Make Love, Not War

I remember a short scifi story that I read from John Varley called "Persistence of Vision." It was about a drifter that came across a society of people who were both blind and deaf. And because these people were both blind and deaf, they of course relied a lot on their sense of touch. Every night, the people of this commune would engage in a gigantic group hug/orgy. EVERYBODY. Man, woman and child. It was their way of being in tune with each other, including everyone, soothing tensions and fostering a group cohesiveness.

The funny thing is Bonobo chimps have this type of society. Bonobos have a matriarchical society and prefer sexual contact to violent confrontation to resolve conflict. It is literally make love, not war.


Bonobos are closely related to our evolutionary ancestor, the common chimpanzee. Chimpanzees, however, form male-dominated societies. They are very territorial, and they will attack male outsiders on the periphery of their territories.

You can see parallels between chimp and human behavior. Different societies have had different reactions to overseas Chinese, but most have resented the Chinese presence and many have had violent reactions. My family on my mother's side had to leave India, because of interethnic tensions. The Indians treat each other poorly (caste system, hello!), so the Chinese in India bore the brunt of a lot of racism.

The United States, of course, has a long history of anti-Chinese discrimination, where laws were passed to deny the Chinese basic rights. For example, you couldn't testify against white people in a court of law if you were Chinese. With no legal repercussions, whole Chinatowns throughout the Western states were burned to the ground.

The Philippines has had a Chinese population since the 9th century. Here's a blurb from Wikipedia on the subject:

"Because of the Spanish presence in the area, the Chinese people, who were living in the area and engaging in free trade relations with the natives, were subjected to commercial restrictions as well as laws requiring them to pay tribute to Spanish authorities. As a result, the Chinese revolted against the Spaniards in 1574, when a force of about 3,000 men and 62 Chinese warships under the command of Limahong attacked the city. The said attempt was fruitless, and the Chinese were defeated. In order to safeguard the city from similar uprisings later, the Spanish authorities confined the Chinese residents and merchants to a separate district called Parian de Alcaceria.

"At various times in the following century, the Chinese rose in revolt against the Spaniards. In 1602, they set fire to Quiapo and Tondo, and for a time threatened to capture Intramuros. In 1662, they again revolted, while in 1686, a conspiracy led by Tingco plotted to kill all the Spaniards. These events led to the expulsion of the Chinese from Manila and the entire country by virtue of the decrees that were made by the Spanish authorities to that effect. However, later reconciliations nearly always permitted the continuation of the Chinese community in the city."

Many countries have tried real hard to get rid of the Chinese or at least make it damn miserable for them: "In Indonesia, ethnic Chinese are not allowed to educate their children in formal Chinese-medium schools. In some cases other cultural markers (such as Chinese calendars) are banned. Chinese-language signs were banned in Indonesia until 2004."

Whereas other societies have tried to isolate or outright exterminate overseas Chinese, Thailand has taken the "bonobo approach," stressing assimilation and intermarriage:

"Official statistics show that six million people in 1987, or about 14% of Thailand's population claim to be of Chinese ethnicity. Extensive intermarriages with the Thais, especially in the past has resulted in many people who claim Chinese ethnicity with Thai ancestry, or mixed."


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