Re-Share: Are Humans Really Great Apes?

Under the Green Desk Lamp…

Green DesklampI originally published this article in May of 2016. Little did I know how my argument would be made stronger by time.


Scientific taxonomy classifies human beings within the family of hominidae, more commonly known as the ‘Great Apes’. We share this taxonomic family with three other genera, members of which include the orangutans, gorillas, and chimpanzees—all fine and majestic animals to be sure (Link).

Each of these creatures have found their niche within their local eco-systems, and have lived in a relatively balanced natural state for generations uncounted. They consume the resources available, and are consumed by the predators which are capable of doing so. They live within their means, and display a general civility to one another aside from occasional competitions over mates and territory. Meanwhile, the homo sapiens, or ‘humans’, have for the entirety of recorded history been putting on a childish display of wanton consumption and heedless destruction. If we are honest with ourselves, we must admit that this begs a pretty important question: are Humans really ‘Great’ apes?

All things considered, we’ve had our fair share of positive moments. We’ve built some incredible structures, and solved puzzles that would leave the rest of the apes scratching their furry little skulls in abject bewilderment. We’ve spread our population far and wide, and survived countless changes to the world we live in. At the very least then, we may certainly be considered alright apes.

Of course, most of the cataclysmic challenges through which we have persevered have been our own doing. We have an incredible and unparalleled ability to intellectualize our world and use ration to consider the effects of our actions. Still, we have managed to destroy much of our ecosystem, and of the many wonders we have achieved, few have been able to endure. So in truth, perhaps we are really just ok apes.

It’s true that if we really want to compare ourselves to the other members of the hominidae family, we should take a serious look at their lives as well. Doing this, we find them knuckling along the filthy earth, hurling feces and screaming unintelligibly at one another. This might often be followed up by a good chest-pounding, or perhaps even an old fashioned beat-down. Needless to say, humans are little different. Despite our marvelous intellect and incredible capacity for empathy, we resort to terrible violence no less often—nor is feces-throwing ever completely out of the question. All things considered, we might really be quite ordinary apes.

The thing about this, however, is that we are so perfectly equipped to do better. It’s a matter of achieving one’s potential—the old, ubiquitous notion that one must be compelled not to do better than all the rest, but rather to simply do one’s personal best. Our cerebral-capacity alone affords us the potential to accomplish so much more than the others, and to shift beyond this base-violence into a far more gracious and well-mannered state of being. The promise we have is unbounded by anything save our imaginations, and this has been shown time and again—as numerous societies have risen to show the glory of mankind’s innate potential. But for every rise, there has been a fall, and we have proven consistently unable to maintain any serious ascension into the epoch of equality and dignity for which we are so well qualified. We may build great cathedrals, but we inevitably use them for the spread of greed and power rather than grace and mercy. We may write of utopian ideals or great societies, but we fall ever short of realizing them as we capitulate to the temptations of wealth and fame. Perhaps then, we may best be described as under-achieving apes.

Much of this question comes down to potential. There can be little doubt that we as humans have the theoretical potential to be the most inspiring and beautiful creatures to ever grace this earth. Our capacity for reason and problem-solving could allow us to truly be the promised stewards of the earth—watching over our hominidae brethren and all the other creatures with whom we share this wonderful planet. But where we may have spread equity and joy, we have sown only despair and intolerance. Where we may have acted as guides and care-takers to the planet we have left it barren and unstable. Finally, where we may have been exemplars of decency and righteousness, we have fallen ever to our own doubts and greed—wallowing in misery as we toil ceaselessly for more of what we want at the expense of what we really need. In truth, the homindae family and the world in general may have been far better off if humans had never climbed out of the trees from whence they came. In the end, I suppose, we really are pretty disappointing apes.

-Brad OH Inc.

‘A Story Untold’

Today, we here at Brad OH Inc. have another special treat for all our loyal followers. We’ve written a lot of articles in the past about meaning, legacy, and communication, and today we’re thrilled to present a new, free ‘Single Serving Story’ about precisely those themes.

‘A Story Untold’ is the tale of four young children who share in an incredible adventure. Taken against their will on a ride through the stars, the children all process the experience rather differently, and as the full weight of their situation dawns on them, it is up to each to find the meaning and sense behind it in their own individual way.

This short story was written as a quick foray into the sci-fi genre, and may mark the first of several to come. We certainly hope you enjoy this new style as much as we enjoyed creating it.

Click the link below the image to download ‘A Story Untold’ now for free!

A Story Untold- Cover‘A Story Untold’- Smashwords

-Brad OH Inc.

The Uncomfortable Issue of Population Control

purelyspeculationLast week on Brad OH Inc., we discussed the old and misconstrued ‘Fear of Big Government’. In that article, we explored the common revulsion toward the notion of government intervention in the lives of its citizens, and the ubiquitous but erroneous assumption founded by the repugnant Ronald Reagan that we need to get government ‘off our backs’.

The core thesis we developed in that article was that while the actions of many governments have been less than desirable in both past and present, the true purpose of government is the protection and promotion of its citizens—a function which should not be feared but rather revered. To these ends, there are certain central domains in which government control must undoubtedly be focussed, primarily: healthcare, education, infrastructure, stable wages/ living conditions, scientific research, promotion of environmental concerns, and access to food and water.

This is admittedly a very basic list, but it does provide a functional framework for government interventions. All efforts in these areas must—in any democratic government meant to represent the people—be aimed not at increasing profits for corporations and special interest groups which line the pockets of government officials, but rather at solving problems and promoting the general welfare of the electorate.

A quick peruse of these topics will, however, reveal one common and absolutely key concept for any government hoping to moderate over a well-functioning society; the uncomfortable and cringe inducing issue of population control. While money must never be the dominant issue guiding government practice, it certainly is an important concern when discussing support of citizens balanced against fair taxation, and as such the population size of a country is a crucial consideration.

Perhaps ‘population control’ isn’t the right term. Depending on where we are going with these notions, a better term might really be ‘population management’. If a government is to promote equity and access amongst its citizens, then central to its task will be the ability to understand the size and growth rates of its populace, and design an intelligent and functioning society to accommodate this.

At present, the ongoing fear of big government is serving its role well, rallying citizens to follow the lead of the unscrupulous political right in decrying government involvement in anything that might possibly help the general welfare and direction of the nation, while allowing it only in promotion of economic gain for involved parties. The results are clear as day; it’s a strange and subversive sign of the times, that it’s our poor who grow fat as our rich stay healthy.

Corporate needs dominate the political spectrum, poisoning our citizens and environment alike as record profits are posted and the ‘free-market’ is heralded as a success.

Naïve fools the lot.

So if turning the reigns over to profit-driven corporations and entrusting them to care for the people of the nation isn’t the right approach—and it most certainly is not—then what is?

The key issue here is not whether we must change the current system, but what system will fill its stead. An issue like population management is a heavy one to discuss beyond doubt, but it must be addressed directly and with honesty intention if we are to avoid it’s becoming a taboo issue discussed only behind closed doors by parties of questionable motives.

It is a driving issue, and must be discussed by the whole of the population to be managed. For even if we deny the issue, it will be a key factor in how we manage our economy, food stores, treat the poor, provide education and healthcare, etc.

Clearly, the more people exist, the more demand for resources, and in an unideal world, hence more scarcity. Even if we learn to plan our resources around population, and ever increasing population would lead to heavy sacrifices rather quickly. Ultimately, when it comes to the effective management of a population, there are, as I see it, essentially three basic approaches.

The first approach would be to simply accept that some people are less entitled to the productivity of mankind than others. This is most similar to our current approach. In this scenario, resource access would be determined by factors such as social standing, property/ business ownership, socio-economic status, and more broadly, location of birth.

Taking a stand such as this one, resources would be divvied up by priority, with some people gleaning great wealth and prosperity from our system, while an ever-increasing number receives very little.

A second approach—and the one which makes this such a delicate issue—is the more conventional definition of ‘population control’. A policy like this would demand a clear account of extant resources, and a broad understanding of what sort of lifestyle citizens are entitled to. From there, it would be a simple matter of division to determine the ideal size of the population, and steps—ranging from sterilization, birth limits, eugenics, or population culling—would be taken to make the numbers match.

This scenario has been enacted several times in the past, and represents some of the darkest and most horrifying eras in human history.

Neither of these approaches to population management result in the sort of society that I—and I should hope any of my readers—would hope for. So then we are left with the question, if not these failed methods, then what?

Given the incredible state society has managed to reach in spite of our past missteps, and the unspeakable potential promised by a commercially freed and unleashed scientific community, I believe we are entirely capable of creating a third, more ideal solution. I have little doubt that the combined power of modern computing, science, and human vision is able to design a system to monitor and anticipate both changes in population size and need, as well as existing resources. Such information would allow for a more dynamic and responsive means of addressing scarcity.

Further, in order for such a system to be created and maintained, increased government funding would be necessitated towards science, education, and healthcare—the lot of which would perforce be universal human rights if we are to expect any positive shift in the direction of our society.

A streamlined scientific community, coupled with an economy dedicated to the positive growth of culture and equity, would be fully empowered to find creative solutions to production, provision, and other means of positive population management through a system motivated not by profit, but by simply improving the general human condition.

Furthermore, one key long-term goal would be that of interplanetary exploration. This would provide for both an alternate source of resources, and ultimately alternate planets to inhabit and build upon. But this might be better discussed in a… future article.

The roots of these convictions have already taken hold. Examples range from innovative solutions to solving urban food scarcity (Link), to active attempts at subverting the mounting energy crisis (Link), to community based food-sharing programs (Link). It is by examples such as these that we will work actively towards solutions, rather than merely using obfuscated politics to justify corporate-manufactured deficits.

The end-goal here is to plan for the world we want to live in, rather than cope with the one we’ve created through greed and ignorance. But first, we need to change our priorities. A culture which focusses solely on profit, and defines freedom strictly in market terms, is forever doomed to the scarcity and inequality inherent to such ideals. It is science, not business, which must be unleashed; that, and the passion of earth’s good people—determined to build a better world. On this front at least, I remain convinced that scarcity is not an issue.

-Brad OH Inc.