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Desmond Morris reaction - Essay Example

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Desmond Morris makes several good points in his paper about territorial behavior. Instead of considering whether or not I agreed with him, I found myself thinking of recent incidents in my own life that were suddenly and clearly explained. My living space, for example, is very cramped and represents just about every element of defining space Morris discusses…
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Desmond Morris Reaction Paper Desmond Morris makes several good points in his paper about territorial behavior. Instead of considering whether or not I agreed with him, I found myself thinking of recent incidents in my own life that were suddenly and clearly explained. My living space, for example, is very cramped and represents just about every element of defining space Morris discusses. Having divided his essay into three major topics, the territorial space, the familial space and the individual space, Morris’ ideas were quickly available and, because of the way they were immediately applicable to my daily life, impossible to refute.
The territorial space was most interesting to me because I have noticed that people make a fairly wide combination of affiliations depending upon the circumstances. For instance, not everyone in my group of flats has the same political affiliations, but we are all neighbors and form a solid group whenever anything unfamiliar enters the neighborhood. At the same time that we identify ourselves as residents at this place, we also identify ourselves as students at the same school, workers at the same place, ‘workers’ or ‘students’, members of particular political parties and members of different and usually much smaller social groups and clubs. When our group of flats gets together for community events, we present a solid group to the outside, but inside, we are organized and divided according to some of these other affiliations.
While I had always assumed this affiliation process was a natural process of sorting according to individual personality types, I hadn’t considered how we established these associations so quickly within the group setting. Morris’ explanation into the various visual clues we provide in our daily interactions as he came down to the familial level began to make this clear. For example, I suddenly realized that no matter which door in the complex I come to, I can usually tell which resident lives there by the way they have customized their entrance area, which is otherwise identical to everyone else’s entrance area. Even people who have done nothing more than throw down a mat reveal that this place is unique to them and I am able to recognize that I am entering onto their territory.
To determine the degree to which Morris’ ideas were true at the individual level, I tried an experiment with a neighbor who is well known for being pushy and aggressive and generally not well liked. In an impromptu encounter with him in the hallway, I noticed that he is of Middle Eastern origin and remembered what Morris said about personal space. When we began to talk, I planted my feet in the pavement and refused to move backward even when I started to feel slightly uncomfortable because of his closeness. Suddenly I realized we were having a very pleasant conversation that each of us was clearly enjoying. My neighbor even commented that this was the first good talk he’d had with anyone since he’d moved there.
While I still think there is a great deal more complexity and other factors involved in determining how we, as human being, behave, Morris’ view of how we indicate what belongs to us are enlightening. I have discovered more about how I behave and relate to others and, as a result, have been able to improve my relationships with others. Read More
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