12 comments on “Monkeysphere

  1. Zach

    May I start off by telling you that I love your article – not only has it provoked my thoughts profoundly, it has also reminded me of what I am.

    “It’s only when you think about them as humans that they suddenly become closer to your Monkeysphere and you feel for them”.
    – A simple sentence but it holds so much truth – and this truth has followed me throughout my life.

    Several times when the car I was driving bumped into the car infront of me, the first thing I always said to the driver was, “Are you alright? Are you hurt?”
    Followed by “I’m so sorry”.
    This concern – and show of concern – immediately put that driver into a friendlier frame of mind and the subsequent exchange was done amicably and sometimes we even become friends!
    However, I do not receive a similar sort of attitude or concern when things happen the other way round.

    I am kind and considerate to my family and friends and all those people who I have collected to be within my so-called Monkeysphere, the number of which, as you say, the brain is unable to handle more than 150 – my point is, how much “caring” is considered “real caring”?
    Take the example I just mentioned – did I include that driver in my Monkeysphere since I worried about his welfare after the accident?

    In my opinion, having family and immediate friends and caring for them is well and good, but people one meets sporadically through brief encounters in our daily lives also mean something special – the experience with them, how ever brief, teach us something and enrich our lives.
    I have made “friends” after some brief encounters – an occasional “bumping into each other” has brought about a cheerful conversation or a cup of coffee together and sharing stories – have I included people like these in my so-called Monkeysphere?

    I’m more into a Universal-Sphere of kindness and consideration. No, we cannot possibly be “nice” to everyone (especially if they are nasty – in which case we would rather say ‘good riddance’ to them) or give hands-on caring to everyone we meet (hey we have only 24 hours a day haha!) – but we can treat everyone we meet as human beings – whether they are familily, friends or encounters.

    Just 2 questions Zach –
    – How has David “made some of our lives worse off”? Hehe.. perhaps I’ve misunderstood? 😀
    – I haven’t gone through the blogs you posted yet, but why do they term it “Monkeysphere”? – something to do with monkeys grouping together? 😀

  2. Well, the part about David will be better explained by the blogs than me, haha. The Monkeysphere deals with more than just the people that are in our immediate vicinity – it covers everything we interact with, that has a human behind it. Whether we are driving, going to the bank, eating at a restaurant, watching TV, surfing the Net – it all affects a human being somehow or other. It’s a very complex model that I have insufficiently explained in the article above, lol. But if you can see how large a scale this Monkeysphere is at, you’ll also know how we can wrong a person, even if accidentally.

    As for the term ‘Monkeysphere’, it was derived from…monkeys. That’s because researchers erm, dissected monkeys’ brains and found out that monkeys can only function optimally in a certain group size – this was how they came up with the Monkeysphere model. Then they used this number to estimate the size of OUR Monkeysphere – I guess they didn’t want to change the name to Humansphere or something. 😉

  3. Great article Zach!
    Never knew there was such a concept as ‘monkeysphere’. Our close cousins must have been subjected to gruesome experiments just to decide the size of their ‘contacts’! Anita Roddick would be turning in her grave if she knew.

    My own sphere, monkey or otherwise, is considerably smaller than 150 :-). Although I suspect that such a sphere would change as you go along depending on the number of people and circumstances that you come up against.

    I read the article that was posted by rossdecker.tumblr and I agree that governments, corporations and other authorities are basically faceless entities and we never think of them as ‘people’ and we wouldn’t turn down the chance to screw them if it benefited us. On the other hand we would find it pretty hard to take advantage of a loved one or even a close neighbour. Maybe we should widen our monkeysphere and include such heinous ‘people’ as the IRB/Police/Govt etc so that we would think twice maybe even thrice before we offer bribes or engage in other corrupt practices. If we thought of other motorists/pedestrians as people then we probably wouldn’t think of jumping queues or running a red light. But i guess it’s rather hard to think of the sea of humanity out there as ‘people’. Could we cull them and pare them down to size so that the numbers are more manageable?!(Humanity’s version of the monkeysphere experiment!)
    Otherwise they’re just too far removed from our consciousness and immediate circle for us to bother much about them. Maybe if everybody tried to widen their monkeysphere then the world would truly be peaceful, harmonious and rid of conflicts and tension. But that’s a tall order to ask of 6 billion souls and counting 🙂

    As for David I doubt his monkeysphere would really include any of us. Collectively we’re just a heaving mass of biology called ‘fans’ which is understandable. But would that mean that he is eminently capable of ‘screwing’ us if he could?! ( I’m waiting breathless for the brickbats to be thrown at me! 🙂 )

  4. Haha, that’s the whole catch: we’re unable to think of the 6 billion (I think it’s 7 now) people on Earth as…well, people. Not collectively, at least. Blame biology for that – our brains are far too small to include everyone. And as for David not having us in his Monkeysphere…well John, I actually wanted to post that but I didn’t see how I could make it sound nice so I omitted it from the article, lol! But yes, he can certainly ‘screw’ us if he has a reason to do so. 🙂

  5. Zach,

    Interesting topic! Now I understand why there are far far less than 150 people in my monkeysphere. I think my brain has set a certain number or do I consider myself fussy and picky on who my friends are??

    As for David – I knew all along I’m a total stranger to him, so no surprise I’m not included in his monkeysphere. LOL… As you mentioned whether could we emulate David-style?? Yes, we certainly can if we allow strangers into our monkeysphere just for a brief seconds (depending on our moods) just like David did during his M&G. It’s part of his job to meet – to paraphrase John, heaving mass of biology called “fans”. 🙂

  6. First time I’m hearing of Monkeysphere as well. But very interesting to think about. The way I read it though is that “incapable of caring” does not really equate to “not giving a care” because if we do hear about bad things happening to people outside our Monkeysphere, I think we do still care, its just that we don’t go out of our way (for whatever reason) to show it as we would those within it (the Monkeysphere). But I guess the level of care we show those outside our monkeysphere varies from one person to the other.

    There are those that involve themselves in charities and dedicate their lives to worthy causes and helping others whereas there are those that read through a newspaper and just flip the pages after reading bad news, etc. I think David’s ability to care beyond those in his Monkeysphere is actually higher than average in that regard 🙂

  7. Zach and John

    Hasn’t he “screwed” us already? – by abandoning us for 2 years? 😀

    And anyway, John, here’s a brickbat thrown at you!! (Just for the hell of it 😀 ) I’m not sure yet as to whether Zach or you are included in my so-called Monkeysphere yet, so would that be considered being rude and abusive to people not quite within my Monkeysphere?
    OR
    Would it be me treating people all asunder in the universe as people being human beings, be they from within the Sphere or not? 🙂

    Anyway, Zach, if one believes the theory of the Monkeysphere, I think these are the original Monkeysphere beings Lol! –

  8. I totally agree with what Sheba said. That’s why I posed earlier the question: “How much caring is considered ‘real caring?”

    As you said, there are 6-7 billion people in the world – we don’t meet all of them, so obviously we can only “show care” to the ones we have in our lives or encounter. Neither would it be feasible for us to enquire about the welfare of everyone we pass by on the street! But if we see someone in trouble, would we not “show care” and even follow through if we have an opportunity? Does that mean we have included these people in our so-called Monkeysphere, how ever brief or temporary?

    As for David, he is an extremely good singer whom we love but he can’t possibly care for everyone. To him, we are just faces in a crowd. He goes out there to sing because he enjoys it and he knows we enjoy it. If you ask me (you probably won’t but nevermind, I’ll still say it), it is WE who have included him in the cycle of our lives with our daily involment of his life and career; he has not included us. He can’t possibly.

    What I’m questioning is the desirability of the belief of the theory of this Sphere. I would rather see people as people; caring when we can (not because they are within our so-called monkeysphere), not abusing people or being aloof or rude because they are outside that sphere.
    If people within my circle or family were rude or nasty, I would give them the same treatment as I would give to rude and nasty strangers.

    If only there is no such thing as this belief called Monkeysphere, there would be fewer conflicts, fighting and wars; the majority of them based on serving “their own kind” (Monkeysphere?)
    If we do not believe in it, there will not be one.

  9. Hey calling all archies!
    Many opportunities to see David Live!

    – Just go to Manila and be part of the audience at Josh’s concert and be part of the Nandito Ako filming! 😀

    – Or go to Singapore for the signing and attend the party after that! 😀

    Zach
    I hear you are going to Singapore! Lucky you!
    Have a great time and come back with a short recap? And pics? 🙂

  10. Trace – thanks for the info. Are you going to any of the shows?? 🙂

    Zach – wow…have fun and I’m glad you are the representative of Malaysian fan in Singapore!

  11. Lol, news travels fast huh? x) I can’t believe I’m actually getting the chance to meet David (it’s my first up-close meeting), haha. It’s almost like David knows just where and when to go – I have a musical to watch at Marina Bay on Sunday at 1.30-4.00pm and he chose to have his autograph session on the same day, at the same place at 4.00pm. Anyway, I’ll see if I can remember to take pictures of the event! Can’t wait for Sunday! 8)

  12. Akang
    No such luck this time – you know I’m steeply grounded during this period. 😦
    Or else I’m all there!

    Zach
    Yes, news travels very fast in archuland! So don’t misbehave! 😀
    What a stroke of luck for you to be at the right place at the right time!
    Looking forward to your pics!

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