A blog on sy Montgomery's Walking with Great Apes, on the full context and lives and politics behind Jane Goodall Dian Fossey and Birute Galdikas's lives and work. I review how science is conducted as a form let's say of mild torture, how these women had to defy western and African and Indonesian norms, false ideas about truth, to do goo work.
I Montgomery's Walking with Great Apes
A. Sy Montgomery is one of a number of women (there have been a few men) to have lived in close proximity with animals in an effort to study them accurately in their habitat. Feynman says that the great experiment he presents at the end of his book on rats is great because Mr Young uncovered the clues the rats were really using, not what as a human he might think they were.
Read p 345. Feynman does the same with the ants, 93. The way he studies ants is the way ants are really studied in the wild.
B. Instead of taking the animal and turning it into a specimen and testing it (ordeals) you live beside it as it lives. This is hard to do because as we'll be talking about for Essay #2 animals do not sit up and perform, not even in the zoo.
1. She shows that Goodall's way of relinquishing control to the chimpanzees while she watches them, her way of getting down to the level of chimpanzee life to see the world as they do, her respect for their values, way of life, and norms, the complexities of their existences produces the most accurate and useful knowledge of these chimps that we can have, and that Fosse and Gildikas insofar as animal studying is concerned followed the same ideal.
2. The book begins with an excellent or mirroring account of the lives and work of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Birute Gildikas, as they might like to be seen, Part 1 and 2 and 2. Gildikas and Supinah, an orangutan which was abused by an illegal owner; unfortunately the new book lacks the black and white photos of the older one which I think get across a feeling. Look at p 8, p 10, p 14; we see how because probably it happened around the same time Goodall saw in Flo's way of bringing up her chimps a sort of model for her mothering (though not real quite as at age 7 she sent her boy to public school in England -- really had to), and Diane Fosse's near love affair with a gorilla, Digit, the companionship at any rate. p. 37 baby Flint and human baby Grub, p 62 Fosse, a famous picture.
First we learn of the relinquishing control (nurturers is the term either Montgomery or the editor gave to the first section); then how the project came about from Leakey. In both these sections we see how the private lives of all three women become utterly shaped by their projects and to some extent (I suggest) hurt. Jane married Hugo, her photographer, had a child - who she did not give up her life to the way she says Flo does; there were limits to what Hugo would endure of living with these creatures, and they divorced. Derek Bryceson the second husband was someone very high in Tanzanian government, a white hero who was badly crippled in WW2. I think she loved them, but as people say, why not fall in love with a rich man, these two men were very helpful in her career. Hugh brought National Geographic in his way and the second husband much of her protection, security, growth in reserve range and so on.
3. Middle section is about something just as important which is only included as a side issue in Goodall's In the Shadow of Man and Through a Window, hardly at all in Fosse's Gorillas in the Mist; Birute Gildikas, Reflections of Eden: My Years with the Orangutans of Borneo is an academic style kind of book and it strictly omits personalities as much as she can. One could argue that therefore it is not real truth as it's so detached.
a. An important idea in this book is the post-modern one that situation is of enormous importance: science is a culture that occurs inside human society. Records of medicine that omit everything but technical stuff that was done tell little truth, only a small part of what happened.
b. Politics. Who was Leakey; how did he come to do his studies, how did he come to know, choose, employ these three women.
c. Then we get longer chapters which are a wider description of the three women's methods, in each case a diptych with other methods. The horrifying story of Harry Harlow, pp 112-4. This is not made up; his findings are cited in Gawande about torture; it seems Harlow tortured some chimps to show solitutary confinement is terrible torture.
a. Harry Harlowe has received a large amount of money and prestige: what he did was capture chimps and put them in his laboratory. Of course in cages. Then he proceeded to torture them. He would remove a chimp from its mother and then put it against a stone figure and watch the baby pitifully cling. This was showing how necessary was psychological bonding.
b. He built a "rape rack" which would immobilize a female when in rectus and then watch and measure her writhings. He used it to impregnate them and make more of these helpless creatures for him. He had guns of course and just about everything to control them.
c. He has won many prestigious awards. It's horrifying. I rish to say not all men do this (Lorenz didn't), but the method is approved and it's how you get tenure and publish quickly. Imprisoning these creatures is just par for the course in these experiments medical scientists do.
d. I know from my reading and comparing of Danielle Ofri's Singular Intimacies and three male books on medicine, say Atul Gawande's (he is humane, don't get me wrong on him): Gawande presents cases as if he were wholly objective and based on criteria that are abstract and distancing; she will substitute genuine description of what happened as opposed to what you are supposed to put down on a report. The result is the reader sees that much that was centrally crucial to what happened (the patient's feelings, history, what literally happeend while at the hospital including neglect and mistakes) is omitted. Well we are going to have two movies to make up for this, one based on a fine memoir, the other a pultizer prize winning play
b One of the problems in getting people to change or alter the way science is conducted is what we regard as object truth has made the methods in the first place: and it's about measuring, numbers, isolatted things happening in a laboratory against a control base. Do animals work this way? It should be one might say that we don't need these chimps to show solitary confinement is torture and for 7/8s of Gawande's essay he concentrates on telling the conditions and behaviors of human prisoners, but the Harlowe is a gateway people accept -- even if one might say it's totally contrived. Sacrifice of Nyiramachabelli: unfortuatnely the murder of Fosse and her struggle with the local population on behalf of the gorillas overshadows the account of what she studied: people forget she did it for 18 years. How many people in this room are 18? Gildikas's problem was the solitary nature of orangutans and to get near them meant waiting and so slowly building trust. So the word here is patience.
4. Last section (book has three) is what they are doing today: Goodall has expanded out to protect animals and animal rights; what's keeping Rwanda project going today: tourism; Gildikas in context: Indonesia. She's gone native and has not published anythng for years. By contrast Goodall did finally published an enormous book in a modified traditional style -- she still names the chimps. The chimpanzees of Gombe: Patterns of Behavior
D. Coda how these women became powerful by being invested with the power of the animal: human beings react in irrational ways. Shamans. I'm uncomfortable with this chapter a bit: I realize they may be regarded this way, and we see Goodall impeccably talking Chimp with Johnny Carson for the entertain of the TV audience, p 272 -- but surely this is part of what makes her such a good advertising person for the chimps. Neither Goodall nor Gildikas has lost contact with the world of people even if they think the world of animals worhty in its own right. They are no longer doing what they are dong to serve and uphold the world of men. but the worlds of these animals.
E. Book is bleaker than one realizes. Goodall stopped doing her kind of year round continual science after the hostage incident and her husband's death. Her plant is now a place for tourists to stay. She works hard to free and care for the chimps from afar. Fossey was murdered and in her place we find tourism and small efforts to preserve gorillas. Birute to stay had to turn native. All three ended up caring more for animals than people they were supposed to service by studying the animals.
Central feat done first: Goodall's way of relinquishing control to the chimpanzees while she watches them, her way of getting down to the level of chimpanzee life to see the world as they do, her respect for the value and norms, the complexities of their existences produces the most accurate and useful knowledge of these chimps that we can have, and that Fosse, Gildikas and Montgomery (her animal studies books include Journey of the Pink Dolphins, Spell of the Tiger) all use the same self-effacing methods. We can distinguish here a subjective holistic and woman's caring way of science, one more valid than any other. She led the way. Walking with Apes is an important book on these women doing science.
1) what Goodall has become today (a crusader for animal rights, a protector of them, an exposer of the viciousness and egregious uses made of chimps, -- together with her son),
2) defends Fossey vigorously on the grounds she was entering into African culture and what she began is today carrying on in diplomatic and other ways and has helped save the gorillas, and
3) examines Gildikas's present life as a kind of shaman-guru of power in Indonesia
Montgomery's contrasts objective science, and popular action-adventure,safaree is exploitative (and it is often male) is subversive were people to pay attention. Danielle Ofri, Perri Klass, and the medical books of other women (Singular Intimacies, A Not Entirely Benign Procedure, &c) show how women write medical memoirs showing the importance of the immanent subjective approach.
A chimp fast asleep in the nest he made himself; he fully trusts Goodall to let her get so close and take a picture too
A chimp fast asleep in the nest he made himself; he fully trusts Goodall to let her get so close and take a picture too
I end with an outline of Goodall's life, of In the Shadow of Man, an update on Goodall's more cent work, and a discussion of Goodall's sexism in her work. She is far more sympathetic and understanding of male amorality in the chimps; she also seems to see all the chimps's sexuality through the eyes of a conventional young gentry woman brought up in the UK between the 1930s and 50s.
Sy Montgomery's Walking with the Great Apes
Gildikas when young with an orangutan
A review in Women's Review of Books by Barbara King criticized this book. King is very unfair. Montgomery's is an excellent account of the origins, projects, research techniques and experience up to 1991. Montgomery goes deeper to show us how each woman slowly became the central powerful force of her world through self-sacrifice, patience, taking on the values of their area. They are shamans, have themselves entered into these animal worlds and become our intermediary. Goodall is the crusader, Fosse was a kind of sorceress (fighting Africans on their own terms), and Gildikas a kind of queen bee in the center of a community of indonesians.
What angered (angered) King is that Montgomery "bought" into the idea that women are better at this kind of research than men, a proposition which has some validity
What angered (angered) one reviewer I read is that Montgomery "bought" into the idea that women are better at this kind of research than men, a proposition which has some validity since except for Konrad Lorenz, no male has done it.
1. The question is, is this because women are more biologically attuned to letting go, not controlling, caring ethic. I think we don't know and would like to say she herself mentions men now working for Goodall and in place of Fosse (Gildikas seems a powerhouse unto herself and part of Earth Watch which funds her) and would off some pragmatic observations:
a. It has been and still is much harder for women to have a career in science. Let us look round this room; it's not uncommon for me to have 3/4s males and 1/4 female in this class. This term we have even less. And that includes women being nurses. I do not think it's because women can't do science or math comes unnaturally; it's our culture that discourages women from being mechanical; they are encouraged to be emotional and “feminine” and moeny’s in science and men do hold onto power tightly.
b. In other words it’s no coincidence that all three women were at loose ends and not people getting anywhere in a career -- and would be naturally hired in more conventional traditional ways, have a degree and not go off on tiny sums of money to live basically alone (in all three cases the woman soon ended alone and only brought at most a relative or friend) in hard and dangerous circumstances. So I’d say men could do it (and we find them in the newly built up places once tey are set up); they won't stoop or don't need to begin in the wild on their own. It’s not a career trajectory that usually pays off.
Montgomery is not sexist Montgomery criticizes Goodall for just what I did last week: that Goodall looks at the chimps through the eyes of her 1940s upper class English culture.. She doesn't go on about this at length; it's one element in her account. And she does bring together how these women did it: in a nutshell, they relinquished control. They allowed the animals to behave freely around them and if you will behaved in a submissive and very strongly accommodating manner, always free of any hostility or aggression except when attacked (and then only defensive). What you can see is the way to get down to the level of an animal and see the world out of the animal's sensibility is to get rid of your ego and live in the level the animal does as close as you can.
1. Montgomery describes the real sacrifices all three women and anyone who came to stay in their camps in the early years had to do. Now there is more money for Gildikas and much much more money for Goodall so there are separate accommodations for human beings to get away.
2. I think Montgomery also defending the care ethic against the aggressive one, a social interweaving instead of competition and mastery by individuals. Montgomery says how Jane's dissertation at the academy was regarded as how not to do science and until her final long smashing public success, she was sneered at. Success is what is respected: money, fame
a. Montgomery quotes Gilligan and other feminist psychologies of women, Jean Baker Miller, Lynn Miller She shows that the way women do conduct science fits Gilligan: they are not mastering, they are not Gods, they are not attempting to compete with the animals, subdue and conquer them.
b. And it's not true they are sentimentalists: Montgomery goes on to describe what happened in the later years: the chimps's war, their cannibalism, the cruelty of some of the mother-daughter pairs to others. This does not negate the sexist filter that Goodall herself sees the chimps through: still she does not anywhere critique the male violence as such; she admires this, and she is continually presenting Flo, the great ideal as if this mothering is common, when more indifferent, selfish behavior is, as well as discomfort and all sorts of things we see in human mothers. Not all chimps want to have babies :)
c. This stuff is important for it reveals important truths of all sorts about _us_ and the book is an eye-opener on the human social realities intimately seen of scientist's lives.
Further, I've gotten deeper into Montgomery's book, and there's a strong defense of the way Montgomery says women do science: more subjective, more caring, and far more humane, precisely not controlling and mastering. Montgomery says how Jane's dissertation at the academy was regarded as how not to do science and until her final long smashing public success, she was sneered at. Montgomery compares a much admired male scientist's ways to Jane Goodall's:
I know from my reading and comparing of Danielle Ofri's Singular Intimacies , Perri Klass's A Not Entirely Benign Procedure and Michelle Harrison's Women in Residence and three male books on medicine, say Atul Gawande's Complications: he is humane, perceptive, knowledgeable, but he thinks he is far more objective than he is and limits his interaction with his patient's stories and while he probes humanely, he writes in the language of numbers and leaves out what cannot be quantified. Gawande presents cases interweaving criteria that are abstract and distancing. Ofri will substitute genuine description of what happened as opposed to what you are supposed to put down on a report. The result is the reader sees that much that was centrally crucial to what happened (the patient's feelings, history, what literally happeend while at the hospital including neglect and mistakes) is omitted.
Montgomery quotes Gilligan and other feminist psychologies of women, Jean Baker Miller, Lynn Miller She shows that the way women do conduct science fits Gilligan: they are not mastering, they are not Gods, they are not attempting to compete with the animals, subdue and conquer them.
And it's not true they are sentimentalists: Montgomery goes on to describe what happened in the later years: the chimps's war, their cannibalism, the cruelty of some of the mother-daughter pairs to others. This does not negate the sexist filter that Goodall herself sees the chimps through: still she does not anywhere critique the male violence as such; she admires this, and she is continually presenting Flo, the great ideal as if this mothering is common, when more indifferent, selfish behavior is, as well as discomfort and all sorts of things we see in human mothers. Not all chimps want to have babies :)
This stuff is important for it reveals important truths of all sorts about us and the book is an eye-opener on the human social realities intimately seen of scientist's lives.
Montgomery writes lucidly and gracefully. She brings out how (and to know this even if it makes one uncomfortable is important) that in all three cases Leaky interacted with the woman on a sexualized basis in the sense that he behaved as a father to Jane, as a brother to Birtue, and as a lover to Dian. We see how getting a job from a man involves sexuality -- all three women were young and intensely idealistic and didn't care it seems. Leakey's second wife cared -- he is something of a philanderer as well as highly unconventional. He left his first wife for the second so the second knew what he was (so to speak). (The famous Othello quotation comes to mind). He was also a white man growing up in Africa who devoted his life to anthropology, geology.
About Dian and Birute.
As many know, Dian was killed. She was a very difficult person and became fanatically in love with her gorillas. This is true of all three women. They became intensely attached. I could see this in a film I've screened about Goodall recently. "I love him" she'll say of an ex-alpha chimp with no sense that he used to beat up other gorillas and she's mourning this loss. "The proudest moment of her life" is when David Graybeard took food from her. Birute let the orangutans sleep in her bed; she too married a photographer who came to live with her, and they too divorced. Since then she married a native man and has had two children; he is a tribal person. Dian Fosse tried to have an affair with her photographer and it didn't go anywhere.
A young Dian Fosse with two baby gorillas
The section on Dian Fosse is shaped (inevitably) by her death; Fosse people forget lived for 18 years first studying the gorilla, and there is an attempt in the section on her to do justice to her years of study. Even there we hear of these quarrels, and she would lie a lot. There was jealousy between her and Jane Goodall, partly the result of class and appearance (gender conflict): Jane Goodall comes from upper class people in England, her manners are like those of say Julie Andrews, she looks an image which is conventional, pretty blonde ponytail; Dian Fosse was sic feet high and your usual highly tensed lower middle class American. She did not run an open cafeteria and group union for everyone to meet the way Goodall did; each person ate alone and she pressured her students much more.
We are told how Dian tried to go beyond the check sheet method, and her attachment to specific gorillas, but again one is murdered by the villagers and poachers. It seems that the area these gorillas lived in was much more actively threatened by the human beings, the researchers were not given the same protection (wars continuing all around) and again Dian didn't get people on her side who counted (like Jane's second husband).
She fought Africans with the violent reactions and revenge type behavior they understand. She also had many friends and lived integratedly among African people. She'd have had to.
The older Dian building a and floating a barge with a male assistant
Gildikas's work reveals something important too: how much we -- for studying these apes is partly intended to illuminate humankind -- are shaped by culture is seen in the orangutans more than the other two. She has entered Indonesian culture utterly to carry on her study and gradually carve out a large area safe for the orangutans. Gildikas had trouble keeping up funding. She refuses to do science in the exploitative way; she is not interested enough to publish in academic journals, gradually then she has had to turn to conservationists like EarthWatch and Indonesian groups to support her. She is tenured/affiliated to Simon Fraser, and does have a small house of her house; her money is slowly channelled to her through the university affiliation. She is a superb politician today.
Gildikas with her entourage
Orangutans are know for being hermits, for the isolation they keep. It's popularly known that the female nurtures her young relatively briefly (the time is different for different babies individually too) and then goes off on her own.
Well Gildikas has loved her baby orangutans to the point they show attachment. They love to be loved and made much of, and they stay around her house (indeed her body) for much much longer than they do with mothers. What's more they exhibit memory and return to her. The photo I'll share is one where we see this.
It's an important book scientists as well as feminists should read. A group biography. I recommend it to anyone interested in women doing science. As I believe I wrote I've read enough in this area over the years to know male writing is often he-man adventure or these apparently objective reports of fantastical technology. I'm not talking of learned journals here where I imagine this disparity is much muted.
Now for just Goodall's life and work:
I. Jane Goodall's life
As with Richard Feynman, Goodall broke barriers by being willing to live unconventionally. Her books are sometimes not quite respected because like him, they are so easy to read and appeal to common readers. Like him, she spreads knowledge; there is not a cult, but she is a friend to all who care for animals and the environment. Similarly available to ordinary readers are Fosse's, Gildikas, and Montgomery's books (see above), and they too broke conventions in order to study their chosen animals, to live with (and nowadays protect) the these endangered species.
Like Richard Feynman again there are articles by Goodall and Gildikas in peer-edited journals, in Goodall's case many many, but we will make do with our one book, In the Shadow of Man, and some commentary on all the others.
Jane Goodall when young, giving David Graybeard a banana
B. In the Shadow of Man is introduced by Stephen Jay Gould, pre-eminent scientist and writer of our era: he suggests this is extremely important because she studies the animals in context, and through natural or allowed (not forced) interaction. She does not keep on (proud) blinders that demand she be (impossibly) objectify and she sees connections with human beings. An important book bolsters hers: Darwin's The Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals: the emotions may be somewhat different, ours more complicated by the physiological expression is close as to identical should give us pause. (Feynman says we are too proud to see ourselves.)
C. Among the events Jane studies in both books are the Polio epidemic in the community, the split of community into two when they went to war in effect (killed outsiders), the cannibalism; also as imporant many patterns of caring nurturing loving, obligation; of social hierarchical behavior. The book also displays Goodall's learning to do science (the research center) and integrating herself as best she could as a person on the margins into the African community in the part of Tanzania.
D. Short biography: Jane wanted to study chimpanzees from an early age; in her later teens she gave up a good job in film and went to Africa to become Leakey's secretary in order to meet him and get closer to her goal of studying chimps. With Leakey's encouragement and connections, Goodall was able to begin a small study, with her mother coming with her.
E. Vanne Goodall and she worked together and achieves gradual success and expansion. Married twice: Hugo Van Lawick, a photographer sent by National Geographic, both British, nothing propinks like propinquity and he has been important in her career, getting funding, disseminating information, photographs. They had one child, Grub, (a nickname), he was sent to boarding school in England. he is now grown and aids his mother in fighting cruel behavior to animals. Goodall was fully supported by her family and still is (Fosse's family was hostile, and Gildikas's indifferent); we see her sister, Judy, come to help her.
F. Much later she met and married, second husband, Derek Bryceson a white man high in Tanzania government and politics, a war hero badly wounded (crippled, couldn't walk when she met him). He was in parliament and director of parks. It was a happy successful partnership, but alas he died of cancer 1975. It was a year after that Goodall's camp experienced attacks in the form of kidnapping, using the students as hostages. This was only partially resolved, and Goodall had to promise to limit her students' presence in the study park.
G. Not that Goodall makes much of this. She is a very controversial figure -- because she, rightly, attacks the way the academics and laboratories go about animal experiments. It was not uncommon for professors to have $70,000 life styles and keep their chimps in horrible cages. The chimps are still tortured slaves in some places, traded, and killed mercilessly. I suppose she is a survivor (as Fosse was not). She does not tell you that Baron Hugo van Lawick her photographer lover and then husbasnd in this book was himslf an upper class aristocrat with a title. Who else has the nerve to do this kind of thing? It takes self-esteem and the belief you can bounce back. He was not highly paid as a photographer. Nor does she emphasize Derek Bryceson the second husband was someone very high in Tanzanian government, a white hero who was badly crippled in WW2. I think she loved them, but as people say, why not fall in love with a rich man, these two men were very helpful in her career. Hugh brought National Geographic in his way and the second husband much of her protection, security, growth in reserve range and so on. The official biography is one long coo.
H. I admire and even like her very much. Yes her personality that comes out so the book is so deeply humane and intelligent and decent. She's also more full of fun than she lets on. My favorite story about her is at a party in Africa, she got drunk enough to go out presenting her vulva to the men at the part, a la Chimpanzee. I forget where I saw this story (perhaps Farley Mowat's book).
I. Since then she's expanded and kept it up despite serious setbacks: like Fosse, she found herself and her chimp homelands under intense pressure from human tribes wanting the land She now travels and works hard to improve the living conditions of these chimps in captivity -- terrible a man lives luxuriously or woman and puts these poor creatures in cages. Like slaves.
J. So it's a book as a memoir by a woman of her daring and life. At the age of 20, this young woman went, with her mother (note Vanne was there in the first year very important even if I do not stress it here is her sister came too) to Africa and lived with these powerful strange (at the time mostly to the public) creatures. She persisted in staying despite disease, attacks by natives (including kidnapping, incidents she, politician that she is, hides most places), terrific aloneness, insufficient funding.
1. Helped to be unconventional, take job as secretary, doesn't worry about status from her upper class British background background -- she was upper class and did not want to become a secretary and then marry up.
2. Cambridge opened its doors to women first in the 1970s. There was no university for her until she went to Africa to be Leakey's secretary (how she made connections for that we are not told), and then as her study began to succeed, he made arrangements (isn't that nice?) for her to do a Ph.d. with friends of his at Cambridge.
K. Her life reveals typical women's patterns. In history women do better when attached to powerful connected men. Carole Pateman argues (even if it's not obvious) women connect to families and to men (obvious in traditional cutlures) and through men go higher. Mrs Clinton; not Sarah Palin but I don't know enough about her life. Now I know Obama's mother is a PH.D high placed academic and his step-father upper class Indonesia; his father was high in his African village.
Hugo taking photos
A. The Difficult Settling In and Beginning to Study (Goodall, In the Shadow Of ManChapters 1-4 we see here how she came to Gombe: the desire as a child, the secretary job, the invite. This early part shows her and her mother adjusting to environment (including sicknesses like Malaria), important making friends with Natives, adhering to their customs, helping them. The desire for land is seen. She and her mother could provide modern medicine if simple.
Vanne running her medical center
Goodall's adventures with tiger, snake, her mother's with a baboon. They save a new mother -- or appear to. At close she finds herself alone. She has a few observations of the males and females, but little to go on.
B. On Her Own: First successes, sex life of Flo, Her Family,
Family Life 1
We see the troubles she had setting up the Feeding Station (In the Shadow of Man, Chapter 5-9, "The Rains" through "Flo and Her Family"): the chimps come to the camp and how she and David Greybeard and Goliath interact; chimp called William too, then Hugo arroves; the sex life of the chimp Flor (varied, promiscuous, dominance submission; compared to nervous Olly (daughter, Gilka); how Fifi copes and does not cope with her mother's sex life; birth of Flint; cleverness of Figan; importance of eye contact; the problems with feeding station in Chapter 8 (feeding station), solved gradually in Chapter 11 (growth of feeding station). The hierarchy gone over in several ways beyond the chapter 10; one chimp does attack another perceived a snot of her group.
1 .How they can be roused to frenzies of aggression and drop right down again
2 The importance of the mother
A mother and her chimp
C. In the Shadow of Man must be read before the second though: the first shows basic patterns of infancy, mothering, group identity, sexual behavior, hierarchies, social life on a daily way, sleep patterns, illness, death; it concentrates on showing how able these creatures are, their tool-making, their intelligence, and depth of feeling (including depression, grieving for death), and heavily on dominant versus submissive patterns and mother-and-child-and-young adult groups who live within a larger group of free-ranging males.
1. Sex is group sex with a female and the males of a group protect the mother-and-children within that group. The first does show how the chimps will attack an ill or disabled chimp and try to kill him -- this is the worst moment of the book insofar as showing the chimp's nature. We do see one female suddenly attack an outsider.
2. Through a window shows their violence much more: we see how one group attacks an outsider group and to kill, and nasty aspects of their interactions -- which also resemble human beings. They are neurotic like us; hold grudges, have complex interactions within their social world
Book Chapters: The second part of the book follows the life cycle of a chimpanzee: infant (chapter 12), child (13), adolescent where she sees no incest between son and mother (14); adult relationships (15), baboons and predation (16 -- interspecies interaction; they do eat baboons, on the other hand, they can become friends and even have sex, but they won't have babies), 17 (death, the polio chapter).
A. This breaks down at Chapter 18 where she returns to mother and child -- where Flint goes to pieces -- in the second book we see a little chimpanzee literally die of grief, too young to cope, he won't leave the nest when his mother dies and just wilts away; here we have Merlin -- picture of him as small orphan, stunted in growth, then how Sniff a brother tried to mother Sorema, p 230). Miff's experience with brother makes her better mother (p 162)
B. Then her remarks on parallels between us and the chimpanzees; how we can learn about ourselves (19)
C. Our inhumanity to these animals (20); basically we have been very bad news for them; only Goodall and her institute and those she has been enabled to enlist try to protect these creatures.
D. Finally summing up: patterns of development, facial expression and calls, weapons and tools, diet. Obviously the tool-making and other behaviors which show foresight, planning, invention. It was not known that chimpanzees eat meat, that they dance, how they make nests each night and sleep.
A moment in group life
1. Little instance; we might discipline a child who doesn't seem to pay attention to the adult at the table, p 151: we do have thorough studies of childhood showing how the child's mind works differently . P 231: the depressed and insecure Merlin
He has not grown fully because he lost his mother and family during polio epidemic
2. Have to be careful when talking of motivation: ours is different more complex; yet how altruistic are we? p. 245
3. Experiments made with language; we see awareness of self in Washoe when she looks at herself in a mirror, p 251
E. Stress how little was known and how much we know now since Goodall's many decade studies.
VI. She is a wonderful stylist and accurate observations both. For style, look at pp. 195-96 -- there's another where she suggests pantheism. She lives their way, p 166 -- what a boon fire was.
VII. Family Postscript and August 1987 bring us closer to today: she seems to track families and individuals in relationships, probably because that's the way they present themselves. We see they have intervened to give chimps operations -- Gilka for her cancer: Miff
VIII. Finally summing up: patterns of development, facial expression and calls, weapons and tools, diet.
IV. More recent work
A. What many people did not know until publication of The Chimpanzees of Gombe; Patterns of Behavior (26 years, a study set up in more usual academic ways -- it includes numbers and a history of what people have known of chimpanzees from the 16th through 20th century) is that the Gombe Stream Reserve has undergone many changes over the years, as has Goodall herself. The park has become an island of wilderness surrounded by land that has been cultivated right to its borders. This has crowded the chimpanzees and may account for the radical changes in their behavior. She now supervises students from Cambridge and Stanford universities who established at Gombe a new computerized data collection system. This phase of research ended after terrorists kidnaped several students and held them for ransom, an episode that Goodall scarcely explains in her haste to credit the Tanzanian trackers who have helped her since then to maintain an unbroken record of observations.
B. She spends enormous amounts of time exposing cruelty to the animals -- those who expose them as circus beasts, who keep them as pets and then get rid of them, those who kill them and use their bodies variously; the exploitation egregiously inhumane science. -- from afar, for she gets to be with them in Africa only a few times a year for a limited time.
Inhumanely imprisoned; left in solitary confinement, they go mad with frustration, boredom, lack of contact or anything to do
C. In spite of the uncomfortable political situation, Goodall has managed to continue. In so doing, she has validated her commitment to the chimpanzees. She presents life portraits of individual animals for whom we know both lineage and descendants. This unique account of a quarter-century of research is contained in a single, beautifully produced volume. Illustrated with photographs, maps, graphs and charts, it also features “word pictures,” brief narratives of chimpanzee-watching from her field notes that lend an air of immediacy to the story.
D. The benign chimpanzees she describes in her early work behave with apparent malice with the change of conditions and the passage of time. Had she not stayed so long, she would not have observed the fission of the major group at Gombe, nor the deliberate obliteration of one group by the other through murder and infanticide. The long duration of the project enabled her to observe generational patterns of behavior, differential sexual characteristics and instances of apparent altruism as well as cannibalism and destruction. Goodall believes that the behaviors she has documented in animals which are among the species most closely related to Homo sapiens foreshadow the appearance of cruelty and warfare as well as some aspects of love in human beings.
II. Criticisms of Goodall's methods by academic scientific people
A. Unlike those scientists who guard their objectivity by refusing to give names to the animals they observe, Goodall writes of each one intimately. She has been accused of “anthropomorphism,” the scientific sin of projecting human thoughts and emotions onto animals. But these animals she is documenting are extremely intelligent, and she argues that her affinity with each chimpanzee is what makes her research valuable.
B. She has also been accused of interfering with the natural behavior of the chimps by provisioning them with bananas and giving them medication when they were ill. She responds that the banana provisioning has long since been enormously reduced but that, in its heyday, it brought animals to her camp that might not have come by for weeks or months. And indeed, she defends her treatment and feeding of sick and dying animals on grounds that humans have habitually interfered with animal life in negative ways—destroying their habitats and introducing diseases. She is balancing the scales by interfering in a positive way. Above all, she suspects that without a high level of emotional involvement, her research would have ended years earlier. I don't bring up possible religious objections.
C. Goodall's chimps, Old Flo and Flint, have been accepted as quasi-human today, much as Madame Chimpanzee was in the 18th Century. (Flo's obituary was in the Sunday Times of Britain.) But Goodall has done more than bring us full circle. The Londoners of the Enlightenment admired a rare creature for her obvious intelligence
We understand and respect the complexity of their lives.
V. Goodall's sexism:
A. In her more scholarly account, one presented more objectively, The Chimpanzees of Gombe, Goodall presents extraordinary details about the lives of these creatures with whom we share 97 per cent DNA. In Chimpanzees of Gombe she shows how in the Renaissance through mid-19th century they were seen an uncanny versions of us. She shows how central to this species is the relationship of mother and child because group sex precludes the individual males knowing who is his chimp. Instead the group identifies as a whole; however, in each nuclear group (children and mother) it is rare for any chimp beyond the siblings to take responsiblity for one another if the mother dies or grows ill.
B. I am troubled by this book, In the Shadow of Man now. I said it worried me a little early on; careful reading has persuaded me she is seeing these chimps at least in this first book (her most popular) through deeply sexist eyes. Repeatedly she describes mothering techniques of just about all the chimps but one as in some way inadequate deplorable, unnatural even. She says that the general "good" behavior is found everywhere, but if you read you find only one chimp exemplifies it: Flo and her now grown daughter, Fifi. She continually shows how other females teach anxiety, aren't loving enough, not giving enough and so on, and are to blame for their children's miseries of various sorts.
1. She never criticizes the males for their powerful and cruel tactics gaining dominance. This would be fine if it were not that she implicitly criticized the females continually for not doing ideal mothering. Only one chimp exemplifies this: Flo and then her daughter in the next generation: Ffi. All others deviate. She feels for the amles chimps who lose out, but she admires the ones who win. She says that adolesence is hard for the male.
Faben brandishing stick in front of a mirror
2. We get nothing, NOTHING on adolescence for the female. The females are only talked about as offering their vulvas to the male and getting pregnant. Nor does she present herself as feeling for the anxious female Olly.. She seems to recognize hardly any friendships between the females, only rivalry. When she does she presents it as "unusual" or odd. If a female tries to dominate another more subtly, it's "smirking" and "spiteful" behavior. She really uses such words.
3. On the other hand, male friendships are celebrated; she finds them to be brothers.
4. She tells you in the first book she never sees incest within a family and no homosexuality int he contests for dominance between males.
C. I can't but wonder if this isn't a striking case of how we see only through our blinders and filters. Her deepest attitudes towards sex are 1950s and once in a while a vocabulary about promiscuity which is disapproving slightly (like when the female, always the female in such a context) is trying to "lure" a male.
1. Males can dominate and beat females and force them to come with them and she never utters a word of disapproval. She unthinkingly to my mind admires socializing and those chimps which can't or simply don't are presented as inferior somehow and not as happy. How does she know?
2. I can't get beyond her descriptions for it's all that I have. I have read the second book but I do not remember any improvement in her descriptions of sex -- only that finally she sees how savage, war-like and tribal these creatures are. They can go to war, kill barbarically outsiders (tear chimps from another group apart limb by limb). In the first book she reports on how they attack cripples in their midst -- out of anxiety and fear and we see here the core of why disabled and depressed people have such a hard time in our society, fear of contagion, it will somehow get you. I've gotten this third book in the hopes of an improvement, rather it's just that she removes the moralizing words but does not change the male-centered and approving picture.
3. Why bring it up here? Goodalls' work is famous, read, used by people like Edmund Wilson. It will be used to present stereotypical, unreal and unsympathetic views of women. This is not to say her work is enormously insightful anyway and I want to end emphasizing how patient and decent and well-meaning and effective she's been in all areas but that of sexual and (paradoxically) insight into females as such.
Sy Montgomery is herself a naturalist, someone who studies animals and writes about them:
A. It tells you:
"Among her award-winning books are Journey of the Pink Dolphins, Spell of the Tiger, and Search for the Golden Moon Bear. She has made four trips to Peru and Brazil to study the pink dolphins of the Amazon; and on other expeditions, she was chased by an angry silverback gorilla in Zaire; bitten by a vampire bat in Costa Rica; undressed by an orangutan in Borneo; and hunted by a tiger in India. She also worked in a pit crawling with eighteen thousand snakes in Manitoba; handled a wild tarantula in French Guiana; and swam with piranhas, electric eels, and dolphins in the Amazon. She lives in New Hampshire.
Sy Montgomery petting a young tiger
These books show all the marks of women's memoirs: cyclical, subjective, imagery of caring, strong affective atmosphere, development of self from within instead of seeking outward objective awards and advances through signposts. For a full list of women's science-memoir books, look here