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  • Foto do escritorRuy Cézar Campos

Vilém Flusser on Pimps

Atualizado: 23 de mar. de 2023

I just took a moment to translate Flusser short essay on chimpanzees. I think it's about data mining and artificial intelligence somehow. It is part of a series of short essays he wrote about animals [Bichos] for Folha de São Paulo in 1972.

I am not sure if he himself or someone else translated this essay to any other language, but anyway, it is a great thought to be shared, especially considering how he sees us as present-future-present encaged pimps of pocket monsters in a functioning consumer society.

The essay follows above this image of a Pimp statue mysteriously found in the waters of Fortaleza during scientific scuba diving in 2019 by LABOMAR - Ocean Studies Laboratory - Federal University of Ceará.

Foto: Labomar-UFC/Mar do Ceará/SEMA


Contemplate a pimp in a Zoo, encaged. He smokes cigarette, rides bicycle and eats using fork and knife.

It would be a highly educational spectacle for primary school students, if it wasn’t the case that sometimes the pimp frankly strikes some obscene poses. Despite that, it could be visited by primary courses since both students and their lovely teachers pretend not knowing the meaning of such poses. Innocence visiting innocence, such a remarkable spectacle.

Eating pimp meat would practically mean anthropophagy and a restaurant including pimp’s hands in its menu would possibly face religious difficulties. It’s because, despite immortal soul is a prerogative of our species (following the praises of western religions), the facial expression of pimps expresses something very similar to soul, way more similar than bovine’s expression (I excuse myself to the Hindus occasionally reading this article).

Without a doubt, such a similarity is deeply disturbing. It disturbs in two senses. In a retrospective sense and in a sense that envisions the future.

Disturbs in retrospection because it illustrates what we were in other times: the pelt didn’t rigorously change that much. Each of us has its own little lovely pimp [chipanzézinho] quite close to the beautiful surface we exhibit to the world.

It disturbs even harder if we consider the future. Would us be, occasionally, the pimps of a future species and are we going to be encaged for the joy of future superhuman primary school students? Occasionally will we theorize ensembles, moral philosophy, arte concreta and other primitive stuff to the children of an evolved species, our late offspring? It is a fair disturbance.

Our evolved offspring may not come so late as we think. Who knows, it already exists? Who knows, our species already tried the “genetic” jump and superhumans are already walking between us and we are not noticing?

The many cybernetic machines are not the Adam and Eve of a whole evolution to overcome human species? Aren’t people talking about a third generation of computers?

Who knows if we already live, without being aware, in a Zoo, functioning to the joy of such monsters and little pocket monsters? Without a doubt, it’s a good question. Contemplate the encaged pimp. Radiant example of consume society.

Example of our future?

VIlém Flusser - 1972 - São Paulo


Transl: Ruy Cézar Campos

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