Monday, August 27, 2007

what is culturemonkey?

"One often hears that anthropomorphism is bad, to be avoided, as it brings animals closer to us than they really are. I have argued that the opposite position is equally dangerous. That is, by using a separate language for humans and animals, we keep animals at a distance and deny the continuity, even though in fact we are animals and are genetically extremely close to the apes."

-- Frans De Waal

"Quick wits and metal dexterity are the Monkey's trademarks and Monkeys pride themselves on being able to dance rings around everyone else. With their clever, alert minds, Monkeys catch on quickly and process information in a trice. The typical Monkey person is a bright as a button, nimble of foot and able to accomplish almost any task - the more intricate and involved the better. With their razor-sharp wits and huge sense of fun, Monkeys are constantly seeking new experiences and fresh challenges to stimulate their senses."
-- The Monkey Personality according to the Chinese Zodiac

"Historically associated with the unrestrained body, gluttony, mischief, lewd meanings, and sexual lust the representation of monkeys mirror humans in a complex play of distortions. Fetishes straddling nature and culture, monkeys, in particular, were seen as associated with the dangerous and degenerate classes: the itinerant and working poor, Jews, prostitutes, black people, criminals, the insane and sexual deviants. Indeed, representation of monkeys offered a symbolic space for rendering visible deepening fears of urban militancy, racial mixture, and moral breakdown."
-- Lynn Ruscheinsky, of the Attila Richard Lukacs Gallery

The lesson for us is that the divide between culture and nature that we have created is completely artificial. It doesn't exist for us, really, because there's continuity between the two, and it doesn't exist for other animals.
-- Frans De Waal