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A Chimpanzee at Stanford

[Change agent Fran Peavey writes:] One day I was walking through the Stanford University campus with a friend when I saw a crowd of people with cameras and video equipment on a little hillside. They were clustered around a pair of chimpanzees - a male running loose and a female on a chain about twenty-five feet long. It turned out the male was from Marine World and the female was being studied for something or other at Stanford. The spectators were scientists and publicity people trying to get them to mate.

The male was eager. He grunted and grabbed the female's chain and tugged. She whimpered and backed away. He pulled again. She pulled back. Watching the chimps' faces, I [a woman] began to feel sympathy for the female.

Suddenly the female chimp yanked her chain out of the male's grasp. To my amazement, she walked through the crowd, straight over to me, and took my hand. Then she led me across the circle to the only other two women in the crowd, and she joined hands with one of them. The three of us stood together in a circle. I remember the feeling of that rough palm against mine. The little chimp had recognized us and reached out across all the years of evolution to form her own support group.

Quoted from Fran Peavey,
Heart Politics (New Society Publishers, 1986), p. 176

COMMENTARY: Co-intelligence can be as simple as seeing through categories like "species" or "other" or "alien" or "them" or "enemy" or "bad" to locate intelligences or forces with which we can ally ourselves. It can be as simple as feeling compassion so vividly that it dissolves all categories, and we find ourselves simply reaching out to another being. Co-intelligence arises from our interconnectedness, our relatedness to each other and everything. And then it turns around and uses that relatedness to make something good happen.