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Big Ideas -

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(generated from captions) This Program is Captioned Live # Theme music Hi there. I'm Waleed Aly,

of our Big Ideas specials and welcome to the second Festival of Dangerous Ideas from this year's at the Sydney Opera House.

Amongst our Short Cuts today, Alexander McCall Smith acclaimed novelist of Western society. on the profound sickness on the horror of children and war. Kate Adie and Emmanuel Jal Christopher Ryan And American psychologist on why monogamy's so darned hard. Now, like mothers everywhere,

the strongest, healthiest, these women want to have funniest, best-looking baby. So what do they do? with the funniest guy, They make sure they have sex the strongest guy, the best hunter - the best-looking guy, of each of these men into the baby. to get some of the essence

a little later. More sex from Christopher Ryan First up, though, lecture others about human rights. why Western politicians shouldn't as the bastion of human rights, The West has long regarded itself but do our actions match our words? head of Amnesty International, Not according to Salil Shetty,

double standards for years. He argues we've been practising in the headlong pursuit of security, But recently, out to dry. we've really hung civil liberties to the international convention - Australia is a signatory refugee convention - international refugee law. and this - and has to abide by a well-founded fear of persecution Seeking asylum when faced with

is not illegal, it is a right. political debate in this country, Yet, if you were to believe the you could be forgiven for thinking illegally invaded. that the country was being from the truth. In fact, nothing could be further in 2010 The number of asylum seeker arrivals was 6,879. tell me that And my colleagues here in Australia of those who attended that is equivalent to just 6.8% Grand Final yesterday at the MCG. the Australian Football League I can't give a speech in Australia I was told that to football. without making a reference LAUGHTER like France and Germany, Now, of course, compared to countries

asylum claims a year, that receive over 40,000 more than 30,000 a year, or Sweden, that receives the numbers are simply negligible. of those coming to the Western world. They account for only about 2% countries in the world Australia is one of the richest have the resources and cannot say that it does not of people. to support such small numbers

It should never have been possible to Malaysia, to contemplate sending asylum seekers to a country outsourcing its obligations

and abuses asylum seekers which regularly canes, detains the UN Refugee Convention. and refuses to sign it should be unthinkable More generally,

of processing to have the off-shore model

which Australia has innovated, on the principle which fundamentally works of out of sight is out of mind. Under the 1951 UN Refugee Convention, to treat asylum seekers humanely Australia is obliged and respecting those rights. by fully recognising their rights It has repeatedly failed to do so, and the High Court, fortunately, the elected leaders has once again reminded of their international commitments. Let us be clear. to the Migration Act The proposed amendments legal obligations clearly contravene Australia's under the 1951 UN Refugee Convention.

in line with the values of the people And I don't believe that they are who make up this country, either. The other issue live up to its ideals of human rights where Australia has failed to 500,000-strong Aboriginal population. is the way it has treated its by Aboriginal people in Australia The disadvantage experienced

as a national disgrace. has long been described of 2007 The Northern Territory intervention of the Racial Discrimination Act and subsequent suspension

communities in the Northern Territory as it applied to Aboriginal has seriously eroded their rights, of the Rights of Indigenous People, as enshrined in the UN Declaration which Australia has endorsed.

prime minister was welcomed The apology of the former

by many inside and outside Australia. report published just two months ago But an Amnesty International starved of essential services, shows how, in traditional Indigenous communities Aboriginal people living in the Northern Territory to abandon their homeland. will effectively be forced illegally evicted. In short, they are being a very clear story. And statistics tell

education, water and shelter, With proper services like health, and live longer on homelands. people can be healthier they suffer. Uprooted from their lands, Making choices is an absolute right. The Government has repeatedly failed who are most affected to listen to those by the decisions which it takes. It needs to do so. is not optional. Free, prior, informed consent

It's a right that is bestowed across the world on all Indigenous communities through the UN Declaration. reinstatement Now, despite the partial of the Racial Discrimination Act are still in place discriminatory measures human rights law. that fall foul of international the ironically named Utopia I'll be visiting in the Northern Territory to meet Aboriginal communities of this crisis. to get a firsthand sense followed by the Government now But it's clear that the policies but widening the gap. are not closing, Aboriginal people should be empowered in defining their own destiny, and fully involved and the criminal justice system. not hounded by prejudice Rosalie Kunoth-Monks, from Utopia, In the words of an Indigenous elder, 'We need to stop the destruction I quote:

in Australia'. of the oldest living culture Western democracy Sadly, Australia is the only human rights act or bill of rights. without some kind of national the Emperor with no clothes. In this regard, Australia looks like choices are important. In many different contexts, at the heart of human rights. In some respects, they are

So this takes me to another area of Western double standards. Now, women should not be forced to wear veils if they do not wish to. As, for example, by the Taliban in Afghanistan, or in Saudi Arabia.

Nor, however, should women be forced NOT to wear veils. Just last month, France issued fines against two Muslim women for wearing full-face veils in public. This is a travesty of justice,

forcing women in France who choose to wear the niqab in public to be confined to their homes because it's illegal for them to walk down the streets of their own country dressed as they wish. Amnesty International is in a very odd situation now, because we have campaigned for years for women to be not forced to wear veils in countries like Saudi Arabia. We are now forced to campaign for women to have the choice to wear a veil in France.

Another face of Western power is Western corporations, being equally brazen in their human rights violations. Lack of time today means that I will not go into the human rights violations caused by Western companies such as US corporation Dow Chemicals, which was initially Union Carbide in Bhopal, or the Anglo-Dutch company Shell in Nigeria, on which Amnesty International has done a great deal of research. Another obvious example of selective condemnation of human rights abusers is the growing silence on the part of Western governments in their dealings with China. So as in Saudi Arabia, if you have oil or if you have trade supremacy, then it is clear that the West has a more 'nuanced' approach to human rights. So, where do we go from here? The question that could be asked, of course,

is that if the moral, economic and political leverage of Western governments is waning, do we have much hope from the emerging economies, particularly professed democracies, including Brazil, South Africa, India, Nigeria? The answer is not yet. We therefore face a double challenge. The leverage of Western governments is reducing and the emerging economies are yet to step up to the plate.

But these failures are a challenge and an opportunity all in one. If you have had the privilege of spending any time in the Middle East and North Africa recently, as I have done in Cairo, you will understand why I am optimistic. Despite all the challenges facing that region,

the myth that human rights is a Western preserve has been exploded across the Arab world. That can only be a good thing. As importantly, the fact that change has fundamentally been created by the people of these countries themselves, taking great personal risks, has, on the one hand, put dictators across the world on notice. And on the other hand, given ordinary people struggling for human rights real hope that nothing is impossible. And this is the spirit of Amnesty International and the global human rights movement, that ordinary people speaking truth to power can bring about extraordinary change. It was humbling to hear the message that Aung San Suu Kyi delivered from her home in Burma to Amnesty International's global assembly just a few days ago, where she spoke of the importance of Amnesty International's role as a catalyst for moblising ordinary people to campaign for human rights and hoped that the next Amnesty global assembly might be able to take place in a free Rangoon.

To which I say, who knows? It would certainly be a nice idea. And of course we, as Amnesty International, can do that, because we can do the speaking truth to power because we get almost our entire support and financing from ordinary people like you, not from corporations or governments. So in conclusion, it's not about Western governments staying quiet. That's not what any of us want. Quite the contrary.

I'm sure all of us would like them to show a consistency between their messages and their own behaviour. As has been said, 'shape up or shut up'. And to speak out without fear of favour, rather than choosing where to criticise and where to stay silent. Australia was one of the eight nations involved in drafting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights over 60 years ago. Once again in a time of great turbulence, Australia must show real leadership and manage its own affairs in accordance with international law.

To do anything less sends a message to other nations, particularly China, that they're also off the hook. Equally important is that the new arrivals on the geopolitical block that claim to be democracies that respect human rights must not ape the hypocrisy that we've seen from Western governments over the years. That would be the worst lesson possible to draw from the failures of the past. The Nobel Peace - the prize-winning writer, Czeslaw Milosz, declared many years ago, at a time when his native Poland was still a one-party state, where even to speak publicly of the possibility of a different system could get you jailed, and I quote, 'Our natural tendency to place the possible in the past leads us often to overlook the acts of our contemporaries who defy the presumably unmovable order of things and accomplish what at first sight has seemed impossible or improbable'. He was right. A few years later, because of the extraordinary courage of those across the region, the Berlin Wall came down. If we believe in change, we can achieve it. That's not idealism, it's a practical truth.

But it needs to be the world speaking together in one voice - ordinary people of the world - and crucially, it needs to be a message which is not tainted by hypocrisy. Governments are capable of doing the right thing. I know that because I've seen it for myself, again and again. But we also know this will happen only if governments hear from people. Both their own voters or citizens, but also from international public opinion. I don't need to tell Australians this today about your own politicians.

Moral consistency is not just something to aspire for, I believe it's essential and with the necessary pressure achievable for the world we live in today. Thank you again for this opportunity. I look forward to the discussion that follows. Head of Amnesty International, Salil Shetty, having a go at Australia at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas. And you can see the rest at our website. Next, in our festival special - the notion that society is broken. Alexander McCall Smith is familiar to many of us as the genial author of countless books, including The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series. However, here he is not discussing a fictional world, but the cold, hard reality of modern society. McCall Smith argues that the West, and Britain in particular, is profoundly sick and its culture permeated by scorn and disdain.

Strong views from such a mild-mannered man. I agreed to give this talk a couple of months ago. And since then, something really dramatic has happened in the UK that touches very closely

on the subject that I have chosen to speak about today. You've undoubtedly seen the reports of all this in the press, and you've watched, no doubt, endless footage on it, on television news.

These were the riots that started in London and then convulsed several major cities in the UK. And there was absolutely shocking destruction. Buildings were set on fire, shops were looted,

cars overturned and set alight, people were terrorised out of their houses and off the streets. The dramatic pictures, the really dramatic pictures, I think, were the ones of the looting that took place. Shop windows were smashed and crowds of people gathered to help themselves to whatever they could lay hands on.

An interesting feature of that looting was that the only shops that were left untouched were the book shops. (Laughter) Now that - You've got two possible explanations for that.

(Laughter) One is to suppose that the writers, at least, had some respect left. And the other explanation is the obvious one

which we can go into later on.

And people's reactions to all this ranged from utter disbelief that it was happening to complete shock and disgust. The press, as you can imagine, had a tremendous field day. Came at a time when there wasn't much other news, so it was very well-timed from that point of view. Politicians and commentators of every stripe came up with a wide range of explanations. Some blamed the last government and some blamed the current government. Now it'd be an interesting study to find out what is the general rule

as to how long you've got to blame the last government, before you have to start blaming the government that you've just elected. There is obviously a period when you can legitimately and with conviction blame the previous government, but then after a couple of months - What is it? A couple of months, a year? Then you have to say the problems are the fault of the current government. Now, of course, when dealing with something of this sort, which obviously was a really major issue involving profound social change, the line of causation, if you're talking about blame, obviously stretches back decades, generations even. And that's something which I'd like to touch upon, in what I've got to say.

That we're talking here about a problem which has got its etiology going back 40, 50 years, perhaps. But going back to the issue of blame for these riots, you really could -

if you wanted to start blaming, you could take your pick. People blamed politicians and educationalists. And politicians and educationalists blamed people. Socialists blamed capitalism and capitalists blamed socialism. But nobody actually blamed themselves. And that, actually, isn't all that unusual. How often do you hear people saying, 'It's my fault. It really is my fault. I'm totally responsible for this.' I don't think you really hear that very often. And wouldn't it be refreshing, really refreshing, if we heard it from politicians just occasionally, if they said, 'Yes, this mess is our fault. It's definitely our fault.' Or if they said to their opponents,

'Look, please don't blame yourselves, it was us.' (Laughter)

'It really was us. We're the ones to blame.' You don't really get that. Now on the subject of blame, incidentally, in the UK the most popular people to blame for most things are, these days, bankers. There's no doubt that we had in the UK a bunch of bankers who were real shockers. Your Australian bankers, like your treasurers, were much, much better. Australian bankers walked on water. They really did. If you look out over Sydney Harbour, you'd see groups... (Laughter)'d see groups of bankers walking to work. (Laughter) Amazing sight. But not in the UK and the US. No, the bankers are to blame for everything. The weather isn't behaving itself - the bankers, they're responsible.

Difficulties with the rail network? Bankers, of course. Bankers. Problems with the banking system? Bankers. Well, that's reasonable enough, I suppose. Anyway, let's take - let's get back to the riots and to those appalling incidents. One of the most shocking incidents was an attack on a Malaysian student in London, who was knocked to the ground, had his jaw broken, and he was then robbed of his bicycle. A man came up to help him, got him up to his feet and as he did so, he robbed him of the contents of his rucksack. And at the end of all this appalling treatment, the student had the grace to remark that he still liked the UK

and that he thought it was a great place. He also remarked that this wouldn't have happened in Malaysia, which he said was a well-organised country, where the police did their job efficiently. (Laughter) Now, on that point of the police reaction, the extraordinary thing was that, in many cases, the police actually failed to act. Calls for help were ignored and people were left to wait in terror for the mayhem to subside. And as a result, people felt, quite understandably, that the state had simply failed to help them. And on that subject of policing, one of the interesting things about policing in the UK is how touchy-feely it's become. Police forces now all have their logos and mission statements. Everybody has to have a mission statement and that includes the police. And their mission statements are all things like, 'Helping communities to help themselves,' or, 'Working with you for a better future.' Now what people actually want from police mission statements is probably something like, 'Stopping crime and catching criminals.' (Laughter) Or, 'Stopping looting and wide-scale arson' - that would be a start. Now, let's look at the cause of these riots. There were plenty of pundits with theories ranging from the overly simplistic to the overly complex. But one thing that emerged though was that the majority of those who were charged with rioting offences already had quite a number of convictions.

Many had no job and they were, in every sense, I suppose, the dispossessed. But it wasn't just the dispossessed who went on the rampage. Some of the people who helped themselves to the shops and burnt things actually were quite comfortably off. And their reason, therefore, for participating in this must have been different. After all, how many sets of trainers does one actually need? It was interesting, also, to see how many children were involved. Some of the rioters were as young as 10, and one 12-year-old was charged with throwing bottles and petrol bombs and other items at the police

and also with looting, but at least he looted childhood things. In his case, he looted bags of potato chips and chocolates. A refreshing sign that conventional childhood tastes were still there to assert themselves. (Laughter) Now the Mayor of London obviously had to make some remark about all this - he's a colourful and controversial figure called Boris Johnson. One of the few politicians available to us with seriously disorganised hair. (Laughter) Which therefore makes one rather trust him, actually... (Laughter) Um... and this is what Boris Johnson said. He said, 'The overwhelming majority, of course, came from lower socioeconomic groups from the ranks of those who've been left the furthest behind. It's been said of these young people, and they say it themselves, that the world holds nothing for them. That they have no jobs and no future.' And then he went on to say, 'In so far as that is true, it's something we can try to tackle. But it's just not true to say that there are no jobs available. The London service economy is substantially dependent on migrant labour, much of it from eastern Europe, and employers confirm that these migrants have skill sets and a work ethic that you cannot find in many native-born Londoners.

Yes, these young people have been betrayed,

but they've been betrayed by an educational system and family background that failed to give them discipline or hope or ambition. Or a simple ability to tell right from wrong. 'We still have -' he went on, 'We still have one in four London 11-year-olds functionally illiterate. No wonder they're angry and alienated.' Well, that's Boris Johnson's view. Is he right? Have we failed these young people? And, the answer, in my view, is that we have, yes. We have failed them dramatically and deeply. These riots are due to our failure, our fault. They are our fault because we've allowed a generation to develop

that seems to lack the fundamental requirements to live constructively in society. We've allowed the growth of a class of virtually feral people, unsocialised, aimless and alienated. But it is important to remember one thing in saying this. It's not their fault that they are like that. They have been made that way by the sort of society we've become. They are the consequence of developments that were occurring before most of them were born. What I'd like to say briefly here today is to tease out the idea that there's a profound sickness in some contemporary cultures, especially in Britain, and that we need to do something about it as soon as possible.

We don't really need to talk about it anymore. We don't need commissions of enquiry. We need immediate and radical commitment. Is that a dangerous idea? Well, I suppose it is because it challenges many currently held educational and cultural beliefs that have become a sort of creed. A set of beliefs that we're all expected to subscribe to and not to question. But it's precisely those beliefs, I think, that have got us where we are. Now I'm fully aware of the fact that the dangers in this sort of discussion and in particular, I'm aware of the issue of moral panic. Moral panics occur when a relatively insignificant threat is blown up out of all proportion to justify some extreme proposition about the remedy or indeed about the cause. And obviously there is a real danger of moral panic over situations like this, and that wouldn't be helpful. But at the same time, I think we should be careful not to dismiss as moral panic real concern that people might have over things going wrong. For example, concern over fascism in the 1930s was not moral panic, it was well-placed and appropriate concern and, of course, the situation then was fraught with danger which eventually materialised. So I think it would be a bad thing if people were prevented from expressing concern by worries that they might be accused of promoting moral panic. I think we've been far too complacent about what's been happening. We've been far too much in denial to see these developments for what they are. And now we see

these vivid and destructive outbreaks of social disorder. I think what's actually operating there

is a sort of optimism. We want things to go well, we want the world to be a nice place, we want to believe that even if there are problems, then they're problems that are not too serious, or they are problems that will resolve themselves in time. And that sort of attitude, of course, in another context, leads to denial of global warming. It also leads to the denial of social threats. We decide that there are certain things we just don't want to talk about and we'll believe that by ignoring them, the issue will go away. Every society, I think, has that tendency in relation to some problems. Every society has issues like that. And the problem is that we've laughed at and mocked people who talk of the broken society. Well, here are the consequences. In acres of burnt out shops and homes,

in the destruction of people's livelihoods, in the terrorising of innocent members of the public. Shame on us, for not facing up to the signs of social collapse and disintegration, for not facing up to the fact that we've allowed a whole lot of people to grow up without values of any sort, for letting our society be consumed by a wave of violence, drunkenness, and, importantly, sheer mind-numbing superficiality and false values. Prolific author Alexander McCall Smith arguing that society is broken at the Sydney Opera House. Next up at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas, monogamy just ain't natural.

American psychologist Christopher Ryan believes that much of what we've been told about our species is in fact untrue. Particularly when it comes to sexuality. He argues had Darwin enjoyed a better sex life, our theories of human sexual relations would be completely different. The bottom line according to Ryan, is we're just not designed to have sex with the same person over a lifetime. Let's do a quick test - I can't really see you but maybe if I move over here I'll get a better view.

I'd like you to all think if - how many of you have heard a heterosexual couple having sex? The neighbours, someone in the hotel, God help us, your parents. OK, so just about everyone it looks like. Now raise your hand if the man was making more noise than the woman? (Laughter) One hesitant hand. OK, now according to what we call the standard model - the standard narrative of human sexuality, women are passive, relatively asexual creatures with very little libido. So why the hell are they making all the noise? And why do they get to have multiple orgasms? How's that make sense? Alright, clicker time. Alright, so the standard model. What we argue against, I should outline just briefly, is the idea that since time immemorial, men have traded goods and services to women in exchange for sexual access. The underlying logic of this is if you're my woman, and I note that word 'my' - and I bring home the bacon or the antelope or what have you, and share it with you and our children and you have sex with no-one but me, then I know those are my children. And the underlying assumption there is that paternity certainty is part of human nature and always has been. What Cacilda and I argue in Sex At Dawn is that this is not true. That this obsession with paternity certainty among men and therefore the obsession with controlling the sexual behaviour

of women, didn't enter human consciousness until the advent of agriculture - which is just 10,000 years ago at the most. As Robin said, anatomically modern humans have existed for about 200,000 years. So we're looking at about a maximum of 5% of our time on the planet in these conditions where we're really concerned and seeing women as property. Seeing animals as property, seeing land as property. Before that we lived in hunter-gatherer bands

that travelled around and the underlying social motif of these bands was cooperation and sharing. Not because they were noble savages, but because when you're walking 15 kilometres a day, you don't want to schlep around a lot of stuff. So you share it, it just makes sense.

If I go hunting, I'm going to get an antelope some days, Robin's going to get an antelope other days, it doesn't make sense for us to hoard our food. It makes sense to share,

especially because there's no refrigeration. There's an expression I heard once in Africa - 'The best place to store extra food is in your friend's stomach.' Makes perfect sense, right? OK, so that's what we're arguing against, the standard model that men are trading protection, meat, shelter, status, and so on for exclusive access to a woman's sexuality, sexual behaviour. That's why we say in the book, 'Darwin says your mother's a whore'. Because Darwin proposed that woman are trading sex for stuff.

Alright, so how do we possibly know how people behave sexually in pre-history? Well, we looked at primatology, particularly the chimps that are closest to humans - which are Bonobos. The apes that are closest to humans, which are Bonobos and Chimpanzees. It's funny when you read standard, mainstream discussions of human sexuality that try to justify monogamy as a natural human behaviour. They often talk about birds, right, because birds are nesting. The penguins, 'Oh, the march of the penguins, they're just like us.' We're not birds. If you wanted to understand dog behaviour, you look at foxes and wolves, you don't look at swans and rats. But look out for that when you're reading about human sexual evolution. So, we look at the primates that are closest to us and therefore most relevant to us. Bonobos and chimps are as close to humans as an Indian Elephant is to an African Elephant. Genetically. Closer, actually. We look at anthropology, we look at societies around the world that live in ways that are similar to the ways our ancestors lived before the advent of agriculture and private property. So we look at hunter-gatherers in the Amazon, Papua New Guinea and many other places around the world. Interestingly, in the Amazon, you find a dozen or so societies that all have the same belief about how babies comes to be

and they have no shared language, they have no contact with each other, so this is a belief that's sprung up simultaneously in all these different societies. The belief, it's called Partible Paternity. The belief is that a foetus is literally composed of accumulated semen.

When women start to menstruate, they're a little bit pregnant, but it doesn't turn into a baby until they've accumulated enough semen that it reaches a tipping point. Then it starts growing and it becomes a child. Now, like mothers everywhere, these women want to have the strongest, healthiest, funniest, best looking baby.

So, what do they do?

They make sure they have sex with the funniest guy, the best looking guy, the strongest guy, the best hunter. To get some of the essence of each of these men into the baby. So this again undercuts in a very strong way, the conventional view of human sexual evolution. We look at comparative primate anatomy which we'll get into a little bit later, much to the embarrassment of all of us.

Psycho-sexuality, what turns us on and off. What sort of porn do people watch. What sort of problems do people have in relationships. And then we triangulate from all these different sources of data. This is just a brief look. Is that shaking or am I? It's shaking.

Just to show you how close we are to the chimps and Bonobos. OK, here it is. So you see here, chimps and Bonobos are equidistant to humans because the line that led to humans and the line that led to chimps and Bonobos split off about five to six million years ago.

And then this line split one to three million years ago. So, if you ever read chimps are our closest primate relative, not true. Similarly, Bonobos are not our closest primate relative. Chimps and Bonobos are equidistant from us, and therefore equally relevant as animal models for human evolution.

So, what are Bonobos like? Bonobos are very different from chimpanzees, although they're very closely related. They look almost the same, but Franz Duvall the great primatologist we were discussing earlier said that chimps use violence to get sex, Bonobos use sex to avoid violence. Very different approach to social life. Chimps have a male-dominated very hierarchical, very aggressive social order. If you throw some food into an enclosure of chimpanzees, all hell breaks out.

The dominant males will take control of the food, share it out with their coalition partners. If there happens to be a female who's in estrus, she might get some of it. If there's a lot of food, it will filter down eventually, a little bit, but they get all the good stuff. If you throw - well, we'll see what happens if you throw some food into an enclosure of chimpanzees. I don't want to ruin the surprise for you. Bonobos social life is female-centred. The women - the women (!). The females rule the society. The males are a little bit bigger than the females but if a male attacks the female, all the females will gang up and attack that male, and put him in his place. Now, men might be uncomfortable by that, but I'm telling you, when women rule a society, the men get laid more. (Laughter)

Everybody's happier. In chimpanzee society you see murder, you see warfare, you see rape, you see infanticide,

you see every form of nastiness you can think of.

In 40 years of observing Bonobos in the wild and in captivity, there has never been witnessed a case of any of those things. Not one murder, not one infanticide, not one rape. So, it's a very successful society. But obviously it's a society in which paternity certainty is not a concern. Bonobo sexuality is strikingly similar to human sexuality. They have sex face-to-face, they stare into each other's eyes, they tongue kiss, which is really creepy. (Laughter) I have videos of that, but I won't show you that. (Laughter)

And what's interesting is that Bonobos - do a little maths experiment in your head, think about how many times you've had sex in your life. And - sorry, are you weeping? (Laughter) Somebody down here looks really sad. Masturbation included, alright? (Laughter) And then think of how many children you've had. So what's the ratio? 1000:1 or more for most of us. There are very few animals in the world who have that sort of a ratio of sex acts to birth. People often say to me 'You make us sound like animals'. No, animals are way less horny than we are. There are very few animals in the world who have sex for non-reproductive purposes. Oral sex, anal sex, handjobs, you know - very few animals do this. Most animals only have sex when the female is ovulating. And they only have conventional, Vatican approved sex. (Laughter) So, keep that in mind, OK?

And the animals that do have a lot of non-reproductive sex are humans, chimps, Bonobos and dolphins. All highly intelligent, highly social animals. The argument that we make in the book is that human sexuality just in a nutshell, is not primarily about reproduction. Which should seem obvious when you look at the ratio. Gorillas have sex 10-15 times per child. We have sex 1,000 or more. So obviously fewer than 1% of our sexual activities result in a birth. So it's not primarily about reproduction, it's about something else. And what we say in the book is that it's about establishing and maintaining complex social bonds. Complex social networks. That's why it's common to these highly social, highly intelligent species. Psychologist Christopher Ryan, with his 'Monogamy just ain't natural' theory at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas. Finally today, the unhappy truth is that children have a special talent for war. They make excellent scouts and are natural risk-takers, as former child soldier, Emmanuel Jal has experienced first hand.

At age seven he was recruited into the Sudanese Liberation Army where he fought for five years. Here, Jal is in conversation with foreign correspondent Kate Adie who's reported from many war zones around the world. I always end up, when talking about war, I always end up saying it's not like Hollywood -

the bad guys win. No, that's right. And often the good guys do dreadful things and unspeakable things. It is not as so many of us absorb, conflict, which, by the way, we're lucky it's not by actually ever being involved in it if you live in a peaceful place. You watch the movies, you read the books you think 'Oh, that's OK', 'cause it only goes up to a point. And on the whole, in all the books and movies, the good guys win. Yeah. Life's not like that. And when you talk about -

I work as a television reporter and it is not possible, and I can't think of a television channel on which it is possible, and there are some that go further than others, on which you can put the full realities of war, which I myself have actually myself witnessed. You cannot do it. In fact a lot of people recently, for instance, have been very shocked to see images on YouTube posted out of Syria, for example, and Libya. Because that is the unmediated reality. Television is absolutely sanitised in most societies and therefore, reporting war is a constant battle and argument about how much the audience can stand and how much reality you can deliver. And it's because of that that some issues appear to be more difficult and unusual than they actually are. Not more difficult, but more unusual with child soldiers. You will see them in many countries and it's dreadful what happens but the answer is that that is war and human beings do it.

But a lot of people don't actually know in some wars, you're actually participating in fuelling a war. For example, you may not know,

if you think about Congo now there are child soldiers

and if you look at our mobile phones,

I have two blackberries, sometimes I even feel bad, OK, I'm actually fuelling a war,

because there are certain elements that are needed to create the mobile phones. And also, if you talk about the diamonds, if you talk about the fuels if you're wearing shoes which are made of leather -

just recently I came to realise actually the tribal wars that were happening in southern Sudan

were actually fuelled by the government. So the tribes are given guns, they go and invade the next tribe, take their cows, ship them to Khartoum and those cows are sold to Saudi Arabia and Europe and China. So, in Khartoum there are a lot of cows that have been taken. So, it's a cheap way to buy cows - just give them guns, they kill each other,

so there's many ways in which people are participating, and people don't know they also have so much power to actually stop this, and sometimes, maybe, in the West, wars are distant. They only know in the 1940s, the effect of it, and also seeing it - maybe Hollywood, in the movies. Although, both Kate and I were in the Balkans in the 1990s

so it's a lot more recent than that for parts of Europe

and that was a particularly dirty war, a particularly unpleasant war and I think that informs some of what Kate is saying. And very difficult to report in the one sense

that the audience didn't really want to know about it. They want things more clear cut. I used to get people saying 'Where are the front lines?' I'd say, 'There aren't any, it's just one village divided against itself. Nevermind the next village. Neighbours kill neighbours.' I said the biggest incidents are people crawling over the village... know, wall, and going and killing their neighbours. It's a grubby business.

I was actually in the family kitchen in a village in Croatia during the Croat-Serb war, which preceded the Bosnian one and the Serbs came down the village street. This is a middle class, affluent place, modern kitchen, fridge-freezer, big colour telly all the bits - we're talking about Europe absolutely, and we were in the kitchen, it had been quiet over lunch time, we'd just arrived we were - there had been trouble farther into the village, we got into the kitchen,

because they'd dragged us in and said 'lunch'. Hospitable. Out came all of the Slivovitz, out came all the cheese and the ham and the wonderful stuff and they insisted on pushing lunch into us and just as we were finishing and saying we must go, there was the sound of mighty explosions. Trouble started about 600 yards away

and this civilised, educated family rushed under the kitchen sink, brought out two kalashnikovs, bashed open the kitchen window... (Laughter) ..and then we were all on the floor, and then, after small arms fire started up here and there, they fired and he cheered. We said, 'What have you done?' He said 'We just killed our postman.' (Concerned sigh) I said, 'What?' He said, 'Yeah.' I said, 'How do you know it's the postman?' 'Oh, he's been coming here for 15 years. We've just killed him.' It's a dirty war. That's the kind of thing which is very difficult to convey. It's not the Hollywood movie, it's not the daring do, the heroism, it's killing your postman. A disgusting euphemism was created for exactly that, 'ethnic cleansing'. I think one of the nastiest phrases I know. But coming back to you Emmanuel, I'd just like to be very specific about what's going on in Sudan at the moment. Southern Sudan achieved statehood, in theory at any rate - I understand that has actually made things worse for many people in the north.

It's - at the moment it's very difficult for government in the north because a lot of money that they got from the oil is going to the south. But the government still play ways

in which they don't want the south to be stable. So at the moment there's a lot of tribal raiding, and there's a lot of conflict. It's going to take time for South Sudan to stand on its feet. And Darfur is still in a state of war? is the Bashir government is trying to control everybody, so it is trying to use Islam to say, 'We are one people', Arabising everybody by force and the main target are the Blue Nile, Nuba Mountain and Darfur. Which have, because they have - the only thing that I find is we feel like we left the Nubians and then Darfur wants them to just finish them and eradicate them. The same tactics they use in the south is what they're using there, because in the war 2.5 million people died, those are mostly, majority women. If we're talk about soldiers that have died, I don't think they would have reached 200,000. But the women and children, that the government just go and kill everybody - that's what reached that number. I must raise this because I listen to you, sane, lucid, reasonable, thoughtful, balanced,

an enormous number of people would argue that if you have the kind of experience that a child soldier has, that you have had, how come you are sane, reasonable et cetera? The question is that irreparable damage is done and - How come I'm reasonable like this? There definitely is - is that what you're saying or - I'm saying that a lot of people, I don't say this, but I get the argument to me, going and seeing a lot of violence,

people say - people have started conversations with me with the words, 'You're a very damaged person', (Laughter) And I say, well I hope not.

It's a serious matter, because it's a deeply felt feeling, particularly in psychiatric-based Western culture that experiences as a child are lifelong and change you. Well, maybe I -

I'm not sure I quite understood your question, but I'll try. What is - the trouble I get is when I was, I think I was in Finland or somewhere, is it - the place, The Hague, we were in The Hague on one trial

so the three ex-child soldiers that were there so, some female said, 'Oh, I want to take pictures with these child soldiers,' and I said 'My God, so do I look like a child soldier?' like, in my thoughts and I said, 'I'm not a child anymore.' I could probably - I'm not going to put the joke, 'cause to them they still think we're still children, but the difference is for me to be able to talk like this, I've healed. I've taken the step forward to be a voice. I was bitter - if you're still bitter inside and you haven't healed inside, everything will be difficult. You will not be able to find a way to be able to talk properly, answering a question will be difficult. In fact I hated Muslims and Arabs and I wanted to kill as many as possible. the training was really hard for me, but the fact that I wanted revenge for my family is what kept me to finish the training. But when I went to Kenya, when I was smuggled into Kenya I became lucky so I actually went to school and I was educated and I came to discover Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, I came to know about Martin Luther King and then I discovered the truth - what was killing us was not the Muslims or the Arabs. So, what I came to realise was that what was killing us was the gold, it's the diamonds, it's the land, is what was killing us. And so I started dedicating myself and I said, 'OK.' When I was growing as a child, I used to know - I come from a tribe called 'Nuer', so we were told from the stories that Dinka eat people

and so as a kid growing up, you want to be a warrior, you want to throw spears, so we would go and train each other, you throw spears at me because you're preparing yourself

for the next cattle raids and the Dinka people because we don't feel they deserve the cows. And so the Dinka had their own ideologies saying that Nuer people are sub-human,

that they don't deserve the cows. So they all come and raid. So, in those battle fields, even in those days even when I was in Ethiopia, one of my best friends was a Dinka. When we shared a bed, I used to freak out at night, I slept with one eye open, hoping that a tail would pop out of his arse and probably eat him. So as a kid, I was growing up and until I was 16, I still had the belief that the Dinka ate people. So, when I look at the theory and say, 'What difference is this?' when Arabs came and started enslaving people and taking the land and telling us that we don't deserve what we have, and that the land had been given to them by God. And so when I compare the same thing, what difference is this to what we are doing to each other as tribes, and to when Europeans came and just took everything?

And so what I came to realise is that people extend empathy to people of the same colour or same language as them or same faith as them and then create and label the other people and then they begin to rob. And so, the understanding, the education helped me in my healing process that I've been able to have now. But it doesn't mean that before, I had to forgive myself. But the thing is the torments are not there,

the things that I have done, the horrible things -

I may not talk about them now but they're in the book - I justify them, you see, just to help you say 'It happened, it wasn't me. If this never happened, I wouldn't have done this.' But the nightmares or whatever your eyes - the difference is what you see with your eyes, how terrifying it is, it's difficult to erase it, but you have to learn to live with it. So the nightmares still come. I woke up this morning, I had a nightmare last night. I was in a battlefield. But to wake up and realise, 'OK, I'm in a hotel' - that's when I got to relax. So, the war can still visit you even after it's done. I'm sure, because you've been reporting too, and if you've seen those things you're explaining, sometimes they visit you at night. Great answer. (Applause) Child soldier, Emmanuel Jal sharing his experience of the horror of war with foreign correspondent, Kate Adie. That's a wrap for Big Ideas and this week's special from the Festival of Dangerous Ideas. Remember you can find all of the talks you've seen today and more besides at the new look Big Ideas website. And look out for our lunchtime weekend shows on News 24 Saturday and Sunday at 1pm.

I'm Waleed Aly, I'll see you then. Closed Captions by CSI THEME MUSIC

Our wonder is in France and it's one of the greatest religious buildings in Europe. Chartres Cathedral is a great religious treasure. It's 13th-century Gothic, a medieval representation of Christianity in stone. It's easy to imagine the impact this mighty architecture would have had on the humble pilgrims coming here. They would of seen nothing like this anywhere else in all their lives And would of marvelled at the massive height of the edifice. The great space itself enclosed by the seeming impossibility of the height of the vaulted walls. How could such a thing be possible? How could a ceiling so high be held up? And how could walls so full of glass remain standing? What were the secrets of the arches and pillars that bore all this weight? But the thing that would probably have impressed the most was the light.

According to the scriptures, God is light. So the light flooding in here, manipulated by the coloured glass, would itself be seen as sacred and holy.

Perhaps without realising it, these pilgrim were worshiping something that has been the subject of human devotion since long before the birth of Christianity -

the light of the sun. The more you look, the more you see images that aren't necessarily Christian. Stone carvings on the doors depict signs from the zodiac.

Others simply show the world of man. A huge beetle with a human head, reminiscent of an Egyptian scarab. And in the middle of the cathedral, a marble labyrinth which has no Christian origins at all. And some of the ceilings show distinctly Eastern influences

in the decoration.

For those prepared to look, the clues can be found that Chartres is much more than at first it seems. Closed Captions By CSI

This Program is Captioned


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