The Fable Of The Monkey And The Pig
A pig and a monkey were sitting in the commons, enjoying the freedom given to them by their glorious country. It was only weeks until a new government would be elected and the topic turned to the presidency.
“I may trot for government!” oinked the pig to the monkey, in exclamation.
“You?” replied the monkey, incredulously, tittering hopelessly as he scratched an annoying itch on his shoulder.
“Of course!” grunted the pig, “And why not?”
“No need to be like that,” explained the monkey, “After all, isn’t it obvious?”
“Just what are you saying?” snuffled the pig, indignant.
“Well please then,” the monkey replied, expectantly, “explain to me what would make you a good president?”
The pig snorted, and trotted in a small circle before breaking into an elaborate presentation. “Well I’m just as good as anyone, and that’s just for a start. I’ve been thinking, there are much better ways to feed all the animals. And moreso, WHY are all the candidates monkeys anyway? It’s not fair, not fair at all,” and at this she squealed and plonked herself down hard on the dirt.
“Well, you see,” retorted the monkey, “it’s not enough just to have good ideas. The position of president requires more than being smart. It requires dignity and tact, of which, you clearly lack. For instance, why dost thou snort so oft? How do you think other farms would see us if you were in charge? It may not seem fair, but such a role requires certain, attributes, that must come before, so called, equality and good ideas.”
“But WHY,” the pig grunted angrily, “WHY are all the candidates monkeys? Isn’t that unjust? Tell me that my friend!”
“Now,” the monkey responded with seemingly natural serenity, “I’m not one to say that a pig COULDN’T run for presidency. IF a pig was to have the right manners, and the right constitution, surely they would be given just as much opportunity as ANY animal. Alas, so many I’ve met do seem to lack heavily in, shall we say, communication. It would just never do in such a world.”
“Harumph, my friend! Harumph,” exclaimed the pig raising her snout high, “What of equality then? Do you say there is no such thing in the real world?”
“Why of course, my friend,” replied the monkey, sitting back on his two hind legs. Waving a hand, in an explanatory manor, he continued, “There IS equality. And any animal, be that monkey, pig, goose, or ANY other animal, is perfectly at liberty to run for government, JUST so long as they teach themselves to ACT in the appropriate manor, just like all these monkeys have done.” With that he waved his hand in a general way, to imply that he was talking of the caucus proper.
The pig stamped her feet. She snorted through her snout. She looked piercingly into the monkeys eyes. “Well one of these days, I WILL be president, just you wait and see,” she said finally.
At this, the monkey took a step back, reproachingly. “Now, now, my friend. No need to make idle threats. All I’m doing is explaining to you how the world works, don’t put the blame on me if it doesn’t suit your choices. Getting angry won’t get you anywhere. And with that, I bid you adieu, good friend.” Having said so, the monkey and the pig parted ways.
The pig trotted back home to the trough from which she and the other pigs would feed. As she approached for her evening meal, some monkeys were filling the trough with slop.
“I say,” said one monkey to the other, “rather not sure why we have to give all this slop to the pigs. What do they do for us after all?”
“Well would you eat it?” joked the other, poking the first monkey in the ribs.
“Oh, of course not,” said the first, hooting at his joke, “I eat at a table, like ALL good mannered animals.”
“So what does it matter than, eh?” furthered the other, questioningly.
“Well, it’s just, if pigs are to eat our food too, I just don’t see why they shouldn’t try a little harder to fit in. After all, they don’t HAVE to eat at this trough, they’re perfectly welcome at the table too, if they were to learn the proper ways of behaving. None of this grunting and stamping nonsense. It’s really not that hard,” the first replied indignantly.
“Perhaps you’re right,” concluded the other, “If only they acted more like monkeys none of this would have to happen at all.”
Moral: Monkeys can go fuck themselves.
So much of what we say and believe goes unexamined in life. People, as I see it, tend to live between two versions of reality. The first is the patently bigoted reality, in which one openly declares hatred for other people. Live in this world, and surely you will be rightly declared a bigot by society, even while you enjoy some comfort amongst others of a similar nature.
At the other end of the scale, is the imagined reality of total equality, in which “all men live as brothers” (and if you can’t see the obvious problem with that common phrase then you’re not really paying attention). Mostly and largely, I think it’s fair to say, that most people would, at least ostensibly, agree with this stand point. Even if it’s purely for purposes of self interest and wanting to maintain the delusion that each person could themselves crawl their way to the top of the pile, all the way to wanting some type of true equality for the goodness of all, there are many reasons why people generally believe this is a good thing.
In reality, though, in spite of loud and raucous claims to the opposite and condemnation of both camps from either side, the world isn’t like either of these, nor, as is often asserted, a clearly divided conglomerate of both. In some ways, the out and out bigots help reinforce the delusion amongst the “more enlightened”, through showing by comparison how much more enlightened those folks are, and diminishing the bigotry that is extant and omnipresent in their own lives. In doing so, this duality serves to further, regardless of any intent, the needs of the privileged, while at the same time creating the perfect narrative to both hate the disenfranchised and boorish, as well as to silence the critics, that exist as truly enlightened to the nature of the world, from disturbing the hidden reality that silently benefits them.
Personality, far from being an objectively measurable quantity, is the mystical oil that greases the gears of this silent bigotry. Virtues such as good manners, an even temperement and eloquent grammar, are such a deeply ingrained TRUTH in essentially all of us, that any sort of analysis seems a forgone conclusion. In fact, such things are the CORNERSTONE upon which almost all other orthodox arguments on the topic of equality are based. I suggest that it wouldn’t seem entirely distorted to suggest that equality, in the neo-modern sense, could be described as that state in society, in which, each and every person has the same opportunity for success, given they act in the same mannerisms and with the same temperament (incidental luck aside).
Here is where so-called “equality” gets thorny though. After all, who gets to decide upon which mannerisms ALL people will be judged? How is this conundrum resolved if there is disagreement? Does it revert to the dominant class? And, to take this analysis further, if a member of a minor class is in disagreement with the dominant culture, what happens if the dominant culture believes disagreement to be a bad manner? Therein lies the mind trap…after all, consider the case that a person is completely convinced of the dominant cultural norms. How could one, using reason alone, break that trap?
Nowhere is this kind of thinking more apparent than in the political arena. It almost goes without saying, that almost all personal traits are of benefit to the politician, but none is quite so ABSOLUTELY necessary as that of cultural mannerisms. The history of the collapse of political careers, is the history of politicians being labelled as jerks and scum. Yes, some times there are coinciding criticisms of political decisions, but almost ALWAYS there is corresponding criticisms of personality. This is even within the incredibly finite spectrum of personalities that are even considered worthy of entering the political arena.
After all, as the argument generally goes, politics requires such lofty things as maintaining favour, and forging relations. Therefore charisma (or at least a large enough collection of individual’s definitions of charisma) is almost an absolute requirement for the role. Being a good person is simply not enough.
Of course, this becomes self reinforcing. Those who are oppressed by the current political climate are naturally angrier, one of the most demonised personality traits, and hence representation becomes atrophied amongst them. Given this, it is completely self serving to try and separate the issues from the personality traits. Claiming you are not a bigot, and making arguments to the effect of “I agree with their opinion but you won’t get anywhere acting like that” is hypocritical at best, and oppressive and discriminatory at worst.
And then there’s the whole issue of being groomed towards certain cultural standards. Is it any wonder that children of the rich find it easier to “fit in” in the political arena when it’s already so much closer a leap from their (raised from birth) natural position? At this point it becomes apparent that one of the biggest forces reinforcing the class divide is not money but the CULTURE OF CULTURAL STANDARDS that are given to the rich FROM BIRTH, and reinforced by the private education system, to be used as keys to the kingdom.
After all, in a world of pigs and monkeys, equality can never be considered just if we define equality by the terms of the monkeys. Or, to put it in the words of one of the greatest writers in modern history:
“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” George Orwell, Animal Farm