Taming Tarzan, King of the Apes

by Berit Kjos <crossroad.to>


"Each of the animators picked
some animal movement to
analyze and tried to transpose
that movement to Tarzan."


"Education must prepare the citizens of today to live and work . . . in a world in which the only constant will be change."2 (Education and Human Development, UNESCO, 1993)

"The ecological crisis, in short, is the population crisis. Cut the population by 90% and there aren't enough people left to do a great deal of ecological damage."3 (Sam Keen, speaking at Gorbachev's State of the World Forum)


This century’s final ape-man crouches like a gorilla, swings through the jungle like a monkey, "surfs" down branches like a teenage roller blader, and follows his benign feelings like the idealized male of the nineties. What could be wrong with that?

The title of a New York Times review of the movie summarizes one problem: "From Darwinian To Disneyesque." The subtitle continues with this blend of pseudoscience and myth: "In Tarzan’s Evolution, a New Theory: The Survival of Nearly Everything."4

Evolution, of course, can refer to all kinds of changes. In this context, it refers to Darwin’s theory and the social philosophy it inspired. It has become one of three new global absolutes -- pantheism, monism, and evolution – which are now generally taught as fact in public schools. In our culture, they now tend to be accepted as fact. Even those who call themselves Christians are now adapting their beliefs to fit these cultural trends. Thus God becomes a universal God and the Holy Spirit becomes a force that fills and guides everyone. Even the Bible itself must be conformed to the evolving wisdom of our times.

These changes are part of today's cultural transformation, which receives much inspiration from Hollywood. The entertainment industry is a vital part of the broad umbrella of visionaries, managers, and "stakeholders" that have joined forces to prod and guide the revolutionary paradigm shift--

1. from the Christian world view with its biblical absolutes
2. through the humanist paradigm of relative values
3. into the global paradigm with its evolving global ethic and a new set of absolutes.

To establish the new beliefs and values in the public consciousness, our U.S. Department of Education began years ago to encourage local school districts and community leaders to form informal partnerships with the media and entertainment industry as well as with business leaders, health services, churches, etc. Hollywood has proven more than willing to do its share in this communal process of "lifelong learning" for all. Earlier Disney movies such as The Lion King, Pocahontas, and Aladdin taught two of the three new absolutes: pantheism and monism. Tarzan teaches the third, evolution.

Of course, Tarzan never mentions evolution – any more than Pocahontas mentions pantheism and monism. But the movie bombards the viewer’s heart and mind with politically correct images which suggest that:

Tarzan, the product of an ape culture, is more humane than the products of civilized society, as represented by the cruel hunter, Clayton.
Apes live together in peace like humans, only more so.
Humanity is merely a more highly evolved branch of the ape family.

These suggestions point to the values at the heart of the new global management system. Remember, when applied to this process of change, Total Quality Management (TQM) and the consensus process require that each group member be willing to "respect" the new ideas, embrace the group consensus no matter how contrary to one's conscience, and synthesize the new input into an ever evolving body of "knowledge." Catchy new myths and strategic images help direct the "evolution" of the needed "truths" and politically correct mass consciousness. Some of those myths are dramatically illustrated in Disney's Tarzan.


Actually, Lord Clayton was Tarzan’s well-meaning, aristocratic father in Edgar Rice Burroughs original 1912 novel. In the Disney movie, he becomes the villain. It fits. To create the new multicultural global village based on "sustainable development,"5 Western habits of living, thinking, and consuming resources must be replaced. But first the masses must be persuaded to give their consent. To speed the process, old myths and stories must be adapted to fit contemporary needs and to communicate the new visions.


Some years ago, while waiting for our youngest son to finish windsurfing in the bay, I watched a scrawny, crippled seagull approach a discarded apple core. It looked around anxiously, then slowly approached the delicacy. But with its first peck into the juicy treat, it aroused a senseless rage in a large healthy seagull, which charged toward its weaker brother, dug its beak into its side, and sent the poor little bird running for his life. Then, without touching the apple, the bully joined the flock a distance away.

Minutes later, the sickly bird emerged cautiously from its hiding place. Limping slowly toward the apple core, it glanced fearfully to each side for its tormentor. In the distance, the larger bird watched. When the hungry runt touched the apple, the bully charged again, pecking the weaker brother until it bled. Why? Why would this well-fed bird forbid another to eat the scraps it didn’t want? Saddened by such savagery, I wondered.

Cruelty reigns among apes and monkeys as well. Those who study animals see the harsh nature behind the soft fur, brown eyes, and flattering media images. An anthropologist had been studying a group of monkeys in Africa for some time when a party of chimpanzees invaded his safe territory. "The results were devastating," he wrote. "During the hour-long hunt, seven [monkeys] were killed; three were torn apart in front of me. Nearly four hours later, the hunters were still eating. . . while I sat staring in disbelief at the remains of many of my study subjects."

Tarzan's ape family consisted of numerous females but, apparently, only one mature male -- the father of all the ape offsprings. What happened to all the other males? The movie doesn't tell us the gruesome facts of nature in the wild.

Are apes, then, evil?

No. Evil is unique to humanity. We alone are given a moral choice. Unless they are domesticated and trained to obey, animals are expected to follow their natural instincts. On the other hand, humans are held accountable to a higher standard. Ignorance doesn't cancel the consequences for refusing to heed God’s order. "They are without excuse," the Bible tells us, referring to those who trade truth for myths and worship creatures rather than the Creator.

America seems embarrassed to talk about God's standard these days. We're ashamed of what He calls good, but we "don't even know how to blush" at what He calls sin. But then, if we see ourselves as animals, why should we?


Darwin’s theory of evolution laid a much-needed foundation for the return to earth-centered values. Like humanism, it fit what many already believed. It became an instant hit among intellectuals who shunned God, because it built a plausible "scientific" framework to support a myth that people already loved — thus validating it. In other words, the research by genuine and respected scientists began to merge with prevalent social philosophies and myths, until the product (synthesis) of this consensus took on a nature of its own. That’s one reason why creative scientists could produce full-bodied drawings of "missing links" from fractions of bones and get away with it. Though unproven and widely refuted, the familiar monkey-to-man line-up still continues to spread its powerful visual message from the pages of classroom texts and respected museum showcases. Remember, today’s "change agents" don’t play by the old rules.

Most people recognize Aldous Huxley as the British author of Brave New World. Few know that his brother, Julian, became the first head of UNESCO, or that his grandfather, Thomas Huxley, was a key promoter of Darwin’s theory in the late 19th century. This theory provided the needed scientific foundation for the socialist vision: Everything must evolve, and the transformation must be steered by wise global-minded leaders who share the vision of a planetary society unified around an evolving set of truths, beliefs, and values.

To social engineers and their disciples, evolution became far more than a way to explain the origin of life. Its spiritual application inspired a utopian hope for more evolved forms of life in the future. The fact that genuine science can’t verify this useful and manipulative philosophy, doesn’t matter. Just reinterpret the scientific evidence. Blend it with myth and spirituality. Build an aura of awe and respect toward an image of a mystical authoritative "Science" which commands public awe and unquestioning obedience. Conceal contrary facts, and only publicize evidence that backs the political agenda.

Present animal images that touch our hearts and teach global values. Give them voice and character that impress us with their moral integrity and humane wisdom. Blur the line between the species, and equate traditional views with Western intolerance and haughty superiority.

It all happened. Since the public has traded truth, facts, and logic for myths, feelings, and imagination, anything goes. We absorb the images and information – and forget to think and discern. The results flash like red lights all around, but the government-media partnership twist the facts into a plausible rationale and "solution" for yet another crisis. In the absence of moral boundaries, humans act like beasts -- validating the view that humanity is merely a higher but more destructive animal.

Naturally, if humans are like animals, they can be trained like animals. Why not use behavior modification on children? Why shouldn’t schools employ psycho-social strategies to socialize human resources for a global workforce and the 21st century community? Why not free our youth to satisfy their natural instincts, nurture their evolving animal nature, and thereby fulfill their human potential?

Yet, it doesn’t make sense, does it? At least not to those who still see reality from a Biblical perspective. But to those who have replaced Christianity with earth-centered absolutes and evolving values, it makes perfect sense. It all depends on where you stand, whose counsel you follow, and whom you have chosen to serve.

The LORD by wisdom founded the earth;
By understanding He established the heavens;
By His knowledge the depths were broken up,
And clouds drop down the dew.

My son, let them not depart from your eyes—
Keep sound wisdom and discretion;
So they will be life to your soul
And grace to your neck.

Then you will walk safely in your way,
And your foot will not stumble.
When you lie down, you will not be afraid;
Yes, you will lie down and your sleep will be sweet.

Do not be afraid of sudden terror,
Nor of trouble from the wicked when it comes;
For the LORD will be your confidence,
And will keep your foot from being caught.

Proverbs 3:19-26


If you have already seen the movie, use it as a springboard for a discussion about the differences between the world's answers to life's questions (See 1 Corinthians 1:18-24. We'll list more Scriptures later) and the Biblical creation account. Be sure you discuss -- using God's absolute truth as your filter and standard -- rather than dialogue to consensus based on feelings and opinions. (See Mind Control)


"Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things." (Philippians 4:8)


We suggest you visit and bookmark these websites:

The Institute for Creation Research
Answers In Genesis
Christian Answers. Net's Creation SuperLibrary

You may also want to visit our page on creation versus evolution.


Insightful comment by Chris Stewart: My second grader attends a local Christian school.  For "movie time", they planned to screen Tarzan, the animated movie.  Although I have not seen it, I had a glimpse of it from a free version of a computer video game.  The character almost exclusively moves in sensual ways and is very scantily dressed.  My objections were countered with "but it's TARZAN; of course he wears only a loin cloth...".  But, if a man (un)dressed like a male erotic dancer were to  come to my door and ask permission to entertain my 7 y/o daughter by jumping, crouching, and running in front of her for an hour and a half, does anyone think I would say yes?
I appreciate your movie review.  It is quite deep and I'm certain quite valid.  I guess in this case, I'm not that profound.  All I cans see from my perspective is that it desensitizes children to lewdness, nudeness and lasciviousness.  


1. Howard Green, "Xtreme Tarzan," Disney Magazine (Summer 1999), p.34-35. Citing chief animator Glen Keane, who animated Ariel (The Little Mermaid), the Beast (Beauty and the Beast), Aladdin, and Pochontas.

2. Colin N. Power, Assistant Director-General for Education, UNESCO, "Education and the Future."

3. Author Sam Keen summarizing the Roundtable discussions on "The Global Crisis of Spirit and the Search for Meaning" at Mikhail Gorbachev’s State of the World Forum, 1995.

4.Edward Rothstein, "From Darwinian To Disneyesque," New York Times, 7-15-1999.

5. See "Local Agenda 21: The UN Plan for Your Community."

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