Monkeysphere

Recently I read a short article on the concept of the Monkeysphere. You can read it yourself if you wish. Anyway, despite the deceptive title and humorous attitude, the article does indeed make sense.

All of us have our own monkey sphere, it is built into our brains and there isn’t much we can do about it. It explains why and how people can withstand the sheer amount of suffering around them. We just don’t care. They are outside our monkeysphere. It is a defense mechanism to prevent us from becoming depressively catatonic and it is also the reason why worldwide suffering persists.

The factory manager does not care for the people his heavy pollution affects. They are outside his monkeysphere. The oil-grabbing capitalist does not care for the millions of people his schemes have uprooted and made miserable. The religious fanatic does not see the heathen he is killing as a human being but rather as an object.

Let me make an example. Most people have some minority or archetype that they tend to dislike. Be that another country, nationality, skin color, religion or whatever. Think about what yours is; Even if you think you are open minded enough, chances are that due to various factors (personal or external) you have some faction you wouldn’t miss as much. Maybe black persons have robbed your apartment three times and now you secretly think that they are all thieving bastard or maybe you were raised with the belief that all Jews are worldwide evil scheming conspirators.
Whatever it may be, think that you meet such a person and get to know him, his interests, his hopes and dreams, do you think you could feel that same way about him? Maybe you continue to feel the same way as the rest of his “kind” but not for him. You mistakenly think that he is different, some kind of exception. But he is not. He has just entered your monkeysphere.

So what can we do about it? This is not something that can be changed, except maybe by science fiction-like genetic engineering. It is hardwired into our brains.
What I want to know however is if there is a way to curb it, keep the good parts (denial, blissful ignorance) and soften the bad ones.

First order of business is to spread the knowledge of the monkeysphere and then find ways to lessen its impact.


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