Why Bonobos Don’t Kill Each Other

10 JULY 2010

Why Bonobos Don’t Kill Each Other

James W. Prescott, Ph.D.
Institute of Humanistic Science

In an Interview with Brian Hare, an assistant professor at the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences at Duke University, and Vanessa Woods, a research scientist in the Department of Evolutionary Anthropology at Duke by Claudia Dreifus, New York Times. July 2, 2010, the following exchange illustrates the disconnect between violence and killing with sexuality and their roots in the maternal-infant/child relationship. Brian Hare missed the central lesson of the Bonobo when he responded to Vanessa Woods’s commentary on Bonobo sexuality:


Genital Mutilation of Children is Torture

Pain and Pleasure has evolved over the millennia to protect, safeguard and promote life in all stages of development. The later bio-cultural evolution of the neocortical brain induced a fatal mal-adaptation that transformed Pain into a moral good and Pleasure into a moral evil. Pain, suffering and deprivation of the Body became essential for personal salvation and Pleasures of the Body were the sources of personal damnation. The theistic religions transformed our body biology into the enemy of earthly existence for the sake of supernatural salvation. This fundamental perversion of evolutionary biology crystallized and reinforced itself in The Crucifixion


Pleasure, Pain, Bonding & The Developing Brain

If we have pleasurable sensory stimulation then that’s the brain ingrams, the templates that will be stored and they will be images of pleasure. If they are painful they’re going to be images of pain and pain evokes violent responses. But there is something else that evokes violent responses and that’s the absence of pleasure. And that’s really different then the sensory experience of pain, and most people don’t really yet appreciate that distinction.

And in fact, more damage occurs with the sensory deprivation of pleasure than the actual experiencing of physical painful trauma, which in fact could be handled quite well in individuals who were brought up with a great deal of physical affectional bonding and pleasure which carries with it emotional trust and security.