STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
Democracy and Baboons
By Philippe Gastonne - June 25, 2015

Perhaps baboons should run for office. Researchers tracking a troop of wild olive baboons have found that the primates make travel decisions democratically when disagreements arise over which direction to go.

The findings, published in the journal Science, could help shed light on the evolution of group decision-making in a variety of social animals living in hierarchical structures — humans included.

Researchers have long wondered how animals that live in complex social groups make collective decisions. For example, do certain members take the lead or not? How does a group decide what to do when two or more parties don't agree? – Los Angeles Times, June 18, 2015

After reading the quote above, our first thought was that baboons already have run for office and even won. This would explain legislative behavior in many democratic countries. Scientists missed the opportunity to study this, however, by focusing instead on furry Kenyan baboons.

They found two factors help baboon groups decide which putative leader to follow: how widely the two paths diverge, and how many other baboons agreed with each leader.

Much like humans, baboons split the difference when competing leaders try to take them in roughly similar directions. They take a middle path. When the difference is wide, however, they follow whichever leader has more baboon followers.

This is remarkably similar to human political behavior. When we see little difference between candidates for office, we choose a middle ground by not voting. When the contrast between candidates is greater, we tend to vote the way our families, neighbors and others around us vote.

The pattern suggests a strategy for minority parties. The best way to gain supporters is to show a clear and convincing difference with the ruling regime. "I'm like him, but better" is not a winning message. A certain number of baboons want something significantly different. They will not be a majority, but they will be a start.

Wandering through the jungle may seem pointless at first, but in so doing, these baboon dissident groups might find each other. Eventually, they might grow strong enough to displace the entrenched majority baboons.

Paradoxically, losing may be the first step to winning, at least for baboons. Maybe it is true for humans, too.

Posted in STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
  • Doc

    I wish a baboon would rule over the imposter I get today, definitely an upgrade.

  • Centurian

    And, interestingly, a large group of Baboons is called a “Congress.” How fitting!

    • Bruce C.

      An outstanding observation.

  • William Scott

    “This is remarkably similar to human political behavior. When we see little difference between candidates for office, we choose a middle ground by not voting. When the contrast between candidates is greater, we tend to vote the way our families, neighbors and others around us vote…” This is a GOOD POINT… although fewer and fewer of us can be counted on to ‘vote’ predictably, these days… if at all? And as I saw no reason to vote from the mid ’80s forward, I likely never will? (Since the game is RIGGED… and I knew it, from age 18+ 😉

    And as we again see in the USA… there will be ONE ‘publicized’ Social Democrat… and TO MANY Fascist ‘Republicans,’ leaving no clear LEADER (by number of electoral votes cast, not that ANY of the so- called ‘choices’ are an actual choice for ‘the people’s interests, as we ALL well know) after all the TV+ media HYPE for Rockerfellar / CFR / RIIA’s CHOICE to promote in say 2016… I’m sure it’s a ‘foregone conclusion,’ after Bilderberger… and they’ll soon give say Hillary the lion’s share of MSM+ media coverage, since ‘the winner’ was already CHOSEN in advance, as par! And in the odd event that the numbers aren’t 10%+/- in favor of whatever direction they next want the pendellum to swing (to temporarily apease the serfs… not that it matters, of course, in a two- party ‘bought and paid for’ system) and as many of us also know, it’s all RIGGED ELECTRONICALLY now, as well ! Perhaps we should GO BACK to small ‘like- minded’ clans, or at least PRE ‘mob rule’ existentialism, with ‘state sanctioned/created religion’ and central governace thought to be needed to ‘control’ large MASSES of humans? (There are BETTER OPTIONS already used/proven, afterall… but the Romanesque Crown/ RCC aren’t about to ‘go quietly…’) Regardless… it’s become FAR TO EASY for the PTB to create ‘memes,’ or play the PRS (Hegelian dielectic) card…

    The only ‘counterbalance’ that ‘pulls any weight’ I can see on four hours rest (if I’m not just being ‘lazy’?) is that TECHNOLOGY has made it NEARLY as easy for those of us who ‘pay attention’ to likewise ‘become aware of’ their agendas… then POINT IT OUT to others, often now in near ‘real time!’ Aside from that, the ‘bread and circuses’ approach was wearing THIN, decades ago… and FEW want ‘global government,’ so with an estimated 7.3 billion primates in the human ‘collective,’ the PTB had better WAKE UP before the SHTF… or ‘good luck’ rolling- out the ‘planned (passe’) agenda,’ because it’s NEVER GONNA FLY with ANY number (even under 1000) humans… And REAL (vs. rewitten) HISTORY, proves my POINT… How or WHY the so- called ‘elites’ are still PUSHING against the TIDE (of change, we need to ‘evolve’ and SURVIVE as a species) is beyond ‘logical, or rational’ comprehension. Perhaps they’ll finally ‘get it’ as they’re being taken to ‘supermax’ prisons, ‘pre trial’ ? I’ve always thought that the ‘ability to reason’ (aka: ‘rationalize’) was a dual- edged WEAPON, at best… since as long as people can ‘escape reality’ in their ‘denialist’ (rationalized) MINDS they aren’t really DEALING WITH THE ISSUES, at hand! (Plugs in the dam, are afterall… JUST THAT.) Fortunately for the PTB… ‘modern’ humans can now be better ‘conditioned’ to follow an ‘authority figure’ with foolish ideas, that simply won’t ‘stand the test of time…’ unlike the more ‘free choice, equal say’ baboons, or any ‘tribe’ making survive and thrive decisions, for example.

    • Hey You

      But really, are we not the super race?

      • William Scott

        Hmmm… Ze uber “primates?!’ I thought we ‘killed them OFF’ a few thousand years, before the Roman ‘written record?’ I’m still wondering if ‘we’ aren’t actual a ‘hybrid’ race???’ (Either that… or the true FREAKS, of ‘nature’ ?!?) If we could make the ‘giant leap forward… ‘ then perhaps we’ll finally ‘progress,’ in consciousness? However if we contine to allow the current PTB to ‘rule over us like ‘feudal serfs’ (and their criminally insane ‘system,’ yet endures) then clearly, all will soon be LOST???

  • Samarami

    This is good, Philippe — you deserve an “A” for the course!

    As an educator — long after leaving “religion” in the dust — I had questioned the “theory-of-evolution” from every perspective. I was particularly suspicious of the way “evolutionary” ideological lingo had begun to creep into topics far removed from science — in an eerie, weird sort of “intellectual” pattern. This was also years prior to my exposure to (or the existence of) Daily Bell, the glossary, dominant social themes

    http://www.thedailybell.com/definitions/params/id/652/

    or memes.

    http://www.thedailybell.com/definitions/params/id/654/

    Like, if one so much as questioned the “science” — the lingua franca — s/he would be a numb-fung, not worthy of consideration for acceptance into the realm of structural academe. S/he shouldn’t be allowed to teach young people.

    Well, I simply had not taken the time to note the analogy with the idea of the legitimacy of government — partisan politics in particular. I was a government (“public” ha ha) teacher after all.

    Yes, the “science” of politics is genuine. The congress of baboons indeed have an evolutionary message for us all. Even dinosaurs — so prevalent for all children to see and “discover” wherever one looks — have validity within the spectrum of electile dysfunction.

    I’m a piltdown supporter. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piltdown_Man

    Abstain from beans, my dear friends.

    http://www.anarchism.net/anarchism_abstainfrombeans.htm

    Sam

  • 2prickit

    The meme– Authority of Science:

    “Using these collars [on politicians], the scientists could track in a precise way what happened when a leading baboon first went, say, left or right — and what happened if another baboon simultaneously decided to go another way”. However in the case of the present elite, committee prepared, top down control of the entire human organization, the scientists have been collared for some time now and rewarded for their support of elite collectivist promotions.

    Seeking answerers to the great mysteries does seemingly take precedence over the more mundane common interests of individuals, —distracting annoyance— ability to keep track common sense matters, and keep track of the double speak of their representatives and administrators. But today, with proper use of the internet, concerned individuals have immediate access to their representatives, and, collectively with the use of lobbying, may collar the loose politician.

  • I don’t usually do this, but it illustrates the point.

    The Simpson’s Parody “Stop the Planet of the Apes, I Want to Get Off!”

    Song: “You’ll Never Make a Monkey Out of Me”

    Troy: [singing] I hate every ape I see
    From chimpan-a to chimpan-zee
    No, you’ll never make a monkey out of me
    Oh my God, I was wrong
    It was Earth all along
    You’ve finally made a monkey
    Apes: Yes, we’ve finally made a monkey
    Troy: Yes, you’ve finally made a monkey out of me
    Apes: Yes, we’ve finally made a monkey out of you
    Troy: I love you, Dr. Zaius!

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