Some of the stronger monkeys tore arms off their cage mates and beat them with their own limbs.”
In the same way, humanity has confined itself within a system that domesticates it and forces its members into close proximity to one another. The first excitement of modernity is now gone, and the caged beasts have begun to attack, tearing each other apart from anger, boredom and possibly simply frustration.
This is reminiscent of mouse utopia, a situation in which proximity and too little purpose drove mice into a population bloom and crash.
Four healthy breeding pairs of mice were allowed to reproduce freely in a ‘utopian’ environment with ample food and water, no predators, no disease, comfortable temperature — a near as possible ideal conditions and space.
While being caged on a deck may not be ideal, the monkeys were not suffering from lack of nutrition. However, like the mice, they might have found an existential void: there was nothing to do except go through the process and wait, similar to modern Control-oriented bureaucracy.
Under such conditions, the ancient evil of hubris is revealed. People desire power for its own sake, like the One True Ring in Tolkien or the white whale in Melville; they wish to have power over life so they have power over death and the threat of being forced to adapt, or change themselves and their intent to recognize truths in reality that are greater than the individual. The ego is a tyrant.
Even in creatures as small as monkeys and mice, this battle for the soul plays out, usually ending in tragedy and self-consumption, when they are subjected to conditions like those of modern society.
Tags: humanity, modern society, monkeys, mouse utopia