See From Space

from by Baba Brinkman

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An alien biologist from Betelgeuse investigates earth to discover the evolutionary origins of its various organisms and their extended phenotypes, including the odd technology developed by one bizarre species of ape.

lyrics

This is inspector Zorg, reporting back
To the galactic order on assorted facts
Collected from the planet in the 42nd sector
Where the radio waves were detected

As directed, I came to investigate it 
To see whether an intelligent civilization
Had emerged, and determine whether it’s worth
Establishing a diplomatic channel with earth

Which is still in its late juvenile phase 
And remains likely to self-annihilate
So I made an assessment of the entire range 
Of the planet’s native biological agents

The most common is a basic single-celled
Liquid dweller, cells that stick together
Form colonies of trillions called “bodies”
That develop from single-celled progeny

You already know, natural selection 
Designs organisms to maximize descendants
And the life forms here are no exception
All descended from a common ancestor

Including one ape species that’s an oddity
The radio waves came from its technology
And you’re not gonna believe it on Betelgeuse 
But these apes often choose not to reproduce

In fact, most of their time is wasted
Emanating strange noises from their faces
Instead of baby makin’, sonic arrangements
Of which this report is a demonstration

Can you see?
Can you see from space?

Every species of ape
Comes from the same DNA
Genes rearrange
‘Cause they don’t breed the same
Some genes make brains
Where memes compete and change
And these days
Apes can see from space

This bipedal ape species, these “humans”
Don’t even have tentacles like Betelgeuseans
Its limbs are modified fins 
And its jaws are just modified gill slits

It’s a mammal, it’s got mammal habits
But it’s actually just an adapted “land fish”
And like fish, each one has two parents
Each one of two morphological variants

Male and female, they’re called sexes
And with some exceptions they behave different
The males are physically bigger and more aggressive
More prone to stupid risks and more reckless

As expected, that’s what mammals are like
Females reward the winner after the fight
Or choose among contenders selectively
While males mate more opportunistically

Except in these humans 
Females display too, and males do some choosing
Especially when investing in offspring
And long-term costly signaling of monogamy

Humans are odd things, I tried to determine
Whether each behavior comes from instinct or learning
Just don’t ask them which is which
They don’t know, and they find the question offensive

Can you see?
Can you see from space?

Every species of ape
Comes from the same DNA
Genes rearrange
‘Cause they don’t breed the same
Some genes make brains
Where memes compete and change
And these days
Apes can see from space

These humans evolved their brains in odd ways
Wishful thinking makes them fall for con games
Betelgeusians evolved to know ourselves
Humans evolved to blame flaws on someone else

And take credit for gains, they jockey for status
Overdosing on calories, adapted to famines
They’re phobic of absent snakes and arachnids
With no fear of traffic or cigarette ashes

Most believe in telepathic gods and ghosts
And pretend to know things they obviously don’t
They form coalitions and reject evidence
If the facts are a threat to their tribal memberships

And yet, they are master cooperators
Space station making disease eradicators
They display a primitive collective intelligence
And sometimes even assist non-relatives

It’s amazing, what these apes have achieved
Their brains are a teeming accumulation of memes
Ideas, tactics and tool-making schemes
Which remain unmastered until their late teens

They only just found out how evolution works
And how it illuminates every mood and urge
Just give ‘em a few years and they might deserve
The name of Ape that Understood the Universe

Can you see?
Can you see from space?

Every species of ape
Comes from the same DNA
Genes rearrange
‘Cause they don’t breed the same
Some genes make brains
Where memes compete and change
And these days
Apes can see from space

credits

from Singles, released November 2, 2018
Lyrics by Baba Brinkman
Music Produced, Mixed and Mastered by Tom Caruana
Chorus Vocals by Aaron Nazrul
Piano, Synth, and Additional Vocals by Simon Kendall

Inspired by the book "The Ape that Understood the Universe" by Steve-Stewart Williams, available now from Cambridge University Press.

www.cambridge.org/apethatunderstood

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Baba Brinkman New York, New York

Canadian hip-hop with an intellectual bent, nothing but sexy beats and sumptuous brain food.

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