Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Human Nature

A couple of bloggers have linked to this story, but I'll assume you haven't seen it. It's not big news, but it just seems there may be a Great Principle or two at work here. See what you think.

This is BBC News, reporting on a story from India:
The deputy mayor of the Indian capital Delhi has died a day after being attacked by a horde of wild monkeys.

SS Bajwa suffered serious head injuries when he fell from the first-floor terrace of his home on Saturday morning trying to fight off the monkeys.

The city has long struggled to counter its plague of monkeys, which invade government complexes and temples, snatch food and scare passers-by.

The High Court ordered the city to find an answer to the problem last year. Monkeys attack Delhi politician

That seems exotic. We don't have violent monkey gangs. I have seen pamphlets here in Rockville warning people about coyotes. Monkeys, no.

But I wouldn't link to a story that was just about a guy who was killed by monkeys. I'm linking to it because of the next sentence.
One approach has been to train bands of larger, more ferocious langur monkeys to go after the smaller groups of Rhesus macaques.

I see two phenomena of human nature here. One is them, and one is us. The first is the phenomenon of taking a minor problem and, in trying to solve it, making it worse. Because if violent little monkeys are killing people, what do you figure violent big monkeys will do?

You and I see that immediately. Which brings us to the other point.

This is Delhi, India, with 22 million people in the metropolitan area, it ain't Podunk, in other words. And they had a meeting, or commissioned a study, or the Department of Monkeys spent some time on it or whatever, and the policy people came up with this: let's fill the streets with bigger, more violent, monkeys to beat up the little monkeys. And then the rest of them nodded, and now maybe some money will be budgeted for the Bigger and Meaner Monkey Project. Acronyms will be invented (BMMP, for instance), institutions will arise, you know how that goes.

Here's the second phenomenon: it's easy for us to see the absurdity of their ways, over there in India. But we don't see it when we're doing it.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andrea- not anon
Speaking of local absurdity- I hope that there isn't another Hash house Harrier "terrorist" arrest. I saw their distinctive flour markings in the park today. I always fear for my life when I see piles of flour certain distances apart in a park.

October 23, 2007 7:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another little local absurdity:

Trying to teach teens the following:

If you're gay, that way you must stay!

October 23, 2007 8:19 PM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

Anonymous, the vast number of people trying and failing to change their sexual orientation has verified that if you're gay you will stay that way.

January 03, 2008 1:11 PM  

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