‘FREEDOM’—Chapter 5 The Origin of Humans’ Moral Instinctive Self or Soul
Chapter 5:8 The emergence of consciousness assisted the love-indoctrination process by allowing the sexual selection of integrativeness
To return now to the description of the biological origins of our moral instincts.
Given selfish competition for mating opportunities, particularly amongst males, is such a powerful force, the gender-role reversal apparent in bonobo society—which, as described, scientists are now beginning to confirm also occurred in the society of our ape ancestors—was an absolutely extraordinary achievement. In fact, this reversal from patriarchy to matriarchy is so extraordinary an achievement—especially the speed of its development, occurring over only some 1 million years since bonobos split with chimpanzees, which is very fast in evolutionary terms—that it must have been facilitated by some special factor. And indeed it was—it was helped along by the emergence of the most powerful tool of all for developing the order of matter on Earth: the conscious mind.
As mentioned earlier (in ch. 5:4), the reality is that developing love-indoctrination to the point where love or unconditional selflessness becomes instinctive is a very precarious process, akin to trying to swim upstream to an island in a fast flowing river—any difficulty or breakdown in the nurturing process and you are invariably ‘swept back downstream’ once more to the old competitive, selfish, each-for-his-own, opportunistic, ‘animal condition’ situation. So while love-indoctrination could allow unconditionally selfless behaviour to emerge in our ape ancestors, it was a very difficult, and also a very slow, process to both get underway and maintain. What the situation needed was a mechanism to assist, speed up and help maintain love-indoctrination’s development of integration—assistance that came from the emergence of a conscious mind that enabled the conscious self-selection of integrativeness, especially the female sexual or mate selection of less competitive and aggressive, more integrative males with whom to mate. (As the title of his 1871 book, The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex, intimates, Charles Darwin actually suggested the role mate selection could have played in our human development, although he didn’t understand its significance in the context of the love-indoctrination process.) Again, in 1983 I predicted that there must have been female sexual selection against male aggression in our ape ancestors as part of the love-indoctrination process—a prediction that the aforementioned reports of reduced canine size now confirm.
While the explanation for why humans became conscious while other animals haven’t is the subject of chapter 7, an extremely brief account of it should be given here to support the forthcoming explanation as to how this conscious self-selection of integrativeness developed. In short, it was the love-indoctrination process that enabled consciousness to emerge, for while a mother’s nurturing of her infants enabled unconditionally selfless behaviour to develop and, over time, become instinctual, this training in unconditional selflessness produced a further accidental by-product: it produced brains trained to think selflessly and thus truthfully and thus effectively and thus become ‘conscious’ of the relationship of events that occur through time. Other species that can’t develop love-indoctrination and thus unconditional selflessness can’t think truthfully and thus effectively because unconditional selflessness, which they are unable to develop an orientation to, is the truthful theme or meaning of existence. As has been pointed out in each of the first four chapters in this book, you can’t hope to think truthfully and thus effectively if you’re lying. Species whose behaviour is governed by genetic selfishness have emerging minds that are, in effect, dishonestly orientated; their minds are alienated from the truth—they won’t, in fact, allow selflessness-recognising, truthful and thus effective thinking—which means they can never make sense of experience and thus never become conscious. What all this means is that the human mind has been alienated from the truth twice in its history: firstly, in our pre-love-indoctrinated past when, like all other animals (except now for bonobos, who have almost completed the process of love-indoctrination), our brains were blocked from thinking truthfully; and, secondly, in our present state, where our minds have been alienated from the truth as a result of the human condition. Again, I emphasise that this is an extremely brief account of how love-indoctrination liberated consciousness, the complete explanation of which appears in chapter 7.
(Incidentally, people wonder how we can know that other species, like dolphins and elephants, aren’t fully conscious like humans are. As just explained, developing consciousness depends on overcoming the competitive, selfish ‘animal condition’ and becoming orientated to selflessness, so if you are still preoccupied with selfish, competitive dominance, as other animals are, you can’t become fully conscious. Indeed, as all good animal trainers know, the key to managing and training non-human animal species, of both sexes, is to recognise that their great preoccupation is in achieving dominance whenever possible. Humans’ deepest preoccupation, however, is with giving and receiving selfless love, a preoccupation we mistakenly project onto other animals, especially our pets, resulting in all the problems we have in managing them effectively. Animals are still victims of the ‘animal condition’, and so controlling them requires asserting dominance. If other animal species had achieved full consciousness they would not still be stranded in a world dictated by the rules of a selfish, competitive dominance hierarchy; they would be as preoccupied by giving and receiving love as we humans fundamentally are.)
And so it was an emerging conscious intellect that the love-indoctrination process had liberated that then began to support the development of selflessness and thus help maintain and speed up that all-precious process—because consciousness made it possible to recognise the importance of selflessness and, having realised that, begin to actively select for it. Unconditional selflessness or love is the theme of existence, so to not be able to recognise that, as species that haven’t been able to develop love-indoctrination and become conscious haven’t been able to do, means they are, in effect, ‘locked out’ of the ideal state—that being the essential agony of the ‘animal condition’. We can, therefore, appreciate how immensely relieving it must be to be liberated from that condition. For our ape ancestors to effectively be set free from the tyranny of the selfish gene-based natural selection process must have felt like heaven had opened up! Love could finally be indulged in! They had finally escaped the stupor of the animal condition and the opportunity and desire to then develop love, select for gentleness and kindness, would have been immense. (As will be explained in chapter 9, a similar opportunity to be transformed by being released into a world of love appears for humans now that we can finally escape the agony of the human condition!) It follows then that bonobos, who, as mentioned, have been able to rein in divisive aggressive behaviour, bring it under control, and develop love and achieve the extraordinary transition from patriarchy to matriarchy, have largely escaped the stupor of the animal condition and as a result are the most conscious, the most intelligent of all animals next to humans—as these quotes evidence: ‘Everything seems to indicate that Chim [a bonobo] was extremely intelligent. His surprising alertness and interest in things about him bore fruit in action, for he was constantly imitating the acts of his human companions and testing all objects. He rapidly profited by his experiences…Never have I seen man or beast take greater satisfaction in showing off than did little Chim. The contrast in intellectual qualities between him and his female companion [a chimpanzee] may briefly, if not entirely adequately, be described by the term “opposites”’ [p.248 of 278] …Prince Chim seems to have been an intellectual genius. His remarkable alertness and quickness to learn were associated with a cheerful and happy disposition which made him the favorite of all [p.255] …Chim also was even-tempered and good-natured, always ready for a romp; he seldom resented by word or deed unintentional rough handling or mishap. Never was he known to exhibit jealousy…[By contrast] Panzee [the chimpanzee] could not be trusted in critical situations. Her resentment and anger were readily aroused and she was quick to give them expression with hands and teeth [p.246]’ (Robert M. Yerkes, Almost Human, 1925).
The pre-eminent ape language researcher Sue Savage-Rumbaugh reinforced this view when she wrote that ‘Individuals who have had first hand interactive experience with both Pan troglodytes [chimpanzees] and Pan paniscus (Yerkes and Learned, 1925; Tratz and Heck, 1954) have been left with the distinct impression that pygmy chimpanzees [bonobos] are considerably more intelligent and more sociable than Pan troglodytes’ and that ‘Each individual who has worked with both species in our [ape language research] lab is repeatedly surprised by their [bonobos’] communicative behavior and their comprehension of complex social contexts that are vastly different from anything seen among Pan troglodytes’ (‘Pan paniscus and Pan troglodytes: Contrasts in Preverbal Communicative Competence’, The Pygmy Chimpanzee, ed. Randall Susman, 1984, pp.396, 411-412 of 435). The bonobo that Savage-Rumbaugh has worked most with is Kanzi, and you can see in the photo of Kanzi that was included a few pages back something of this ‘intelligent’ ‘comprehension’ in his eyes. As the filmmaker Alain Tixier said about the intelligent gaze of bonobos, ‘They’re the only animals capable of creating the same “gaze” as a human. When you look at a bonobo you’re taken aback because you can see behind the eyes it’s not just curiosity, it’s understanding. We see human beings in the eyes of the bonobo.’
The following extract from an article titled ‘The Bonobo: “Newest” apes are teaching us about ourselves’ also illustrates just how extraordinarily aware, cooperative, empathetic and intelligent bonobos are: ‘Barbara Bell…a keeper/trainer for the Milwaukee County Zoo…works daily with the largest group of bonobos…in North America…“It’s like being with 9 two and a half year olds all day,” she [Bell] says. “They’re extremely intelligent…They understand a couple of hundred words,” she says. “They listen very attentively. And they’ll often eavesdrop. If I’m discussing with the staff which bonobos (to) separate into smaller groups, if they like the plan, they’ll line up in the order they just heard discussed. If they don’t like the plan, they’ll just line up the way they want.” “They also love to tease me a lot,” she says. “Like during training, if I were to ask for their left foot, they’ll give me their right, and laugh and laugh and laugh. But what really blows me away is their ability to understand a situation entirely.” For example, Kitty, the eldest female, is completely blind and hard of hearing. Sometimes she gets lost and confused. “They’ll just pick her up and take her to where she needs to go,” says Bell. “That’s pretty amazing. Adults demonstrate tremendous compassion for each other”’ (Chicago Tribune, 11 Jun. 1998). More recently, the bonobo researcher Vanessa Woods described bonobos as ‘the most intelligent of all the great apes’ (‘Bonobos – our better nature’, , 21 Jun. 2010; see <>).
I should say that while some scientists suggest that chimpanzees are as intelligent as bonobos, there is an undeniable freedom in the mind of a bonobo that is apparent in their capacity to be interested in the world around them, and in their empathy, compassion and even humour, as evidenced by the quotes above. While it is true that chimpanzees show a mental dexterity, it is a limited, opportunistic, self-interested mental focus (similar to a very primitive version of the alienated, deadened, self-centred, narrowly-focused minds of humans today), not the broad, free, open, curious, aware, all-sensitive, loving, truly thoughtful, conscious mind that bonobos have. It does have to be remembered that mechanistic science doesn’t even have an interpretation of the word ‘love’, so we can’t expect it to be capable of being interested in, or of acknowledging, the kind of open, curious, aware, all-sensitive and loving conscious mind that bonobos have. Indeed, the extraordinarily cooperative, unconditionally loving and truly aware characteristics of bonobos has actually motivated human-condition-avoiding, alienated mechanistic scientists to find ways to demote them at every opportunity, just as they found ways to demote the work of primatologist Dian Fossey, Sue Savage-Rumbaugh and my own work—issues that will be described in chapter 6.
In terms then of being able to consciously favour more selfless and integrative behaviour in order to achieve greater overall selflessness and, with it, integration, the fastest, most effective way of doing so would be through selecting mates who are more selfless because that way you are eliminating selfishness at the fundamental level of your species’ genetic make-up—which, as mentioned in pars 407-408, is what scientists studying the fossil record are now inferring took place: ‘sexual selection played a primary role in canine reduction’. Further, since it is the males who are most preoccupied with competing for mating opportunities, it is the females who are in the best position to implement this selection of less aggressive individuals with whom to mate. Significantly, primatologists—despite not recognising the process of love-indoctrination (and, therefore, the different degrees of success various primate species have had in developing it), or that love-indoctrination liberated consciousness, which in turn allowed self-selection of integrativeness, especially through mate selection—have verified this female-driven selection of cooperative integrativeness amongst primates (the underlinings in this and some subsequent quotes are my emphasis): ‘Male [baboon] newcomers also were generally the most dominant while long-term residents were the most subordinate, the most easily cowed. Yet in winning the receptive females and special foods, the subordinate, unaggressive veterans got more than their fair share, the newcomers next to nothing. Socially inept and often aggressive, newcomers made a poor job of initiating friendships’ (Shirley Strum, ‘The “Gang” Moves to a Strange New Land’, National Geographic, Nov. 1987); and ‘The high frequencies of intersexual association, grooming, and food sharing together with the low level of male-female aggression in pygmy chimpanzees [bonobos] may be a factor in male reproductive strategies. Tutin (1980) has demonstrated that a high degree of reproductive success for male common chimpanzees was correlated with male-female affiliative behaviours [again, ‘affiliative’ being an evasive, denial-complying, mechanistic term meaning friendly/cohesive/social/loving/integrative]. These included males spending more time with estrous females, grooming them, and sharing food with them’ (Alison & Noel Badrian, ‘Social Organization of Pan paniscus in the Lomako Forest, Zaire’; The Pygmy Chimpanzee, ed. Randall Susman, 1984, p.343 of 435).
While the observations made in the popular documentary series Orangutan Island (about the rehabilitation of a group of juvenile orphaned orangutans on a protected island in Borneo) probably can’t be considered a product of rigorous scientific research, they do provide revealing footage and interesting commentary about orangutan behaviour. In one episode, an orangutan named Daisy, who is the dominant young female in the group (in the series she is described as ‘Sheriff Daisy’), is seen strongly reprimanding another young female, Nadi, who, according to the narrator, repeatedly behaves selfishly: ‘As usual, Daisy is keeping a watchful eye on all the action and she spies someone who is not playing fair—it’s repeat offender Nadi who is refusing to share [a jackfruit]…Daisy decides it’s her duty to step in…Daisy is refusing to allow Nadi anywhere near the eating platform because Nadi’s been upsetting the order in this peaceful community…Daisy is making Nadi pay for her behaviour, so to avoid starving Nadi has no choice but to leave’ (Animal Planet, episode ‘House of Cards’, 2007). Whether or not it is an accurate interpretation of events, the footage appears to fully support the commentary—a female is seen to be maintaining ‘the order in this peaceful community’. (Further illustrations of strong-willed, female primates insisting on integrative behaviour will be provided shortly in ch. 5:11.)