Primates and People

Posted to Subscribers on 21 January 2012


Dear Subscribers,

Well, this week has been half like a vacation. Monday was a holiday and we were snowed in from Wednesday through Friday. There were no pick ups or deliveries so if you were expecting prompt arrival of something you ordered, there is a very good chance you won't receive the parcel until this coming week. My apologies for the inconvenience.

Snow can be quite thrilling. It looks so pure and the air smells so good, but many people were without power, internet connections, and heat. My house was 62 degrees max, but I slept a bit more than usual and did some things that did not require me to be fully "connected". Next week will obviously be catch up time! We pay!!!

You surprised me by your response to what I wrote about Barack Obama Sr. A few of you did not realize that I was talking about Senior. I have never met the person living on Pennsylvania Avenue and actually, if the truth be known, hope this never happens. Frankly, I don't see any resemblance between the two whose names appear to be the same.

Meanwhile, my mind has been all over the place, as usual! One obsession has been with what we might call "culture-free" thinking and evaluating. During these exceptionally quiet evenings, I managed to watch some enchanting videos of an absolutely charming ape named Kanzi. It all started with a link someone sent me and on the youtube sidebar, there was a link to Koko, a gorilla about whom I have written in times long past. It felt like time to check back with Koko and there Kanzi appeared:

The researchers seem a bit strange to me because they appeared to be obsessed with the intelligence of primates as measured in human terms. They are not asking the apes questions about themselves, each other, or their perceptions of humans. They want to count words, assess intellect on the basis of vocabulary, and so on and so forth.

Now the detour. In 1968, I drove a Land Rover from England to India where I was to arrive before the end of the year to assume a new position as Special Assistant to the Ambassador for Low-End Poverty. One of my jobs involved what was then the largest research project ever to be performed in India. I had 55 graduate students from Hyderabad University working for me plus some statisticians and team supervisors, all Indian except for one biostatistician in Ankara whom I also had to visit. The goal was to determine whether the school lunch program — called "Food for Peace" by Americans and "Surplus Agricole" by the French — had any effect whatsoever on children in three states in India: Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, and Punjab. We had to determine whether there was any difference at all between children who received the lunches, i.e., were they taller, did they weigh more, were their IQs higher (or lower), did they attend school more often, were their siblings able to eat more because one child in the family received a meal at school, etc., etc., etc.

Being observant rather than intellectual, I was quick to see that the IQ tests were traumatizing. The children were not used to working independently. They did not understand at all that the answers could not be provided by groups of 5-6 children. When we tried to get them to take the tests by themselves, some of the students were close to psychological breaking points. It was so unnatural for them that they feared, not the result, which was of course meaningless to them, but rather the isolation from cooperative endeavors. Obviously, I was deeply touched and realized immediately that cooperation is actually far preferable to competition. Later, I learned that Japanese schools permit a large number of tasks to be performed by groups. It is actually good experience for everyone since the world needs cooperation much more than it needs competition.

Mind you, I was young, only 26, and was conversant with the business school models which make heroes of those who drive the competition out of business or eat up the competitors through mergers and acquisitions. So, I was almost in awe of village life, but the next problem was the IQ tests were impossible for the children. One example will suffice. If a child is shown a car with a flat tire, he/she is expected to notice the flat and correctly identify the problem. In these villages, most of them very remote, there were children who had never seen a car until I arrived in my Land Rover. They had never seen a blonde or a woman wearing slacks (and kurta) because this was South India. I was enough of a shock for them, but I went back to Delhi and explained that the tests would not work. We needed to replace the cars with bullock carts and rethink the idea that intelligence can be measured in our terms.

The children were also highly reactive to spatial relationships that were not taken very seriously in the standard tests. If a man was significantly taller than his wife, this was interpreted as domineering by the children. The distance between them in the picture was also highly significant to them. I immediately realized that the way their minds work is different and it equips them properly for the worlds in which they live.

Now, if you watch Kanzi, you will be amazed because the toddler bonobo appeared to be playing while his mother was "in class" but it seems he osmosed everything they thought they were teaching his mother. This guy is really charming so I hope you watch.

I have no opinion whatsoever on whether we humans evolved from apes. For all I care, we might have devolved from something or other also. We should not limit our perceptions of ourselves or anyone else. However, I was unaware that primates are so close to humans that we can actually be safely transfused with ape blood.

Humans appear to be unique in terms of their use of language, but as we know, our languages are truly a nightmare of Babel and whatnot. If instead we were to have direct insight and understanding and a holographic take on our encounters, we would realize that language can be a limiting factor rather than a faithful measure of our intelligence. In any event, it is created in only one part of the brain and spewed out in multiple complexities of sound and syntax.

Well, I stayed up late one night and watched another video. This one was about whether or not we ever landed on the Moon. I have long been convinced that this "famous" event, reported to me early one morning by my dhobi in India, never took place. I am always interested in contrary views so I watched the video, but what made the effort worthwhile was an interview with the Russian cosmonaut Valery Uvarov who was asked about alien abductions. He said that the aliens — many of them surrounding the Mir Space Station — have no need for abductions because they are capable of taking holographic images of anything and from these, they understand everything they need to know. I have no doubt that this is how we would all perceive if we were operating from a higher chakra than is currently the case.

For those who are interested, here is the video:

Now for one more modest apology. is currently undergoing massive overhaul. It will take another few weeks to complete, but there will be some pages with the new design and some with the old while this progresses. There is also going to be a totally new questionnaire . . . sit tight. You are going to be amazed when I pull all this together. In the meantime, the old questionnaire works, but I always planned this to move through three stages so the quantum leap is coming . . . as are some new Ayurvedic herbs IF the snow melts! These include Shankhapushpi and Vidanga, both in extract form.

Now to my opera.

Many blessings,



Copyright by Ingrid Naiman 2012







Seventh Ray Press
Copyright by Ingrid Naiman 2012

Home || Contact Us

No content on any of the pages of this web site may be reproduced without written permission of
Ingrid Naiman and Seventh Ray Press, publisher of this site.


Design by Damien Francoeur