Dr. Susan Block

In the Chatroom

27 Comments

  1. Nona Mills
    12 · 22 · 10 @ 11:02 am

    There have been traditional human populations that were pretty sexually free with one another– but they had to be small, isolated populations. Once such a population becomes large enough to sustain an epidemic, frequent change of sexual partners becomes a very effective way to amplify the virulence of whatever diseases are circulating. (See Paul Ewald, _The Evolution of Infectious Disease_ , for the reasons why this is the likely outcome (for critters not equipped with modern precautionary techniques ).) So the bonobos have ways that suit their particular niche in the world; and we have rather less attractive traits that suited the way our ancestors were living. One excuse for our history, for example, is: “We were all drunk at the time.” (You couldn’t live in a good-sized ancient European city without mixing enough alcohol with your water to keep it from doing you in. The Chinese, having tea, made a little more sense now & then.) But mainly, large, greedy, violent organizations had an advantage over groups that wanted to live fun, sensible lives. (In the contemporary situation, where collective greed and violence can readily do in the lot of us, we can recognize that as a dead-end strategy… but God knows if we’ll manage to give it up!) Anyway, one could almost suffer from bonobo envy… but they don’t have as much fun with our second-favorite organ.

    Reply

  2. bromeo
    08 · 2 · 10 @ 12:20 am

    You are sooooooooo right, Vanessa is a hottie. Wonderful topic, love how important the bonobos are to you.

    Reply

  3. PolyBi
    07 · 29 · 10 @ 4:12 pm

    Outside of the fact that we may learn from our Bonobo relatives, kudos to Dr. Block for her tireless championing of these creatures. I say this not from being a friend and follower for the last decade, but for the fact that she done more than most to make us aware of these wonderful primates.

    Thanks Doc Block!

    Reply

  4. Besty
    07 · 29 · 10 @ 1:45 pm

    Very incredible show…I was very glad of the things discussed during the show. It wasn’t only focused on their sex lives, the bonobos, but also on the hardships that the monkeys go though where they come from…

    Reply

  5. Larry, dfh
    07 · 24 · 10 @ 10:15 pm

    Just finished the book “Heart of Dryness” by James Worthington. It dealt with Kalahari Bushmen; what was interesting was that ‘war’ as such was never mentioned, except in the last chapter, where Worthington stated that war was unknown to the Bushmen. These people have lived in near total isolation for maybe 100,000 years. If the Bonoboes are considered a species separate from Chimpanzees, maybe the Bushmen should be considered as separate from Homo sapien sapiens.
    I’ve been informed of the Bonoboes since the early ’90s. It’s been a great reservoir of personal strength to me that ‘make love, not war’ is, in fact the correct outlook. It’s a sad sad reflection of the human species that it takes a lesser (sic) relative to prove that.

    Reply

  6. Michael Donnelly
    07 · 16 · 10 @ 8:11 pm

    I loved this piece. Knowledge of Bonobo culture is spreading, even as the New Yorker and others suppress that knowledge and misinform. Pretty much all my good friends are up on it, despite all that. Your work spreading the word has had a great influence. We need to emulate our bonobo relatives more and fight for their habitat.

    Reply

  7. Sara Minot
    07 · 14 · 10 @ 7:17 pm

    Beautiful article, Dr. Block. Thank you for your tireless–and entertaining–advocacy of the bonobos for so many years.

    Reply

  8. Forrest Curo
    07 · 13 · 10 @ 10:16 pm

    There have been traditional human populations that were pretty sexually free with one another– but they had to be small, isolated populations.

    Once such a population becomes large enough to sustain an epidemic, frequent change of sexual partners becomes a very effective way to amplify the virulence of whatever diseases are circulating. (See Paul Ewald, _The Evolution of Infectious Disease_ , for the reasons why this is the likely outcome (for critters not equipped with modern precautionary techniques ).)

    So the bonobos have ways that suit their particular niche in the world; and we have rather less attractive traits that suited the way our ancestors were living. One excuse for our history, for example, is: “We were all drunk at the time.” (You couldn’t live in a good-sized ancient European city without mixing enough alcohol with your water to keep it from doing you in. The Chinese, having tea, made a little more sense now & then.) But mainly, large, greedy, violent organizations had an advantage over groups that wanted to live fun, sensible lives. (In the contemporary situation, where collective greed and violence can readily do in the lot of us, we can recognize that as a dead-end strategy… but God knows if we’ll manage to give it up!)

    Anyway, one could almost suffer from bonobo envy… but they don’t have as much fun with our second-favorite organ.

    Reply

  9. Nori
    07 · 12 · 10 @ 7:01 pm

    The show was great. Intellectually compelling, stimulating, and it gave me the opportunity to more closely develop a better sense of human nature and violence. We have a choice unlike most other animals, a conscious choice to be more like Bonobos or Baboons. I saw an article today where some “Dumb chimp” commented on the Psychology Today article that really got me going. My recommendation to you all is to not only talk about Bonobos to co-workers and friends, but to non-violently attack (via words) the forces in the media that would support researchers tailoring their findings to reflect a less sexual bonobo. Is that what we want in our scientific community? Censored data? Sorry but that really pisses me off to see something founded on the ideals of unbiased analysis twisted and corrupted. I hope it outrages you too. Read the article and comments on Psychologytoday.com

    Reply

  10. Rickster G
    07 · 12 · 10 @ 6:01 pm

    i just listened to your interview with Vanessa Woods, and you know, you guys are GREAT to listen to and great interviewers, i keep forgetting. I need to check out your tv/radio stuff more.

    The discussion of the Bonobos (and in my uneducated opinion, but convincing observations) about animals in general having “higher” feelings than is commonly believed, and in fact my personal “opinion” is that ALL living creatures have at least some level of what we call emotions. The witnessing of the Bonobos begging for their life brought me to tears, just as Max (I think it was he who) said. I also simply loved listening to you and your “glass” protected interaction with the Bonobos.

    I could tell you many examples, but one was a frog that I actually got a picture of… Maybe it was just curiosity but I talked, slow and calmly and sat without moving (Ironically something my dad taught me) for around 15-20 minutes and he slowly got closer, clearly interested for some reason. In a film type 35mm SLR (single lens reflex) the mirror is very loud and the frog immediately went under the water as soon as I pushed the shutter. Its the mirror in the camera that lifts out of the way so the light can hit the film that makes the noise.

    I had an interesting encounter with a rather large black snake a few weeks ago and a very large (4-5ft) timber rattler not long after I moved here, in my front yard. I approached both of them very slowly and at a safe and non-threatening distance and talked calmly the entire time. Both were interesting, and interested or maybe curious or maybe only assessing the situation though the rattle snake took me a few minutes to get over the initial fear that came naturally.

    …and just now I’m listening to your conversation with the caller “spencer” and his being in a wheel chair as a reason for not having relationships with women, and Max’s example of Frank Moore was inspirational.

    Great show!

    Reply

  11. Don Pascal
    07 · 12 · 10 @ 4:23 pm

    Once again, you show true compassion for these amazing creatures. We can definitely learn from them in many ways.

    Reply

  12. Arturos
    07 · 12 · 10 @ 4:19 pm

    humans are more closely related…socially, culturally, militarily, sexually, and emotionally/psycologically to….baboons, hah, not an ape at all, but just as linear, shallow, aggressive, greedy, and self-destructive…..think upon it.

    Reply

  13. gehmans
    07 · 12 · 10 @ 3:50 pm

    I wish you would have mentioned Frans de Waal’s other great book, Our Inner Ape, exploring the triad of us, chimps, and bonobos.

    Reply

    • drsuzy
      07 · 12 · 10 @ 3:56 pm

      Yes Gehmans, Frans de Waal’s Our Inner Ape: A Leading Primatologist Explains Why We Are Who We Are is an excellent book, but its not ALL about bonobos. In fact, it doesn’t even include the word “bonobos” in the title. Thus I didn’t reference it when talking about Bonobo Handshake being the only book focused on bonobos published by a major house, besides Bonobo: The Forgotten Ape.

      Reply

  14. Susan Elizabeth Siens
    07 · 12 · 10 @ 2:51 pm

    “. . . bonobo orphans appear to be more fragile and sometimes, despite the best of care, simply fail to rally. Perhaps this is a painful corollary to being peaceful, sexual, empathetic and sensitive: difficulty coping with the barbarity of war and the cold-blooded murder of loved ones.”

    I think this has a lot to say about the human species, who survives and who doesn’t. Human civilization has never rewarded the sensitive and the empathetic, but it’s got lots of supposed goodies for the cruel and barbaric. I look at civilization and wonder why all humans aren’t alcoholic, depressed, insane, . . .

    Susan Elizabeth Siens
    Unity, Maine

    Reply

  15. James W. Prescott, Ph.D.
    07 · 12 · 10 @ 2:07 pm

    Many thanks for your support in spreading the Bonobo word which you have excelled at. Appreciate your new BLOG, as it provides additional information on Vanessa Woods and her new book Bonobo Handshake which I am looking forward to reading. Vanessa is a striking woman. Good to have her on our side.

    Since the BONOBO is threatened with Extinction we have little time to convey the importance of this Primate species.

    Susan, Your Peace Through Pleasure slogan needs Global distribution.

    Toward The Future and Peace through Pleasure

    Again, many thanks

    Jim

    Reply

  16. John V. Walsh, MD
    07 · 12 · 10 @ 12:57 pm

    Great piece–as usual. Keep up the great work.

    John V. Walsh, MD
    Professor of Physiology
    University of Massachusetts Medical School

    p.s. And I plan to buy the book.

    Reply

  17. Leah T
    07 · 11 · 10 @ 3:15 pm

    When the New Yorker attacks the bonobos, you know humanity has a sex problem.

    Reply

  18. Jenny J
    07 · 11 · 10 @ 3:04 pm

    What is with all these warmongering journalists making monkeys of a gullible bloodthirsty public?

    Reply

  19. George M
    07 · 11 · 10 @ 2:53 pm

    I don’t know about these apes, but Vanessa Woods is a total babe.

    Reply

  20. Casey Periwinkle
    07 · 11 · 10 @ 2:45 pm

    shari babeeee u never came over to my place to give me that blowjob you promised a few blogs ago. cum on honey i got plenty bananas for u

    Reply

  21. shari Baby
    07 · 10 · 10 @ 3:48 pm

    I had a great time at the taping of your show last Sat night when you had Vanessa on the phone. It was fascinating watching her interaction with the cuddly & playful bonobos on your tv monitors. What’s really beautiful is the love they share between one another. Wouldn’t this world be less stressful if we did nice things for each other? And, don’t you feel like you know someone better once you become intimate? And, then once you’re intimate it’s so easy to care for people in a meaningful way. The joy on a man’s face, the bliss exuded once treated to deliciously oral pleasures is one of contentment, camaraderie, and genuine openness to reach out to others once the edge is removed and replaced by ecstasy.

    Love your work and that you’re so dedicated to spreading pleasure of all kinds. Besos.

    Reply

  22. shari Baby
    07 · 10 · 10 @ 3:46 pm

    Casey…omg…you’re too funny

    Reply

  23. Chris
    07 · 10 · 10 @ 1:48 am

    So everybody is crying…such big babies, me too, the tears were just rolling down my cheeks. That hand clapping when in the gun sight of a hunter just got to me. They are such delicate creatures. Thanks for a great show and viva Vanessa, I’d like her for a mommy and thanks for making me cry, I haven’t done soo since Vietnam.

    Reply

  24. Charles
    07 · 9 · 10 @ 9:44 pm

    OK,OK, you’ve turned me into a Bonobo, I’m gonna buy the book. Heard the interview with Ms Woods, she was great, there were times I was crying and I’m as big as a gorilla, I’m not moved easily but these creatures are truly amazing. I will lend my help to protect these guys. Is it possible to go visit them in the Congo? Perhaps we could organize a group trip? Is that OK you think?

    Anyway then I noticed the pictures from the show, you all look like human Bonobos. Those are some mighty hot creatures you got running around the studio. I will have to join you one night.

    You can call me anytime and let’s talk about this. My number is 213.364.xxxx.

    Best Regards Doc…
    Charles

    Reply

  25. Casey Periwinkle
    07 · 9 · 10 @ 9:30 pm

    wow those are some sexual critters. if the females didn’t have so much hair and the big ears, um… well… maybe not. but they are cool. yeaa bonobos rock!

    Reply

  26. CeeBee
    07 · 9 · 10 @ 9:00 pm

    I have tears in my eyes. I knew from your previous writings and shows that bonobos have a lot of sex and no war, which is awesome enough, but hearing about how they care for each other and are so close to human in so many ways. It’s just mind-boggling. They are so close and yet so far away. I am going to adopt a bonobo too, Dr. Suzy, just gotta set up a paypal account, but I will adopt a bonobo this week for sure. Thank you for opening my eyes, even if it made the tears spill out of them.

    Reply

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