What havoc can a load of hairless monkeys with the brains of a minor deity wreak on a habitable planet? I was moved to this thought by a coincidence, the same theme popping up in the novel I'm currently reading, and the poetry book:
Oh for far-off monkeyland,
ripe monkeybread on baobabs,
and the wind strums out monkeytunes
from monkeywindow monkeybars.
Monkeyheroes rise and fight
in monkeyfield and monkeysquare,
have monkeypatients crying there.
Macaque, gorilla, chimpanzee,
baboon, orangutan, each beast
reads his monkeynewssheet at
the end of each twilight repast.
With monkeysupper memories
the monkeyouthouse rumbles, hums,
monkeysquaddies start to march,
right turn, left turn, shoulder arms—
reflected in each monkeyface,
with monkeygun in monkeyfist
the monkeys' world the world we face.
From Monkeyland by Sandor Weores,
translated by Edwin Morgan
The Steppenwolf’s look pierced our whole epoch, its whole overwrought activity, the whole surge and strife, the whole vanity, the whole superficial play of a shallow, opinionated intellectuality. And alas! The look went still deeper, went far below the faults, defects and hopelessness of our time, our intellect, our culture alone. It went right to the heart of all humanity, it bespoke eloquently in a single second the whole despair of a thinker, of one who knew the full worth and meaning of man’s life. It said, “See what monkeys we are! Look, such is man!” and at once all renown, all intelligence, all the attainments of the spirit, all progress towards the sublime, the great and the enduring in man fell away and became a monkey’s trick.
From Steppenwolf by Herman Hesse