It always makes me a little excited when I think that millions of years of constant change, adaptation, and selection somehow bred a species that could circle back and be aware of the very process that bore them.
Way back when the theory of evolution and natural selection wasn’t as concretely proven as it is today, many people used the implication that apes were the closest related animal to humans to discourage any supporters. Who, they said, wanted to be direct descendants of apes? And if you look at them- at the butt scratching, poop slinging, and public sex- it isn’t as appealing as the other, more elegant theories out there (though to be fair to apes, sometimes humans can be much worse). I think that the point of view skews perception, though, as we look to an inferior species when we make the comparison. Frankly I’d rather have an ape as a direct ancestor rather than a toad.
The thoroughness of speculation is what caught my interest with the documentary. Everything is scrutinized and given tentative, logical meaning that may or may not be proven later on. But if history has taught us anything, it’s that nothing happens because of only one catalyst, and the sheer number of possibilities for why and how things have come to be should be enough to discourage anyone from speculation. We’ve learned to accept, I think, that we cannot possibly know everything but we never allow it to taint fascination and a constant hunger for new information.
If thought about in context of the human condition instead of as a straightforward delivery of information about the intricacies of monkey and ape social structure, the documentary succeeds in forcing introspection because it looks as if every advantage we have over every animal in the planet is quite literally all in our minds.