Of course, Facebook is an admittedly poor example because the Monkeysphere is rather more complex, and not to mention smaller. However, both of them have at least one thing in common: we are more connected to those within the group compared to those out of it. This means that, while we become saddened by the death of a close friend or family member (who is in our Monkeysphere), the death of a stranger (who is not in the Monkeysphere) as reported in the news will not elicit the same response from us. It also means that, try as we might, we simply are unable to care for everyone in the world; our brains just cannot cope with all that information.
Instead, we only show concern for those who are within range of our individual Monkeyspheres. The salesman who comes knocking at your door isn’t in your sphere, so you shut the door in his face before he finishes introducing himself. The driver in front of you isn’t in your sphere either, so when he decides to stop suddenly for no apparent reason, you angrily sound your honk at him. The lady at the supermarket who rolls her trolley of goods over your foot and walks away without apologising gets a nice shelling from you because she, too, isn’t in your sphere. Never mind that they are all humans like all of us. Never mind that the salesman might be betting on you being his last client so that he can go home to his family. Never mind that the driver who stopped in the middle of the road might have done it for a genuine, acceptable reason. It’s only when you stop and think about them as humans that they suddenly become closer to your Monkeysphere, and you feel for them. It’s not that we’re immoral, despicable things – we’re just hardwired to function in smaller societies – look at how villages live in peace; it’s because their populations are so small that everyone is in each other’s Monkeyspheres. And just like how you did not care for those people, they probably don’t care for you either.
That lady who rolled your foot over? You’re out of her Monkeysphere, so she couldn’t care less if you got a bruise or had your entire foot flattened. This is how we have been living for the past thousands of years – woefully ignorant of those outside our Monkeyspheres.
So how does David come into the picture? Well, seeing as he is only human (however we might want to argue that he is more than human), David has his own Monkeysphere too. Consequently, he, too, is incapable of caring for everyone in the world at the same time – or at any given time for that matter. Even David, who has tried so hard to change so many lives for the better, would have made some lives worse off at some point or another, regardless of whether or not he was aware of it – all of us have. However, the question that remains is: do we want to continue living inside the lines of our Monkeyspheres? Or do we do it David-style – that is, to go out of our ways to be nice to everyone around ourselves, even if they really don’t deserve it sometimes? Perhaps we all might want to take a step back and consider emulating David, if we haven’t already been doing that from the start.
Oh, and if you’d like a more detailed explanation about the Monkeysphere, check out this blog:
and also this one:
The second blog is a lot more detailed, but its language is also somewhat blunt so don’t say I didn’t warn you! Anyway, that’s about it for now. Thanks for reading; and if you have some time on your hands, why not spare a bit of it to talk about the Monkeysphere and what you think of it?