In this essay I intend to discuss and evaluate Desmond Morris’s article on ‘Territorial Behavior’. After reading his article, and having taken into account his thoughts and perceptions, I feel I can relate to as well as appreciate the most part of what he wrote, however, on the other hand, our opinions differentiate moderately over certain aspects of the article . Morris defines a territory as a ‘defended space’. In my perspective, I find this definition somewhat vague as it fails to further educate the reader.
By this I mean it does not deliver a sufficient amount of information needed to enhance the eaders’ knowledge from what they already apprehend. In my opinion, the instinct of territorialism is by definition a powerful driving force in a species’ control of the environment, and therefore this leads me to presume that if one has more room, then in turn one has more access to resources. Morris emphasizes this consistently throughout the article by describing visual signals that relate to his three categorized terms of territory. He mentions the need for us to have our own personal space, and states boldly that if we are without it, we feel threatened. ‘A portable territory called a Personal Space…. hreatened’.
In other words, the message he’s trying to portray to the reader is that, territorial symbols help us to establish our place in society and give us a comfortable sense of security. I can comprehend on a personal level when Morris states ‘when people are too far outside our personal space, we feel rejected’, due to an unexpected situation which I encountered last summer whilst sitting on a congested public bus in London. I began to question myself, as to what was wrong with me that no one was sitting next to me. A daunting sense of rejection and consequently frustration came over me, but what I ouldn’t comprehend was, why? After reading Morris’s article, I felt a sense of calm and relief after realizing that this is simply part of human nature. I agree with Morris’s outlook, whereby he states ‘It’s hard to feel a sense of belonging with a tribe of fifty million or more’. I believe that as species, we are social beings who live our lives in the company of other humans.
We establish ourselves into various types of social groupings, such as towns, villages, cities and countries, in which we work, trade and interact in a multitude of different ways. Unlike any other species, we ncorporate socialization with deliberate changes in social behavior and organization over time. As a result the patterns of human society differ from place to place, era to era and across cultures, making the social world an immensely complex and dynamic environment. Living in a multicultural nation like America and it being the superpower that it is today, it’s impossible to create one large social group that will cater to the needs of every individual. My personal observations on society has lead me to believe that society today has a reluctant attitude towards social groups and gatherings.
I speculate that the reasons as to why these occur are principally centered around time and effort. Most Americans today revolve their lives around their chaotic, busy schedules, which in turn makes it impossible for them to prioritize their time regarding social activities, and the spare time that they do have is most often spent with their families. In Morris’s article he writes of an uncomfortable situation between diplomats of three different countries.
He does this to accentuate ‘Personal Space’ and to make the reader aware of how easily people of different cultures and backgrounds can misinterpret ne anothers body language. Every culture includes a somewhat different spectrum of patterns and meanings, for example, the ways of earning a living, systems of trade and government, social roles, religions, traditions in clothing and arts, expectations of behavior and attitudes towards other cultures and beliefs. Within a large society, there are many groups with distinctly different subcultures associated with region, ethnic origin, or social class. What we need to put into practice as a whole is to appreciate one another for who we are and what we believe in.
From my personal point of view, I found Morris’s article to be both intriguing as well as educational, in the sense that he made me put into perspective circumstances that I normally wouldn’t have even considered thinking twice about. He refreshed my outlook on the world we live in today and in turn gave me a more in-depth understanding of people of different creeds and backgrounds. It’s through reading his article that I have created an interest in educating myself on how us humans have evolved and developed over time to have established a powerful and successful nation such as America.