Monkey See, Monkey Do

I don’t know whether to be disappointed or impressed by the human ability to emulate what we see in others. We see someone wearing something, we see someone doing something, we see someone moving their body in a specific way and we take that information in and there’s a very good chance we will at some point recreate that mental image with our own person. The entire English language, in which I communicate now, is a case of monkey see, monkey do. Someone said something, and someone else liked the sound of it, and then they started saying it, and then it became something everyone said. It’s a wild incredible skill we have, to see something, to hear something, to take it in, and then to regurgitate it.

The question of whether to be impressed or disappointed probably seems ridiculous. Of course it’s a good thing, of course it’s impressive, it allows us to do so much, right? But what about the fact that it works just as well with retarded shit as it does with cool shit? One person, say a particularly charismatic person, may decide to start stacking plastic crates on top of each other, then standing on them, then stepping off, and stacking more crates, and then stepping back up again, repeating this process until eventually the crates collapse underneath the weight of the charismatic man. This charming fellow will then upload a video of him doing this to the internet, and hundreds, thousands, or even millions of other human beings will watch the video, and then repeat the process. Some of these people will break their bones, some of these people will die, all because of monkey see, monkey do.

And then there’s advertising, an entire medium based on the principle of monkey see, monkey do. How many soda advertisements are just people drinking soda? How many cigarette advertisements were just people smoking? To simply see a product being used, is the first step in the process of purchasing and using said product. One might argue that human beings should be able to use our higher reasoning powers to prevent ourselves from being influenced by such advertisements. One might also argue that human beings should be able to use their higher reasoning powers to avoid war and economic catastrophe. One can argue whatever they want, it is irrelevant. Monkey see, monkey do, that is the law of the land.

Everything we do in front of another human being shapes that other human being. Everything other human beings do in front of us, shapes us. It can not be avoided. To acknowledge this puts a tremendous amount of responsibility onto the backs of every human being, and I think that’s probably why most of us avoid acknowledging this. So many times have I heard people say, “Propaganda doesn’t work on me. Advertisements don’t work on me. I am my own person.” And yet those who say this never stop to consider that the words they are using to assert their own independence of thought were not created by them. Everything about us is based on other people. And if we were to trace back those influences to the original people, those people would have based themselves on other animals. It is an endless chain of monkey see, monkey do.

This is why it is a moral necessity to publicly deconstruct and tear down all of what you hate in this world. Otherwise you are telling the whole of humanity that you are okay with, and that you are satisfied by, the state of things, and then they too, will be okay with and satisfied by the state of things.

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