is the way James Reed’s Netflix documentary (April 2023) begins, and ends. Does the four-hour series answer the question? That depends on who and what you believe. For me it does a very good job. We are the The Naked Ape (1967); or as Jared Diamond wrote, The Third Chimpanzee (1992). Robert Wright called us The Moral Animal (1994). This view has fallen out of favor. Replaced by progressive New Age thought. [See Marianne Williamson’s 2023 POTUS campaign.]

A bad-ass chimp keeping watch for an invasion from an adjacent tribe.
On patrol in the Borderlands

The Film

is irrefutable evidence of how similar is our behavior with that of chimpanzees. Both individually and collectively. Joe Rogan just interviewed Reed and he details the process of how this was possible.

The film is told as a narrative with a soulful soundtrack and incredible close-up shots of the animals.

Mother and baby

The chimpanzee mother and baby bond is more certain and consistent than ours. Which is sad when you think about what that says about humans.

In addition there are gorgeous long, high, and wide shots of the territory (Uganda, Africa.)

Uganda, Africa

[Recently it has been determined that Africa is dividing into two continents and a new ocean developing between Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, and the rest of the continent. Will this affect the chimp populations? The rainforest?]

Shot from above

Takeaways and parallels

for me are many.

  • One is that war and violence are deeply rooted into survival animal behaviors. Because of the need for food and security. And ironically, for peace and prosperity. We see this playing out all over the world today. With human populations and nations!
  • Another one is that the smaller the group/tribe/population – the tighter the emotional bonds. The more united are the members. This is a caution for the current trend toward globalization.
  • Furthermore, individuals need the group to survive. Those who don’t bond well (for whatever reason) are vulnerable and not likely to live long or healthy lives.
  • Moreover, strong leadership is crucial for tribal survival.
  • Individuals, while having different temperaments, must find a place in the social society.
  • Females upon becoming sexually mature – will wander. Because they need to find non-incestuous partners to produce strong, healthy babies. (I always wondered about that.)  This behavior appears to be a hard-wired instinct against deformity.
  • Secure borders are imperative.
  • Freud was right.

Concluding thoughts.

If you haven’t read my book Election 2016 – you should. There is one chapter in particular, Freud on Trumpism, that speaks to many of the themes in this film.

Am I right?

What do you think? Have you seen Chimp Empire? What are your takeaways?

Post Script

If this subject/theme interests you – I’ve wrote and posted a book list for further reading.

In addition, check out Lucy’s LegacyIs it a coincidence that these chimp populations inhabit territory very near where Lucy lived?

6 thoughts on “CHIMP EMPIRE: Who Are We?

  1. So many unanswered questions.
    What would/could have been? Had chimps had access to “magic mushrooms”? Or alcohol?
    Free and abundant fruit (easy) as PRIMARY energy (food) source. Okay.
    Love of Honey (as in insect manufactured). I.e. sugar. Alright. A rare and scarce treat. Okay.
    Meat? Hunting and killing for fun? Oh my.
    What-a-bout FIRE? What does cooked-meat in the development of human brain/behavior/thought play? Regarding our divergence from chimps,
    So many questions without answers.
    This Netflix documentary film/movie?
    FIVE (5) stars!

  2. The oldest chimp is 65 years old, female. Okay, I’m 73. Who had a “better” life?
    Can you imagine living 65 years in a rainforest? Never knowing when you, or your offspring, might live or die? Is/was she “happy”/ content?
    We (humans) could kill off all chimpanzees in a few weeks. Thus getting rid of all evidence of our origin.
    But then, there is that annoying fact we share (with chimps) 98% of our DNA.
    But then, to the victors go the spoils.
    Yeah. Okay. Alright.
    Wait! What? Another ocean?
    It’s not my fault!

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