Opinion: Can we learn from the apes?

Marvin Logan is a senior Pan-African studies major and a columnist for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected]

Marvin Logan

In light of recent events in the world involving social conflicts, I have decided to examine the film “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.” Let’s take a look at the main character, Caesar, the leader of the apes. He has lead the other apes from abuse and captivity to a successful and thriving village. Caesar was born into captivity but was raised in the home of the doctor who had been working on medicine with Caesar’s mother. Caesar is genetically superior to other apes with high intelligence, strength and the ability to form words. 

Caesar was able to share very fond memories with his human family. He saw the best of what humans can be until he was discovered by other humans and became an outcast. Insert the antagonist from the film, Koba. Koba begins as Caesar’s second in command. He spent his entire life as a test subject and had been tortured constantly. While in the lab, Koba only saw the negative side of humans. He had a much slanted view of the human race. This caused him to feel hatred and distrust toward them. He would eventually challenge Caesar’s love and trust of humans. This conflict sizzled throughout the entire film and eventually led to a betrayal and battle between the two. So I pose this question: What can we learn from this conflict? 

The conflict between Caesar and Koba is very complex. You have one who has had an opportunity to see a wide spectrum of human emotion: love, compassion, jealousy, fear, anger and greed. 

Koba, on the other hand, has only ever seen human narrow-mindedness and cruelty. The twist here comes from the humans in the film, expressing both sides of good and bad. The biggest factor in the conflict is communication. The effectiveness, desire, or lack of communication plays the strings of the conflict. 

In today’s society, how well do we facilitate communication? Whether verbal or non-verbal, we constantly communicate and send messages. What messages are you sending every day? Are they ones of positivity and growth or are they negative and stunting?

I think many conflicts we see today are all about communication. Take Ferguson, MI for example. Look at how this conflict has been facilitated to the public. On one hand, you have Michael Brown being portrayed as a victim, a young man with the world in front of him. Just days away from heading off to college, he was gunned down by a police officer. Then view the other side: Michael Brown, a violent thief who attacked a police officer. The officer fired on Brown because he feared for his life. 

What side do you believe? Have you ever been a victim? Have you experienced police brutality? What side is right/wrong? We as human beings have been challenged to question our morality in these times of conflict. Whether it is in Ferguson, Mo., Dayton, Ohio, or Gaza, Egypt we must challenge ourselves to see through our own experience and bias to find our moral code. My challenge to you is not to prescribe to a specific moral code but to identify one and challenge to improve on it every day. Do that, and you can change the world.