A million monkeys at a million typewriters would eventually recreate the entire works of Shakespeare. This idea from the infinite monkey theorem may be an analogous interpretation regarding the vastness and possibilities within infinite randomness, but the scientists, mathematicians and philosophers who have contributed to such studies may not have been paying attention to the actual abilities of ‘inferior’ creatures such as primates.
This presentation illustrates the ability of apes to understand human concepts such as tools, language and even video games. In this light, revisiting the million monkey theory in a literal sense may prove to be more plausible after all.
It would be interesting to see, in the evolutionary long-term, how their culture would evolve and how it would differ from ours. If they were to use human civilization as a guide, where would their harmony with nature break down? Would it be from the development of religion, organized government, money or something else?
Perhaps learning from our mistakes, these intelligent apes would make better decisions, allow them to surpass our abilities and eventually put us at the typewriters. Instead of exploring such speculations with stories such as “Planet of the Apes”, we really should give all animals more credit than we do, as they truly have their own forms of culture, language and reasoning that play a more important and seemingly wise role than ours – a more sustainable one in our delicate natural world. From their point of view, human intelligence would be a very subjective idea, driven by power and money, a very different one from our amazingly intellectual friends. Below is a rendition of Rodin’s “The Thinker” presented in a different perspective.