Thursday, June 03, 2010


macaques allogrooming

I once suggested in jest that the reason origami is so successful in calming people and bringing out conciliatory instincts is that humans are basically primates, and a calming activity that used to take up a lot of time in our social life--allogrooming--disappeared without a trace once we lost our body hair. There’s been no good replacement ever since, and origami is the first thing in a while that even comes close. All that intense concentration and fussing with fingers in a social context over something small that needs puzzling out. --Of course no one was really meant to take this sort of idea seriously... least of all me…

snagged from Dave Brill's Freising photoset. Thanks Dave!


Anonymous said...

If I remember well, in "The naked ape", Desmond Morris says that allogrooming has been substituted, as an everyday social behaviour, by the ordinary chatting... So, although not really serious, I think that D.Morris might be really interested in your BLOG entry!

All the best, from BIlbao
José Ig. Royo

saadya said...

Hola Ignacio!

No doubt Desmond Morris is right. And yet: each time I see that "allogrooming" posture in animals I wonder, 'where have I seen that before in humans?' And each time I see it among origamians I ask: is there any other activity--like, say, using a needle and thread (which also involves 'concentration' and 'fingers') that generates quite the same "look"? I don't think so.... That's as far as I'm willing to take this

Cheers to you all in Bilbao

from sunny Beersheva