The Devolution of Mankind

I’m always thoroughly impressed by an author who is able to do something completely unique with their writing, to create a new theme (or at least a new way of developing that theme) that no one has ventured into before.

Benjamin Hale was able to do this with his novel The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore. The story is narrated by an exceptionally intelligent chimp who has managed to overcome the physical obstacles to learning human language. I won’t pretend to that I completely understand or agree with every point Hale tried to make, but I did find the book more profound than many I’ve read recently. The narrator, Bruno the chimp, is highly critical of the human species, denigrating it for its pomposity, arrogance, and condescension toward any other species. Through the series of events in Bruno’s life, he shows us that no matter how “cultured” or “refined” we may think ourselves, in fact we are hardly more than apes and will always be at risk of unintentionally revealing the more primitive and bestial sides of ourselves.

Besides the unique content of the novel, I was very impressed with the quality of the prose. Honestly, it’s the prose of a book that keeps me reading. A book may have the most unique and interesting topic, but if the prose is terrible, I cannot continue with reading it.

I wonder why no one ever talks about this book or its author. If such a brilliant mind can remain unknown despite being published, how many other brilliant minds are out there that we don’t know about? Maybe the greatest philosophers were never known because they never wrote anything down. Those who did write have inspired countless others, but maybe that number would be 3x larger if more people chose to write their impressions of the world and the questions that occur to them from day to day.

So write down the ramblings of your mind, people. Maybe one day you’ll be considered the greatest philosopher of 2013.

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One thought on “The Devolution of Mankind

  1. Thank you for sharing this Brita! I am currently enrolled in four summer school classes and haven’t had time for my own personal reading, but I am making a wishlist for once my classes are finished. Great synopsis. 🙂

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