To answer them, I will ask for the help of a song.
The 2017 edition of the Italian Sanremo Song Festival saw the success of Francesco Gabbani with a song that went straight to the top of the ratings.
In the song the author ironically criticizes the western habit of embracing oriental cultures and philosophies superficially, making them a fashion rather than inspiring one’s own lifestyle: to this end, he uses the image of a naked dancing monkey, inspired by Desmond Morris’s book The Naked Monkey, which I am going to review today.
The title is “Occidentali’s Karma” and you can listen to it in full here (subtitles in English).
Needless to say, sales of the book soared, introducing the great public (and myself…) to a book that had been a worldwide bestseller for decades.
Now let’s come to the book.
Written by English ethologist and zoologist Desmond Morris and first published in 1967, the book has been translated into 23 languages and is still a reference for anyone wishing to analyze human behaviour from an unconventional point of view.
The author studies the human being as an animal and ape, the only example among the 193 living species of apes to be hairless, arguing that
Desmond Morris studies Homo Sapiens by looking at his sexual habits, the strategies he follows in the management of struggle and conflict, the way he raises his children, the exploration of new areas of knowledge, his nutrition, and the way he seeks well-being, his relationship with other animals.
Below you will find a video of Desmond Morris talking about his book.
What is striking, as you scroll through the pages, is Morris’s ability to analyze situations and behaviour with brutal candour, eliminating redundancies and presenting the results with disarming simplicity.
In short, an amusing, curious and intriguing book that I suggest you buy, read and present as a gift.