The movie, 2001: A Space Odyssey shows a Monolith uplifting apes by teaching them to use bones as tools. One tribe of apes use the tools as clubs to kill another tribe to gain access to a watering hole.

The book 3001: The Final Odyssey tells us that the Monoliths decide to

kill all humans for being too warlike. Thus implying that the Monoliths select out overly aggressive species and favor more peaceful civilizations.

Wouldn't the original monolith have known that the apes it uplifted just invented war?

I don't think the answer is in the books (and certainly not in the movies), so I am looking for answers from interviews or comments by the author, Arthur C. Clarke.


Note that there is a difference between the ape-men battles and the later wars men fought among each other.

By influencing the mind of Moon-Watcher in our distant past, the monolith effectively created a separate breed of man-apes. The fore-bearers of our race became smarter than other tribes of man-apes. Fighting the 'lesser men' can therefore be seen as competing with another, distinct and separate species for 'lebensraum'; in fact, the tribe discovers they can kill prey for food. All killing - for food or for protection and 'space' - is directly related to survival.

In our modern age, things are different. The fighting now is between equals, and the reason is not survival, but it is (mostly) politically motivated. It no longer serves the survival of the species, but - while one group might gain an advantage over another - the species as a whole deteriorates in war.

The latter might not be a scenario the Monoliths were counting on; the fighting done in the two time-frames can be judged on an entirely different premise and a different conclusion can be reached.


Pure speculation since I dont think theres any real canon

It could be conceived that all species invent war when they are first uplifted but by the time they can reach space they usually no longer make war upon each other.

  • I seem to recall that in the epilogue of 2010 (titled 20,0010? or something to that effect) there is a comment that the uplift of humans was considered a failed experiment which implies that it was neither known or a foregone conclusion that apes would evolve into a war like creature. Can someone corroborate this? I can't find my copy to look it up. Also apologies if this is giving away spoilers, can someone help me mask this please? I don't know how its done. Thanks. – skyjack Jun 12 '17 at 8:48
  • @dominicfonde - the epilogue in 2010 is titled 20,001 but is about Europan aliens. The only reference to humans is tangential at best and open to interpretation. It is stated from the perspective of the monoliths: "they [the monoliths] became farmers in the fields of stars; they sowed, sometimes they reaped and sometimes, dispassionately, they had to weed". However, the rest of the text may seem to imply that humans are attempting contact with Europa, but are being blocked by the monoliths, so humans could still be around by 20,001 – NKCampbell Jun 12 '17 at 14:57

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