Among the mammals, this is my favorite creature. We call it an
orangutan, but that is only a name. I remember a film called “Cabaret”
in which a comedian was singing about his being in love with a gorilla
and, with regard to the perceived hostility, the song was called, “If
you could see her through my eyes.”

More profound than it seems at first hearing, for if you could see
this animal as I see it, in fact like I see all non human animals,
then you too would feel the awe, the rapture, the bliss, the
well-being, the gladness, the compassion and the benevolent affect for

It’s not strange really when I consider that I share more than 98
percent of my genes with the great apes. I’m a cousin of the
orangutan, the gorilla, the chimpanzee and the bonobo.

Yes the bonobo, perhaps the closest cousin we have. Not too different
from us really.

Why do I feel this affect, this oneness with them?

At first I considered it an admiration for their skill and prowess and
even their beauty. But that was not it. I discovered it first years
ago with the curator of Mammalia at the Zoo during classes of
comparative animal psychology when I was a student at the State
University in San Diego.

It was not the orangutan that captured me; it was the spider monkey.
On looking back, I saw them playing, swinging about with such
dexterity and what captured me was their innocence.

They were playing with such momentary well-being in a cage. They were
glad, not with human stained Identity gladness, but with a gladness
which was natural. As a result I was glad. That was the key, you see,
being glad that another creature was glad.

We have five Sharpeis now and a Doberman, and I capture that innocence
even when they do things that cause social problems.

Why is that innocence appealing? Because I didn’t have it. The human
creature doesn’t have it. We lost it long ago when Identity began its
reign and we were separated from every other living creature by a dual
thinking mind.

They are our cousins, these orangutans, gorillas, chimpanzees and
bonobos. Of course these great apes are not monkeys. That should
please the proud human isolationists. But it only means that apes are
usually larger and heavier than monkeys, with a broad chest and
upright body posture that allows them, like humans, to walk on two
legs. Apart from that they have no tail and rely like the human upon
vision more than smell.

Finally, of course, they have a large brain-to-body size ratio
compared with other animals that we consider lowly.

But what about this bonobo? What is it? Well, it is rather like a
chimpanzee but smaller and, like the orangutan, looks rather human. It
is more.

Looking kind of humanlike, the bonobo is more slender and graceful
than the common chimp, having slim upper bodies, narrow shoulders,
thin necks, and long legs. Its head is smaller and well formed with
pink lips, small ears, wide nostrils, and long hair. The females have
slightly prominent breasts in contrast to the flat breasts of other
female apes.

In fact, they have behaviour which we would term, with our human
wisdom,  altruism, compassion, empathy, kindness, patience and
sensitivity. However, knowing that they do not have a consciousness of
Identity separated from every other creature, these acts are not
cognitive and therefore, from my point of view,  reflect what is
hidden inside the human creature that he is now unable to reach
without deep contemplation. Our altruism, compassion, empathy and
kindness are mental and tainted.

Perhaps it is good that they don’t speak, for that was our biological
turning point,  allowing Identity to step in and bring us to this
civilized point. However, they are aware of self (that has nothing to
do with Identity awareness) for they pass the mirror-recognition test
for self-awareness.

Yet although we can indeed teach them to understand our words and
actually type using symbols, they have never lost that innocence.

When Identity comes in, innocence is lost. Yet it is clear that the
human creature respects little and particularly not innocence… the
innocence of the legendary Adam and Eve… and today there are less
than 10,000 bonobos in existence. They are an endangered species.

So I continue with my gladness and they with their innocence and
continue writing in the hope that those with sympathy for the cause of
animal life will look even deeper and awaken their own innocence and
allow their clinging and craving identity to fall away.


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