“Many creatures bear the outward form of a man, but do not be fooled by appearances. Not all such life-forms can be considered human.”
- Frank Herbert
American author, futurist, skeptic, tekgnostic saint and illustrious proponent of the eight circuit model of consciousness: Robert Anton Wilson was fond of describing Homo sapiens as: “Domesticated Primates.” In so doing, he was reminding us of our shared, evolutionary mammalian attributes. His description was not necessarily flattering. Using a then-contemporary, science fiction film title analogy, he described humanity’s existential circumstances as: living on the “Planet of the Apes.”
Similarly, American research pharmacognosist, ethno-pharmacologist, and psychedelic advocate, Dennis McKenna has often described Homo sapiens as: “Problematic Primates.” McKenna’s depiction emphasizes humanity’s ignorance of our place within, and impact upon, our homeworld. To quote McKenna: “The human species is an anomaly in nature. Our hypertrophied brains have made us highly linguistic, immensely creative, and enormously clever… but we also devalue nature. This disjunct has created problems for us as a species and for the entire biospheric community.”
These two luminaries’ colorful descriptions of humanity were likely inspired by the Buddhist concept of the “Monkey Mind.” This expression illustrates the unsettled, restless, capricious, whimsical, inconstant; confused… and the resulting indecisive and uncontrollable nature of most of humanity. The mind-monkey metaphor was consequently adopted in Taoism and Neo-Confucianism, as well as in the poetry, drama, and literature of archaic China and Japan.
“We all have monkey minds” suggests a fashionable pop-Buddhist anecdote… “with dozens of monkeys all clamoring for attention. Fear is an especially loud monkey, sounding the alarm incessantly, pointing out all the things we should be wary of and everything that could go wrong.” This “fear monkey” metaphor is especially poignant in our modern, conspiratorial, brave noö world. Fear continues to be a particularly problematic bugaboo within the human psyche.
The monkey mind is a powerful metaphor precisely because it is a universal one. Many cultures use the monkey archetype to illustrate superficial, unaware and copycat behavior. Proverbial examples include “Monkey see, monkey do” and the infamous “See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” monks. Within such philosophic and meditative systems as Taoism and Zen, the monkey mind is the undisciplined, un-evolved mind.
Use of the monkey-mind metaphor, challenges us to rise above our primate, animal nature, to become truly human. As Frank Herbert famously said in his epic science fiction novel: Dune… Many creatures bear the outward form of a man, but do not be fooled by appearances. Not all such life-forms can be considered human. In that ground-breaking piece of science fiction, Herbert also famously said … “Fear is the mind-killer.”
The implication of the monkey mind suggests that there exists, a higher mind that is available… if not inherent… to humanity. Applied Tek-Gnostics identifies tools and technologies that ameliorate the negative impact that fear has upon the normal functioning of the domesticated primate. By incorporating the intelligence engineering techniques outlined, the intrepid psychonaut will discover the ways and means to quiet the incessant, fear-based chatter of the monkey mind. And in so doing, the courageous intelligence engineer enhances her/his level of accessible intelligence or Intel… from which to navigate our Brave Noö World.