Are You a Gorilla or a God?

god or gorillaHumanity stands about halfway between gorillas and gods. The great question that looms over us, is this: “Which will we incorporate into our lives? Gorilla things or God things?”

The choice is ours. Yes, various choices are thrust upon us all our lives, accompanied with various levels of intimidation and threat, but at some point, all of us find ourselves able to choose freely. And it is then that we go in one direction or the other. We are able to change directions of course, but every time we choose, we move a step in one direction or the other.

What We Are

Please understand that I am not endorsing any specific theories here – religious, scientific, or otherwise. I’m merely describing the situation in which humanity finds itself. We are halfway between gorillas and gods: The worst things we do are gorilla-like, and the best things we do are god-like. Either direction is open to us.

Strange as it may seem, we are a lot like apes. Our bodies are built in the same ways, our body chemistry is nearly identical, and the worst aspects of human nature are essentially the same as the worst aspects of primate behavior.

We are also a lot like gods. We transcend entropy; we create. We can touch the soul in others, and the best aspects of human nature are essentially the same as the best characteristics attributed to the gods.

This is not what we can be; this is what we are. What we become in the future depends on whether we choose gorilla things or god things, here and now.

What Are Gorilla and God Things?

Gorilla things are those which operate on a dominant/submissive model. Hierarchy (high-level individuals controlling lower-level individuals) is the blueprint of the gorilla world. Dominant gorillas seek status and the power to control others. The submissive apes seek to pass along their pain to the apes below them (females, juveniles, etc.) and to avoid punishment. They are servile toward the dominants and cruel toward those they are able to dominate. Females trade sex for favors.

God things operate on a creative model. Blessing is the blueprint of the god world: distributing love, honesty, courage, kindness, blessing, awe, gratitude, and respect into the world and to other humans.

Gorilla things are these:

  • The desire to rule.
  • The desire to show superiority and status.
  • Servility.
  • Avoidance of responsibility.
  • Reflexive criticism of anything new.
  • Abuse of the weak or the outsider (women, children, Gypsies, Jews, immigrants, homosexuals, etc.).

God things are these:

  • Producing things that preserve or enhance life.
  • Invention and creativity.
  • Expressing gratitude and appreciation.
  • Experiencing awe and transcendence.
  • Adaptability and openness.
  • Improving yourself and others.

The Two Wolves

You’ve probably heard the old story of the two wolves: A young boy becomes angry and violent, and then feels guilty about his violence. He goes to his grandfather for advice. The old man says, “You have two wolves inside you: one of them is nice, the other is dangerous, and they’re fighting inside of you.”

The boy then asks his grandfather, “Which one will win?” The old man replies, wisely, “Whichever one you feed.”

In the same way, humanity becomes like gorillas or gods depending on whether we put gorilla things or god things into our lives.

I’m not going to tell you this is always easy, but the difficulty hardly matters: Somehow, we’ve been given a choice between becoming gorillas or becoming gods. No other creatures in this world have been given such a choice.

Bring god things into your life, and reject gorilla things. It doesn’t matter if these things are hard – you are defining your own nature between two wildly different options, every day.

Leave gorilla stuff to the gorillas.

Building god stuff into your life is your job, my job, everyone’s job.

Paul Rosenberg

11 thoughts on “Are You a Gorilla or a God?”

  1. No sale… if you have even the most fleeting cognisance of the literature of any theistic power-structure, you will know that it is the “God” paradigm that involves unquestioning submission, undeserved punishment, extreme and asymmetric retributive violence, and generally behaving in ways that might befit Dick Cheney (or any other Dick).

    Read the Torah, or the Old Testament – that will give you a handle on what it means to be ‘god-like’ – it means you’re a vindictive douche who will destroy everything you make because some infinitesimal subset of your creation does stuff that displeases you (Noah’s Ark much). Then you’ll trade everything you created, for the present value of a future stream of genital mutilations. No gorilla would be such a pillock.

    Feuerbach, Durkheim and Neitszche (amongst others) were right when they postulated that man needs to emancipate himself from stupid primitive theistic thinking – that far from ‘God created man’, we need to recognise that ‘man created God’, declare it fruitless and stupid, and move on.

    5 million children die every year of preventable disease: if there is a God, he either can’t prevent that (i.e., he’s useless) or he doesn’t want to (i.e., he’s evil). By contrast, gorillas are vegetarian and do not go around convincing Mesopotamian nomadic peasants to steal other people’s stuff.

    Frankly, if it was a choice between being a gorilla and being a genocidal douche who demands unflinching loyalty and loves foreskins and burning offal, sign me up for a crate of bananas.

    Doubtless this will not pass the scrutineers – it’s your sandpit so you can moderate using whatever ill-devised metric you think will add value – but just know that you personally ought to think harder about stupid terms like ‘god’.

    1. Your quarrel seems to be about how to define the word “God”. If Paul had used some other word, or had made up a word which he defines with the points above the Two Wolves story, would you still have an issue?

    2. Blather on…just get the point Paul is making. God is the universe, of which you are a part.

  2. Very thoughtful column, and I mostly agree. Perhaps just as an amplification, I think it’s important to understand that the attempt to “reject gorilla things” can, if one is not careful, be ineffective or even counterproductive. Witness the millions (or is it billions?) of pseudo-Christians around the world, who apparently actually believe that they’re followers of Jesus, the Prince of Peace, while they support every murderous war under the sun.

    To rise above the base side of our nature, the bad wolf, we must venture into its lair, and understand it as part of ourself. For example, when we act badly, we must not merely reject such action, we must understand where it came from. We must realize that such impulses will never be annihilated. What they CAN be is understood, along with the consequences of acting on them vs. the consequences of bringing a better spirit to bear even when most frustrated. With such knowledge, the good wolf may largely prevail.

  3. Very useful way of seeing homo sapiens’ potential for either the atavistic or the transcendent.

    To “Kratoklastes”

    Please reread the article. You will realize you totally missed the point. All over your own take on the term “god.”

  4. Why insult gorillas? Humans are more related to chimps… and it shows.
    The word “God” is interchangeable with “ideal” anyway; just the deluxe version.

  5. All exemplified by the discovery of the not so mythical missing link between apes and human beings – (Men and women).

  6. It’s fun to see how authors decide who the “weak” are. Why is this always about the white guy? Why not include in the “Weak” the white male?

    Cuz let’s face it, guys got a big problem when they want to poke anything that walks. That is the ape inside. If you watch gorillas the head male is basically raping female after female. If women finally catch on to this, especially the feminists, men are never going to hear the end of it.

    The entire human race is basically at the mercy of male power…which revolves around sex. Things gotta start evolving here or we aren’t going to make it. you could liken the Atom-bomb, wars, economic struggle all to the power structure that arises over human apes trying to gain power for purposes of sex. Just like an ape. That’s why there is nothing really intelligent in any of the technology….It always morphs into power and killing and pillaging (raping) the people and lands of other nations….

  7. The parable of the two wolves is very instructive. Here is a mantra to extend the wolf analogy further.

    The Wolf Credo:

    Respect the elders
    Teach the young
    Cooperate with the pack
    Play when you can
    Hunt when you must
    Rest in between
    Share you affections
    Voice your feelings
    Leave your mark.

Comments are closed.