What if the bulk of the hours you now spend working were devoted to frolicking with family and friends, staring at the sky (or watching TV), and having sex?  Sound pretty good?

And yet, though it’s within our grasp, we don’t go for it.  Why?  I wonder if it’s because we don’t see how close it really is, because we’ve been blinded from our Bonobo roots by our Chimpanzee culture.

Chimpanzees can tend toward violent natures.  Their social structure is very hierarchical–war and rape are an expected part of their existence.  As you probably already learned in school, they are our closest cousins in the animal kingdom–sharing around 98% of our genes.   But did you know, just as close cousins to us are the peace-loving Bonobos?

“Bonobos seem to ascribe to the 1960s hippie credo, “make love, not war.” They make a lot of love, and do so in every conceivable fashion. Beyond that, they are very loving too, showing care and compassion for each other in many ways. Sex in bonobo society transcends reproduction, as it does in humans.  It serves as a way of bonding, exchanging energy and sharing pleasure.”

Recent research presents a workable theory about how these two extremely similar species evolved so differently from one another socially.  In a nutshell it boils down to Surplus vs. Scarcity.  For Chimpanzees food was more scarce, for Bonobos more plentiful.

The way that translated into such contrasting cultural norms points to one powerful factor:  Female Solidarity.   Because females didn’t have to separate from one another in order to secure resources, it was their instinct to bond closely to share (even partners and each other), and especially, to collectively keep a dominating Alpha male in check.

Interesting concept.   Here in America we live in the land of plenty, and yet we still choose the existence of the chimpanzee, because collectively we are still focused on the lack.  We don’t even see that we no longer live in scarcity! We are overloaded with surplus and still keep producing.

Still, the Bonobo is also in our blood.  The matriarchal care-and-compassion driven gene is in us all and when we look around and see the inequity and realize how needless it is and how disproportionately lucky we are, we are then plopped into another evolutionary mandate:  fight or flight.  So we fight for freedom, or fight for equality, and we still fight for resources.  That’s a lot of fighting.  Which causes the other half to flight straight into denial, or oblivion, or feigned indifference.

The truth is, if there weren’t so many in flight, we might actually win this fight.  And vice-versa.

It sounds like a win-win:  most men want more sex, most women want more frolicking.  I say let’s try the Bonobo solution: Female Solidarity.

Jessica Woods and Bonobo Bonding

Vanessa Woods and Bonobo Bonding

bonobo lounging

bonobo lounging