Killer Apes and Global Ecocide

Photograph Source: NH53 – CC BY 2.0

About four million years ago, we departed from our closest ancestors – the chimpanzees. This allowed us to become what we are today: human beings, the upright walking homo erectus and homo faber – the toolmaking hominids.

Crucially, this also means that we are descendants of the chimpanzees and not of the neighbors next door – the bonobos, who were mistakenly also known as pygmy chimpanzees, once. Essentially, our chimpanzee ancestors are very different from the bonobos who have never been just a little version of chimpanzees.

Our departure from chimpanzees marks not only the fact that we are part of the Warrior Apes, it also marks us out as being closely linked to the wrong crowd – the chimpanzees, and not the bonobos. While both appear similar in look and size, chimpanzees and bonobos are very different when it comes to the way they live.

To put decades of research on primates into a few words: bonobos make love – chimpanzees kill. The one has sex– the other one punches, murders, rapes, kills, and annihilates. Well, chimpanzees do have sex too, but not on the scale that bonobos do.

Very unfortunately, we humans tend to be a bit more on the chimpanzee end when it comes to sex, and not the bonobo’s end of things. In very short terms, with the chimpanzees, it is Herbert Spencer’s survival of the fittest. Whilst with the bonobos, it is the survival of the friendliest.

Not surprisingly, neither in the wild nor in captivity, has the killing of another ape ever been recorded among bonobos. What has been recorded is plenty of sex. Among the killer ape – the chimpanzees – plenty of aggression, violence, brutality, cannibalism, killings, and murder continues to be documented. This not only shaped us, it continues to shape our behavior. It created the demonic male.

To secure domination, The Demonic Male as Dale Peterson and Richard Wrangham call it, had to suppress a little bit of bonobo in us. This is what Sigmund Freud termed as the sex drive. And this particularly in women who, despite of what we were told, do have an – at times, very powerful – sex drive. Worse for the demonic male is the fact that we, unlike most animals, can have sex all year long. We do not have mating seasons. As a consequence, sex needs to be suppressed all year long.

As a consequence and perhaps also to maintain male domination, the female sex drive has to be suppressed, every day, continuously. Largely, the demonic male does this in two ways – physical (FGM) or social. For the latter, we (as in “male”) have established a sizable apparatus telling everyone “sex is bad”, from schools to the media, from parents to religion.

Evil heretics might even claim that it is no accident that one of our most revered anti-sex institutions – the Catholic Church – is also one of those institutions that has created a sheer never ending assortment of sex scandals. Even more evil, people might claim that Islam, etc. isn’t any better.

With the decline of religion and the rise of Enlightenment in Western countries, mass media took over. Just ask yourself: “when was the last time you read a positive article about sex in your local newspaper?” Instead of that, the demonic male has overwhelmingly associated sex with negative images such as, for example, rape and gang rape, pedophilia and child molesting, sexual assault and sex crimes, sexting and revenge porn, offensive sexual advances and sexual harassment.

Since we did not depart from the bonobos and instead became the Fatal Species linked to chimpanzees, the pages of our evening news are filled with sex crimes – almost every day. And it works. Worse, it is highly successful in keeping us in line with the chimpanzees and away from being a bit more like the sex-loving bonobos.

Meanwhile, the fatal species has internalized the “sex is bad” message being blasted onto us every day. In most of today’s societies, FGM is no longer needed! Foucault was right in his masterpiece Discipline and Punishment: we have been sufficiently disciplined.

Once people had internalized the discipline system, public beheadings became unnecessary. Similarly, once women have internalized that sex is bad and dirty, that they need so save themselves, that virginity is a virtue, that they need to be pure, etc., FGM was no longer needed. As a result, sex is suppressed, the established (male) order is secured, and the fatal species carries on.

Since homo sapiens did not depart from the female-guided bonobos but from the male-dominated chimpanzees, our societies tend to be run by The Demonic Male. Ever since this occurred, it has had – and worse: it continues to have – very dire consequences.

During the last four million years, The Demonic Male has put human society on a devastating trajectory. Most recently, the fatal species has managed to put even our planet on an eco-suicidal path potentially ending with Dante’s Inferno. Hell – or worse: Koyaanisqatsi – comes into being through the incineration of earth.

Much of this began when genus homo mastered the use of fire discovering not just light and heat but also discovering a new monstrous force. It was a time when we survived in groups around the fireplace living up to Aristotle’s dictum of the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Our unity and our ability to cooperate proved to be our strengths. Yet, it came with very serious side effects.

Soon, these male rulers were supported by casts of priests who, among other things, were able to either forecast or pretend to be able to forecast weather changes, foretelling floods and famines, and thereby exercising power over food production. With that they gained enormous powers over a local population.

This newly-found ability and power of the ruling elite was further enhanced, as we know today, through forecasting droughts that impacted on food production. Today, the link between climate change, prolonged droughts and the collapse of entire social structures is well documented.

We know that overpopulation, deforestation, resource depletion, tribal conquest, and warfare had reinforced social collapse in many societies. Yet, what occurred on a smaller scale since the time we discovered fire and even more so since we learned to master agriculture, is now transported to a global scale potentially leading to ecocide.

Of course, the invention of currency made things worse. It did not just replace the previous barter economy, it became highly useful when conquering other countries, when looting, when subduing populations, and when camouflaging plundering as a war that brings democracy, as it has been called not too long ago.

This is yet another way in which we – the demonic male – differs from animals. Some animals kill for food. Some may even play with their victims, such as when orcas, apparently “play” with pup seals to train their hunting skills. And, we all know that cats play with mice and foxes play with chicken.

Yet, no animal, not even our closest ancestors, the chimpanzees, go to the ostentatious length when it comes to killing as we, humans do. They don’t, but we do torture our victims often relentlessly. Next to that, we also engage in mass killings to a gigantic degree.

Human beings engage in grotesque forms of torture, serial murder, genocide, and ecocide. This is a uniquely human – some might say: inhuman – phenomenon. It ranges from tribal massacres, such as of the Tutsi by the Hutu in Rwanda, to the industrial-scale death camps symbolized by Auschwitz.

Recognizing their very own mortality, perhaps subconsciously, we, humans try to triumph over death by perpetrating death. Since millennia, we have been constructing massive colossi for ritual mass sacrifices and cruel but entertaining gladiator games. War, cruelty, conquer, the rape of women, the oppression of others, death, killing, and gladiator games promised glory in the afterlife. The fascination with brutality, killing, and death has not ceased since 2000 years as films like the Gladiator show.

In between the Roman circus and Russell Crowe’s Gladiator movie came things like the blood draining rituals by the Maya and Aztecs, European witch hunts, the gas chambers of Auschwitz, the Indonesian Mass Killings, the USA’s My Lai, and, more recently, Abu Ghraib.

With the rise in technology, we are now able to finish off the world by engineering greenhouse gasses that poison the atmosphere rendering our earth – uninhabitable. This generational sacrifice manifests the dark demons that will always lurk inside our pathological human psyche. It does so since roughly four million years and it will continue to do so until the bitter end.

Unlike animals, the fatal species has invented and carried out slavery. Semi-officially, we have been made to associate slavery with 18th century British ships sailing successfully eliminating the fact that there are about 40 million slaves today. The demonic male has always preyed on indigenous people to force them into labor and sex slavery. Yet, women have been exposed to femicide on grandiose scale with about 40,000 to 50,000 women hanged, tortured, drowned, and burned as witches between 1560 and 1630 alone. It even reached the USA.

Yet, forces unleashed against women, the innocent, and the weak underpin many of the principal institutions of our society. Historically, this meant the systematic indoctrination of entire generations with genocidal ideologies from religious madness to the Hitler Youth, to Rwanada to Srebrenica. The fatal species will carry on. Perhaps, the great Hungarian British Jewish author Arthur Koestler was not far off when saying in Janus: A Summing Up,

the human brain has developed a terrible biological  flaw, such that it is working now against the survival of the race. Something has “snapped” inside the brain. It is no longer necessarily a function which will lead us to a better world, but something demonic, possessed, perhaps even evil.

The aforementioned Sigmund Freud called it the Todestrieb or death drive. Perhaps those death-seeking demons are buried not as deep inside our so-called “pure hearts”, as we have been commonly made to believe. Inside us still awaits the dark monster of destruction and total annihilation. Apply this to global warming, and perhaps the man who replaced Isaac Newton and perhaps even Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking, wasn’t far off when saying,

… our physical resources are being drained at an alarming rate … we have given our planet the disastrous gift of climate change, rising temperatures, the reducing of polar ice caps, deforestation and decimation of animal species.

From the murder of infants by rival warlords or members of their own chimpanzee tribe, to the ritualized and religious slaughtering of children on Aztec altars, to the sacrifice of millions of men in our World Wars, too many of our young follow our great leaders. Today, we follow our great leaders – Trump, Modi, Boris Johnson, Bolsonaro, Duterte, etc. – into our global ecocide.

We follow them just as we followed the lead chimpanzee when attacking another tribe more than four million years ago. Today, we follow those leaders blindly just as we follow our priests promoting bigotry and xenophobia.

As always, there are plenty of those who are hijacking the image of Christ – a messenger of justice – to promote the self-fulfilling Armageddon, singing Hallelujah, the rapture is coming – the looming environmental ecocidespiced up by the 6th mass extinction, is well on the way.

In his masterpiece, From Warlike Primates to Planetary Mass Extinction, Andrew Y. Glikson writes, “where the Nazis constructed gas chambers for millions of victims, the climate calamity is threatening to turn the planet into an open gas oven.” Of course, Nazi gas chambers are not like global warming.

The purpose of Auschwitz was to kill people. Global warming’s purpose is not to kill people – yet, global warmingwill lead to mass deaths. However, today’s corporate mass media and plenty of politicians deny it all or – even better – rock up the recent greenwashing festival of the GOP 26 blah-blah-blah-PR-fest.

Yet, all too many victims of global warming are kept in the belief that all is fine. German super Nazi Joseph Goebbels would agree. He once said, “if you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it”. Our present day lies about global warming can be maintained only as long as our oligopoly of global corporate mass media can shield and manipulate the people from the political, economical, and environmental consequences of the lie.

Based on a global interest symbiosis among a few key players such as, for example, corporations that produce the stuff for our rampant and environmentally devastating overconsumption, the profit interest of the corporate mass media, and the interest of compliant politicians bought and sold on the open lobby market, our big enough lies are maintained – even about global warming.

GOP 26 was – again – not more than the repeated re-arranging of the deckchairs on the Titanic on its way to mass death. Yet, even the horrors of the Titanic have been converted into a romantic hallucination camouflaging yet another profit-driven mass death.

It may well be as Shakespeare once wrote, “hell is empty and all the devils are here.” Just that today’s devils are made to appear as the good-hearted CEO or compassionate politician. In cahoots with corporate mass media and today’s online platforms, the good-doing elite camouflages its inherent insistence on a winner-takes-allmentality.

It has an open-ended craving for status symbols and the allure of power, money, corporate shares, multiple houses, and even an island ownership, gold, and diamonds. The latter two symbolize the misery, pain, and death suffered in distant diamond and gold mines and where civilizations are destroyed.

Meanwhile, buried not too deeply inside the psyche of the fatal species lurks the demons easy to be triggered by a well-engineered fear, hate, and peer pressure. Just like the killer ape once did, it still releases its aggression and tension expressed in mob cheers, senseless violence, and bloodshed.

Today, you can read almost any book about the human history and it’s likely that you’ll be left with an overriding and deeply disturbing impression. Seemingly, our fatal species finds it impossible to live in peace with one another. These books tell stories of bloodshed and gore, of heroic battlefields and mass killing.

Just as one of the world’s foremost warmonger – furnished with an oversized statute in the center of London and otherwise glorified – Winston Churchill once said, “if war can be avoided, I lived for nothing … I love war … I enjoy every second of it.” Countless people had do die for this. Since millenniums, the fatal species’ top echelons have become increasingly better in engineering this. It is just as super-Nazi Hermann Goering once said,

Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.

Whether democracy or not, it continues to work well. It continues to be as one of the world’s foremost mastermind of mass manipulation, propaganda, and public-relationsEdward Bernays – once outlined,

those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country … in almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.

Hermann Goering is long gone and so is Edward Bernays. Yet, their legacy lives on. In fact, it has become worse. Today, the fatal species has set up a moron-dominated global disinformation jungle radiating from fluorescent LED screens distracting us from reality.

The global entertainment apparatus shows us swanky space robots, various androids, fictitious Hollywood heroes, Disney-entertainers and polit-clowns, swashbuckling gamblers, vicious rapists, gun-toting brutes, and menacing Brown Shirt death squads or Black Shirt militias, Neo-Nazis and adjacent mass murderers.

All have become an everyday virtual reality, and this is not just in brutalizing video games but also in the so-called entertainment movies with killer ape titles like Live and Let Die, A View to a Kill, a License to Kill, Terminator, and sealing our fate: Terminator – Dark Fate.

To engineer the coming mass ecocide of us all, the global echo-chambers of the fatal species tell vast numbers of people that global heating simply comes from the sun; the earth is actually cooling; carbon dioxide is just plant food; the greenhouse effect is a United Nations’ conspiracy; clean coal will come soon; coal is good for the poor of the world; drill baby drill; Bill Clinton’s “it’s the economy stupid”; market force will solve the problem of global warming; corrupt scientists seek research grants; greenies want to rule the world; etc.

Meanwhile, the tribal aggression of the fatal species – as inherent from our ancestor primates – lives on, relentlessly and worse, regardless of those who try to warn us. Instead of heeding warnings, the fatal species has equipped itself with carbon-emitting and nuclear devices giving the fatal species the unique ability to engineer the species’ very own extinction. Despite Steven Pinker, we are well on the way.

Today, the fatal species has made it possible that by the year 2050, the living space of more than a billion people may be threatened. And for the first time since roughly 10,000 years, we are able to destabilize our climate. Since the advent of our Neolithic agricultural civilization, we had the ability to feed the fatal species. More and more, this is threatened because of a rapidly increasing climate instabilities.

What we have seen is a transformation of tribal warriors into button-pushing automatons capable of destroying the world around us. The fatal species’ ability to kill not just remains inexplicably linked to our deepest psyche, it has now moved onto the 6th mass extinction of all life on earth.

Our ingrained path-dependency that we have shown for millenniums in countless massacres and mass killings, and that we have perfected every day since the advent of mastering fire, will lead, almost inevitably, to the end of fatal species.

A species born with a terminal birth defect. It was born from the killer ape. As a consequence, the fatal species will fulfill its inborn destiny. It will kill itself during the coming ecocide.

Thomas Klikauer (MAs, Boston and Bremen University and PhD Warwick University, UK) teaches MBAs and supervises PhDs at the Sydney Graduate School of Management, Western Sydney University, Australia. He has over 700 publications and writes regularly for BraveNewEurope (Western Europe), the Barricades (Eastern Europe), Buzzflash (USA), Counterpunch (USA), Countercurrents (India), Tikkun (USA), and ZNet (USA). His next book is on Media Capitalism (Palgrave).

Meg Young (GCA and GCPA, University of New England at Armidale) is a Sydney Financial Accountant & HR Manager who likes good literature and proof reading.