Once upon a time, millions of years ago, one little simian ventured forth from the forests, to greet the day on the plain. He wasn’t quite a “monkey.” Monkeys weren’t around yet, and neither were we. Our world was younger, drawn with fewer, bolder lines… closer to the star stuff. And in our atavus (Latin, “ancestor”) were traces of timeless truths, truths of who we are and who we could become.
He – well, he, she, zie, they… We’re talking about something deeper than gender. Maybe it’d be helpful if we had a name. Here at Dharma we call our friend छोटा बंदर (choata bandar), which is Hindi for “little monkey.” Bandar was truly precocious and socially adroit. She belonged to a #dharmatribe, a tribe which went East and a tribe which went West, 日目人 (Japanese, kamehito, “people with sun-eyes”) guided by mnemonic astrolabes.
They had dreams beyond measure. They rejected troves of low-hanging fruit for the promise of a vista beyond the mountain, the image of an undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveler returns. Bandar & Co. drew from this, this wanderlust (German) as they traversed Zaire, paddled through Siam, and laid claim to the Faroe Islands. And, because of it, they left an image, an imprint, a trace of their tale on the cousins we call monkey.
And there they are, the simple trace of who we could be. There’s Sun Wukong, mischievously snatching the peaches of immortality. There are the capuchins, beckoning to Nazca the nomads μερωπες (Greek, meropes, “with voices that care about time”). There are the CEOs and politicians, aping overtly territorial gorillas. And there, right there, are chimps of desenrascanço (a wondrous Portuguese word) and fantastically egalitarian bonobos, waiting for us to catch on. And here, and there, and everywhere are all the simian cohorts, dwelling for these millions of years in true ecological harmony.
And here we are, still in the process of fashioning our holistic, aesthetic gigun (Yoruba, “upright balance”). Practically, Bandar is a good model for us. Our glasses have a حُلْو (Arabic, hulwi, “charming”) fit on her frame. As far as our ideals, she is even better. Her trace, her synergy, her smile, her poise… it stays with us, and we hope it stays with you. And we hope that, together, just like a few little simians once did, we can change the world.