Thursday, May 20, 2010

"Human anatomy contains a key to the anatomy of the ape (Marx)."

In the middle of a slope is an apple fixed on it. By a ball it can be pushed down. A chimp, in order to get this apple has to choose from two balls: one is heavy and the other is light. The chimp cannot figure out that the heavy one has enough force to get the apple. A toddler can do it easily. Then, she is asked how she knew the ball can move the target (for her, it is not the apple, but a ball). She answers she "used strong one."
It is actually difficult to explain why heavy one is strong. She did not say the ball was heavy. So it appears that she cannot connect the weight and the force, but she knew the heavy one is strong. Gravity is difficult to grasp. Even Aristotle could not accurately. A scientist who does the experiments to compare chimps and children explains how abstract the concept gravity is, "like love," and despite that human children can understand it. Citing Einstein's "Gravity cannot be held responsible for people falling in love," Alan Alda, who guides this TV show The Human Spark, broadcast by the PBS, replies with an Aristotelian joke:" I just don't understand why gravity doesn't make us fall in love." For Aristotle, gravity was exactly love. He was scientifically wrong about gravity, but was right about the abstractness of it.
The Human Spark focuses on what makes humans humans. It is a good educational show. As I said before, I am not so interested in the difference between humans and apes, but I am in our mind and cognition. Or, I am interested in the connection between humans and apes in the way Marx puts it that "Human anatomy contains a key to the anatomy of the ape."

No comments:

Post a Comment