Monkey Man | The Emergence of Chimeras in Our Culture

by | Apr 17, 2021 | Videos

In this video we look at the meaning of hybrids: mixtures between categories of identity. With emerging technologies it’s become possible to artificially create hybrids of different types of animals, or even to interbreed between humans and animals. A recent development at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in California has sparked public debate given their experimentation with a monkey-human hybrid embryo. The ancient word for such a hybrid is chimera. Like the sphinx and cherubim these mixed beings indicate a breakdown and confusion of identity and act as a buffer between existence and non-existence. What can the (quite literal) emergence of chimeras tell us about the state of our world today?

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  1. Anthony WIlder

    Seems fake to me, scientists have been lying about this kind of thing for a long time. like the mouse with the ear they are painting a picture that may not be real.

  2. Alfons

    One of the driving factors behind this is, that medicin is looking for a way to get organs for transplantation which are not from deceased humans. So the idea is to create e.g. human-pig hybrids and then to “harvest” the organs, which were then not rejected by the human who received it, because they are genetically altered and so similar to the human genetic, that they are not detected as “foreign”.
    So they want to create something “human-like”, but not so far as in appearance (it will look just like a pig – pigs because they are in average as big as humans, so the organs have the “right” size).
    So one can also argue with an ethical argument: Isn’t it better to have these human-pig hybrids so we can save a lot of human life? Because there is always “shortage” of organs for transplantation. Don’t the benefit outways the moral problems? (If wou see them at all.)
    To clear my point of view: I do not concur with this, because in my estimate this opens the door to a lot of ideas, like: “Let’s breed some monkeys with a little more IQ, so we can use them in dangerous or dull labor workplaces.” (Planet of The Apes. The picture you used, where Charlton Heston kisses the Ape is a little misleading, because the Apes in this story are not hybrids, they “evolved” – sure under the pressure of humans, who trained them). But the moral question this story evokes is nearly the same: Humans create a inferior species, make them “man-like”, use them as “tools”. What’s the difference to salves?

    • Alfons

      Sorry for some typos, last word is of course: slaves.
      May I suggest an edit function for posts?
      And I am also not native english-speaking, so again: sorry.

    • Alfons

      And allow me another pop-culture reference:
      “And the walls came down
      All the way to hell
      Never saw them when they’re standing
      Never saw them when they fell”
      Tweeter and the Monkey Man – Traveling Wilburys, 1988

    • Lukas

      The arabic philosophers know as the Brethren of Purity have written a fable about the harm caused to animals by humans. The animals want their case judged by the King of the Jinn (jinns are something like demons or angels). While their arguments seem to also make obvious the manner in which humans mistreat each other (making the fable with its animal actors only a disguised critique of human nature) the mistreatment of actual animals is also problematized as they are not enitirely discernable from humans if one only looks at their properties as many of these properties which make mistreating humans bad, they actually share with humans. Animals thereby seem to have certain moral rights as well. Human-like robots could cause a similar problem: We might create them “in our image” to do the things we do not want to do ourselves. But then we have conclude from exactly these properties which allow them to fill that function that they ought not to do that kind of work because in some sense, they are similar to us. This would also make their creation pointless.

  3. Lukas

    Doesn’t the notion of a “necessity for the story to play out” lead to a certain fatalism? After all, one story follows from another. Should one therefore think that there is nothing new under the sun as the proverb says? Are all stories with their necessary linkings already stated in Scripture? On the other hand, their instantiation in the world seem to differ in their different interations. So the stories are in some sense also changed. Can one therefore change fate with knowledge of how these stories would turn out?`Is there transcendence of the eternal story through faith in its inevitable truth? Then however this faith would not be warrented because through faith in the predictive story, the actual story could be changed making the believe in predictive story unwarrented as it is actually false. If however believe would change nothing, then neither would disbelieve which would make arguming either way pointless.

  4. Scottie

    It a world of lies, the truth matters. This vid starts off a bit dark but there is light. We can affect the world by telling the truth. Tell the good stories that matter.