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Rise of the Planet of the Apes


Science & power

A young man, a doctor, is attempting to cure the Alzheimer killing his father. He tells his employers that he wants to save the human race. He calls his cure a virus, more aggressive versions of which are soon required. He soon learns it first heals & then improves the powers of the body. He soon learns that he can ignore all job protocols. His scientific mind looks to research. The imperative do no harm! cannot bind him.

The virus, apparently deadly for human beings, nevertheless improves apes by every scientific measure. The doctor saves a young chimp from the labs, which becomes his pet, then his unnatural child, having genetically inherited the virus from its mother. The years pass, but the doctor fathers no children, though he lives with a veterinarian, female. Marriage is never mentioned; the doctor seems motherless.

The chimp enjoyed a liberal upbringing & seemed quite happy, getting plenty of exercise. Reproduction is obviously not mentioned. But it did play chess & underwent many exercises to develop its intelligence. The doctor never considers that the more agile chimp must also grow stronger & more aggressive. He seems to have assumed that all would be copasetic.

The father was a lover of Shakespeare & classical music. The son wanted to save his father’s life & believed that he had the power. He cannot share his father’s love of beauty. The pleasures that ennoble the soul must be forgotten for a male to dedicate himself to science. Hence love of power.

The scientist loves power because it will save his father. His fear of death & family love bully his reason. Science has left him essentially childish. His businessman partner thinks that money is power; this arrogant delusion gets him killed. As for the policemen, the power of the laws deludes them, & they are simply incompetent, who do not love death. They follow procedures, not necessity.

The chimp is sent by the laws to a zoo, judged unfit to live among humans. It organizes an army of apes. It learns chimpanzee hierarchies & aggression on first seeing them. It frees a gorilla in order to subdue the chimps’ leader. Both serving him, it rallies the other chimps by proving that he can kill humans with their weapons.

Suitably impressed, the chimps do not however imitate their newfound leader’s abilities. The chimp’s councilor is an orangutan dismissive of chimpanzee intelligence, a circus animal, acquainted with tricks, but not science. Soon they rebel: their acquired abilities now match their spontaneous aggression. Finally, the chimp speaks. Its first word is ‘no’. Perhaps language born of necessity would make for harsh, unlovely creatures, which power could not pacify.

For everyone who likes the Planet of the Apes