A BOZO OF A BABOON: A Talk with Robert Sapolsky [6.4.03]
For the humans who would like to know what it takes to be an alpha man—if I were 25 and asked that question I would certainly say competitive prowess is important—balls, translated into the more abstractly demanding social realm of humans. What's clear to me now at 45 is, screw the alpha male stuff. Go for an alternative strategy. Go for the social affiliation, build relationships with females, don't waste your time trying to figure out how to be the most adept socially cagy male-male competitor. Amazingly enough that's not what pays off in that system. Go for the affiliative stuff and bypass the male crap. I could not have said that when I was 25.
While an undergraduate at Harvard, Robert Sapolsky asked himself: "Am I a neurobiologist? Am I a zoologist?" He has spent the past 25 years reconciling his interest in being a lab scientist using "a very reductive approach to figure out how the brain works" with his work in figuring out primate physiology and social behavior in East Africa.
areas come together in his thesis that "moral development is
very heavily built around...the frontal cortex". According to
Sapolsky, this is "the part of the brain that keeps us from
belching loudly during the wedding ceremony, or telling somebody
exactly what we think of the meal they made, or being a serial murderer.
It's the part of the brain that controls impulsivity, that accepts
the postponement of gratification, that does constraint and anticipation,
and that makes you work hard because you will get into an amazing
nursing home one day if you just keep pushing hard enough. It's all
about this very human realm of holding off for later".
what does this have to do with "a wonderful guy I named Benjamin.
A total Bozo of a baboon"? Read on....
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