the nesting instinct

“Darwin observed that the orang in the islands of the Far East, and the chimpanzees in Africa, build platforms on which they sleep, and as both species follow the same habit, it might be argued that this was due to instinct, but we cannot feel sure that it is not the result of both animals having similar wants, and possessing similar powers of reasoning. Untamed apes do not share man’s urge to seek shelter in a natural cave, or under an overhanging rock, but prefer an airy scaffolding of their own making.*”

15 June 1767 the Baron Cosimo Piovasco di Rondò decides to leave the ground in order to live in the trees. He refuses all luxuries from his aristocrat family, climbs up a holm oak towards an arboreal existence and will never touch the ground again. “…a person who would like to see the Earth clearly, has to keep the necessary distance…” [Italo Calvino’s fantasies in Il Barone rampante – The Baron in the trees, 1957]

[Image> Eviction of North American tree dwellers, in Erasmus Francisci’s Lustgarten 1668, from *Rudofsky’s Architecture without architects]

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