You really should go and see the movie, Chimpanzees!
You should see it not just for the beauty of the photography, the snappy narration, or the trendy music but also for the love story that it tells. It is a rare one and to find it and be able to film it was quite a feat.
It is the story of Oscar, the baby chimp whose mother loves and protects him while teaching him the way to survive as he develops. Normal for mothers. When she disappears and is probably killed he is left alone, spends his time seeking her, not being able to find food and eat, and loses weight. He tries to have other chimp females care for him but they fend him off taking care of their own. Different from some other species, including our own. What happens next is the amazing connection that the alpha male who may have been his father, (we are never told), takes him under his care! This male protects and cares for him in a nurturing, loving manner that is beautiful and astonishing to behold.
So, how does this relate to us?… First of all they or orangutans, are our closest relatives in the animal kingdom. We share much of our DNA and behavior with them. And there is much to contemplate about the role of males in child rearing. The question becomes, can they do as well as a mother? Can a big strong alpha male have the ability to be tender and loving in such a significant way? Is his image enhanced or detracted from as a result? Does the ‘child” grow and become the adult he is capable of becoming from this experience? What about a female being “raised” by a male alone?
I don’t pretend to have the answers and only want us all to entertain the ideas.
What it also brought to mind was how any mother, i.e. Susan Smith, could have killed her young boys. She did it for another love…a man that didn’t want her with those children. How can a mother bear, nurture, and then destroy her own children? Another enigma.
Love and sex and power make the world go round, and even though I believe this planet won’t last another hundred years the quality of nurturing children is the only answer to continuation of all our species. There were about one million chimpanzees in Uganda in 1960 and today there is a fifth of that number.
Let’s follow the chimps example of loving in this significant way and maybe we can all survive..Better!