Conclusions of the Territorial Imperative

Usually, at the end of a good book, I prefer to write my thoughts about what I have read. In this case, however, you will allow me to be lazy and let Ardrey talk for himself.

He writes towards the end, and I think the conclusions make sense;
1. We must know that man, while the alpha fish among species, is unique only in his capacity for getting himself into troubles that for other species nature would be compelled to provide
2. We must know that as body and behaviour evolve as a collective enterprise,  so human behaviour like the human body is governed by evolutionary laws comparable to those of any other species
3. We must know that while the human brain exceeds by far the potentialities of that possessed by any other animal species, its psychological processes probably differ not at all from those of other higher animals, and from those of lower animals perhaps as well
4. While granting that the varying cultural achievements of human populations set man apart from other animals, still we must know that such cultures, however complex, simply serve to fill out behavioural patterns, some as ancient as recorded life
5. Man no different from any other animal is a complex of expressions, frequently conflicting, in which no single determinant- territory, society, dominance, sex, economic necessity or single innate need for identity, stimulation or security – holds exclusive or permanent domain.
6. Our capacities for sacrifice, for altruism, for sympathy, for trust, for responsibilities to other than self interest, for honesty, for charity, for friendship and love, for social amity and mutual interdependence have evolved just as surely as the flatness of our feet, the muscularity of our buttocks, and the enlargement of our brains, out of the encounter on ancient African savannahs between the primate potential and the hominid circumstance. Whether morality without territory is possible in man must remain as our final, unanswerable question.

I will add here, contrary to Jean Jacques Rousseau, the capacity for violence is innate but the tools is what we must learn.

I hope this summary doesn’t disappoint all those who were expecting more, Victoria I am pointing at you😀

My solution to war

Among humans.

I have finished reading The Territorial Imperative. Thanks arch for the recommendation.

The solution to war, if Ardrey is to be believed, is to ensure there is just enough natural hazards everywhere to keep us distracted from killing one another.

Every time we have a common problem facing the country, people forget their tribes, bigotry and hate for a moment, even if it is just a few hours and direct their energy to helping one another.

The million dollar question is how to cause this natural events. That I leave to others to come up with.

Thank you evolution for making me a man

I know most if not all of you are aware of the three blessings, a prayer said by Jews in the morning.  The prayer goes

“Blessed are you, Hashem, King of the Universe, for not having made me a Gentile.”

“Blessed are you, Hashem, King of the Universe, for not having made me a slave.”

Blessed are you, Hashem, King of the Universe, for not having made me a woman.”

This is not our interest today. We are interested in a more interesting one found in The Territorial Imperative by R. Ardrey. He writes

The daytime hippo is another thing. His flesh, I must admit, is not too bad to eat; but beyond that I can think of no virtue in all his vast carcass. He is ugly; his eyes are ugly; his mouth can exist for no purpose other than to provide the nightmares of children with appropriate furniture; his body resembles a gigantic bathtub. He is the idealised synthesis of all things ugly, and perhaps the perfection of that synthesis viewed through a hippo’s goggling eyes, is hippo beauty. But I am not a hippo and I see nothing through his eyes. Neither can I engage myself with his ways or identify myself with his purposes. He is the most graceless of beings, the most fathomless of idiot souls, a kind of prince among morons. I praised evolution for making me a man and not a Ugandan kob, but the most moving of my thanksgivings must be reserved for that genetic fortune which did not make me a crocodile who must lie on some sunny sandbank somewhere, day after day, month after month, looking at hippos.