Do monkeys live in meritocracy or mediocre societies? First of all, we must ask ourselves whether these human criteria can be applied to monkeys. Monkeys live in social structures, not exactly like human ones, but certainly with considerable reversals in roles due to the ability of sexually mature individuals. From this point of view, the societies, for example, those of chimpanzees, but also of many other species of monkeys, are numerically quite complex. For example, baboons live in groups that can sometimes reach 200 units. If this is the case, we must see what is meant by mediocracy, meritocracy and what is in all this memetics. Which are the cultural and behavioral components that spread in society, fundamentally, through the practice of imitation.
Mediocracy in humans
According to the idea of contemporary Canadian philosopher Alain Denault, mediocracy indicates the intermediate position in a society of an individual with low qualities in personality and critical thinking. And more seriously, when his position is elevated to high levels of authority, that is, when he becomes, for those who hold political and economic power, his instrument. It’s not a coincidence that the most important posts in a State are often represented by persons appointed and not elected or who have won regular competitions. In Italy, the current prime minister and the previous ones were appointed and not elected by anyone. Also, it’s not a coincidence that the Prefects of our provinces are appointed and not elected, so too the Attorneys General of the Republic, the ambassadors, and the most important managers of public health. For example the head physicians of the departments of public hospitals. All are appointed by politicians.
Unfortunately, it’s not always said that when the most important public offices are assigned by public competition, they are taken over by people qualified to assume those roles. For example, university professors are not elected, but no one has ever wondered how the selection boards are elected. Before, at university competitions, the winners were chosen by a selection board that everyone knew had been formed by a vote of exchange between all the permanent professors of each individual scientific disciplinary group. The most powerful professor in any field could "advise" his colleagues on the names to be voted on or for the formation of the selection board. Legislators thought that this was not right because the chairmen of the selection board turned out to be always the same as their trusted colleagues. They decided to draw lots for the selection of board among all the professors in each scientific sector.
In this case, the university competitions could no longer be controlled by anyone, and the judgments could be free from the pervasive power of academic mandarins, non-sexual sadomasochism, nepotism or become a bargaining chip (do ut des). When “those in charge” realized they had lost power, they sought to circumvent the system to retain power. Today in universities, there are professors who often have no scientific merit because they are practically chosen by colleagues, Directors of the Department appointed by Chancellors. In essence by those who have the decision-making power. Now the professors are "called", as they were before, and you can guess with what consequences.
Universities rather than being independent centers at a high scientific level have become tavern gangs, the founder of modern sociology Max Weber had anticipated it more than 100 years ago by stating that the mediocrity in which the university had sunk in those days was due more to the commercial flattery and lobbying of large financial groups than on the free thought of researchers and teachers. Today universities produce thanks to financial influence.
For example, the drug multinationals, pay these universities rather than by free basic research. It is for these reasons that our best brains in recent decades have almost all emigrated abroad. The oligarchy and financial totalitarianism have invaded all the nerve centers of the State and in the specific case of the university and the professor has become, more than a teacher who spreads knowledge, a bureaucrat, a paper pusher, with his subordinates engaged in asking for funds for research rather than doing research. The gist is this, universities have to bring out as many semi-literate "doctors" as possible and not select upwards with a few graduates but only the good and deserving. In conclusion, merit in the universities died but no one noticed.
Recently a professor at the University of Leiden, Netherlands, Alexandre Afonso, went so far as to say that universities have become like mafia organizations. In an article entitled How academia resembles a drug gang, Afonso compares the university researcher without much hope of making a career and without a dignified wage, or rather of hunger, to a drug dealer who risks a lot but earns almost nothing to the benefit of those who supply him with the drug. In essence, the researcher, especially if not confirmed and the drug dealer, can no longer get out of this perverse vortex.
Men and monkeys
What does all this have to do with monkeys? For how strange it may seem, it has a lot to do with it. Monkeys do not need to belong to power groups or lobbies in order to become leaders. If they have the physical strength and intelligence to understand the society in which they live and how they are organized the hierarchies can get to assume roles of power and oust the old leadership. Among the monkeys, an unwary or a mediocre can never take on a role of power. An individual with these characteristics contributes nothing to the society of monkeys. If one day the monkeys were to become like humans, everything could change for them, but for the worse. In essence, the role that the mediocre system has played in humans could be fatal for monkeys. The real power in monkeys must be gained and, as they say, with sweat and tears.
They never put individuals in power who can then be maneuvered, precisely because they are mediocre. The leader in monkeys must have all the qualities of the leader in the truest sense of the term. Finally, monkeys, lucky for them, do not raise prosopopoeia monuments to fake philanthropists, profiteers, turncoats and hypocrites, boot lickers of politicians and journalists priceless and servile to the established power.
Monkeys do not measure the value of life with money, but with intellectual ability and therefore with the satisfaction of thinking that if they get power, they did it with their own minds, not with those of others. What matters to a monkey leader is the well-being of his group, ensuring that it has plenty of food and protection from the most dangerous predators, in this case a man who destroys, deforests, and pollutes his environment.
Some may think that expressing oneself in these terms is too bold, but if we look at how things really are, we must admit that very often humans behave like stupid people, certainly more than a monkey, and often more than the rest of the animal kingdom.
There was an Italian professor of economic history, Carlo M. Cipolla, who described how human stupidity works, talking about three "Fundamental laws of human stupidity". The third law which is certainly the most fitting one describes how a stupid person is one who causes harm to another person or group of people without at the same time realizing any advantage for himself or even suffering a loss. If then the stupid person brings an advantage, albeit minimal, even to himself, passes from stupid to bandit, which is not much better. Who can blame Professor Cipolla? Given the reality of what happens around us every day. We have many cases that confirm it, without referring to specific examples because they would be infinite.
In my career, working with monkeys, especially in conditions of freedom, I have never seen them behave according to the third law of Cipolla. All their behaviors were always targeted, both for better and for worse, in the sense that to oust an old leader they needed to be aggressive and, sometimes violent, but always showing off their physical and intellectual qualities.
In many cases, the contenders for leadership fought without ever seriously hurting themselves. The weakest, at a certain point, realized that a bloody fight would not bring him any advantage and therefore he went away with the hope, in another dispute, of having the upper hand. I have my doubts as to whether men think in this way. They always insist on their total defeat. They do it not out of pride, but out of stupidity. If it had not been like this in humanity, hundreds and hundreds of wars would have been avoided, including the last two world wars. The Austro-Hungarian Empire would have dissolved on its own without the need for war and the Germans, in the Second World War, would never have thought of getting to dominate the world with brutality, more than with an effective military strategy, often excelled by arrogant officers with blinkers, incompetent and even criminals. Other than the efficiency of the Third Reich luckily for all humanity lasted just over 12 years, from 1933 to 1945.
Memethics and Mediocracy
Can we explain the social function of mediocracy and of human stupidity (because stupidity can also have a social function) through memetics? Then, are human stupidity and mediocracy inherited? They certainly do not inherit such hair color or the shape of the nose, but they can be transmitted through other means that are not those of genes. For example, through the imitation of a behavioral pattern imposed from above, by an unelected authority that wants to impose its rules. Specifically, that is, in the case of human stupidity, pervasive models can be imposed that cause the population to be stupid and therefore mediocre, but “happily mediocre."
Memetics (from MEME) is a cultural idea, a system based on information (or better disinformation), a way of thinking that spreads like wildfire among people. In essence, it is a cultural archetype of a society that loses, albeit slowly, its autonomy and its dignity. It is the standardization of the system and those who try to avoid it are excluded or must exclude themselves for the maintenance of its integrity. The meme, in essence, as Richard Dawkins says, the one who spoke about it first, is an analog of the gene, a replicator, but that has nothing to do with the gene and its DNA.
This means that all human beings are born equal and independent, with the same potential, but then the system bends to its will. The most serious fact is that this process of degradation penetrates passively and unknowingly into the minds of humans. In this, the animals and the monkeys, in particular, could teach us something. They are not so easily modeled to a higher and not visible external entity. They are much more concrete than us and look at reality with their own eyes, not with those of others.