Braveheart, By Chimpanzees
Posted on September 8, 2011
Words cannot quite emphasise enough just how annoyed I am with myself right now. Not 10 minutes ago I had an article, the topic of which I am about to talk about, totally completed. It had a video embedded and everything! But lo and behold the moment I clicked “Publish”, my internet started playing silly buggers, and rather than just ride it out, I lost my temper and forced Safari to quit, doing so thinking that my article would be safely stored on WordPress, ready for me to come back and publish it properly… How wrong was I. Try as I might, I simply cannot find the flaming thing, and so here I am, starting over from scratch. (I did actually try to remember exactly what I said in my first draft, and how I said it, but anyone who is already in the little “I-deleted-my-bloody-article-but-am-too-stubborn-enough-to-accept-that-I-will-be-unable-to-rewrite-it-word-for-word” club*, will be able to empathise with the shear FRUSTRATION of losing a whole post which one experiences when one is ‘initiated’ into our little club…). Alas, I had a little Victor Meldrew moment, and moved on.
The real reason for my post today was partially as a follow up to the one I published yesterday, but mostly to talk about something quite extraordinary that occurred as a result…
Today was a bad day. It started off relatively badly, as I slept in (this is never cool as I genuinely cannot stand the fuss which sleeping in causes). Things at school started off okay enough (as I was well away from the people who make my school an all too often unpleasant place to be), sadly this didn’t last, and following an initially okay start, things deteriorated rapidly. My original intention was to write a very raw, very honest, and what I would hope would have been a very passionate piece on just what happened which caused me to (yes, I am man enough to admit it!) shed a few tears this evening. However, something struck me as the sun was going down – I missed out on a hell of a lot of beauty today, all thanks to my sadness.
What prompted this notion to surface in my mind? I happen to be one of the few million people who has had the pleasure of seeing the utterly beautiful moment when a group of chimps saw daylight for the first time in their lives. That in itself should be enough to captivate any persons’ interest, however what
makes it even more touching is that these chimps are all over 30 years old. Seriously, in 30 years they have never seen the outside world, experienced the feeling of real grass in amongst their toes, or looked up into the deep blue sky only to be bathed in the warmth of the sun. Personally, to keep a group of 38 chimps inside for 30 years (literally since the moment of birth) without ever letting them free is not something which I feel comfortable about at all. Then again, and asides from whatever scientific breakthroughs they may have contributed to, if they hadn’t had been kept inside for so long and in such a way, they would never have experienced that which has been recorded; the moment the whole spectrum of natural beauty met with their eyes, their hearts, and their souls. One cannot comprehend just what an overwhelming experience that must have been for them. Even watching it takes one’s breath away.
Chimpanzees are very intelligent creatures, but not only are they intelligent, they are also one of the closest species to our own. With that in mind, look at the photo above, and what do you notice? They are smiling. They instantly see and appreciate all the beauty in the world, the beauty which we humans so very chronically fail to be grateful for. We fail to even notice it these days. What does that say about us?
Seeing these Chimps this evening, venturing into the world and instantly smiling, hugging, I suddenly realised that really, what happened to me today at school is nothing which should ever stop me from at least
walking home with a smile on my face. The far more intelligent creatures above looked at the world and smiled, as they saw how good it was. I intend to do that too. Whenever I have an encounter with one of the people who seem so intent on making my life miserable, I will remember those chimps – and what they have taught me. Interestingly enough, my RMPS Teacher (another man for whom I have a great amount of respect) states that only Homosapiens are aestheticians, I disagree, as I see the way Maisie reacts when I play “Einstein On The Beach”, however my Teacher wanted me to find proof that animals have the ability to appreciate beauty… I think I have that now.
In days gone by I may well have compared someone I didn’t respect (like perhaps a certain few people at my school) to a Chimp…
Little did I know what a compliment that would have been.
* I feel your pain.