I had not reckoned, however, on my fellow man. With the book's publication my last alarm clock went off. Not only had the new anthropology in the time when I slept produced a revolutionaryinterpretation of man's emergence from the animal world; not only had the new biology begun arevolutionary interpretation of the behavior of animals in that world from which we came: also,as I was now to discover, our time of high stress was producing a revolutionary class of humanbeing. A new human force -- a force anonymous and unrecognized, informed and inquisitive,with allegiance to neither wealth nor poverty, to neither privilege nor petulance -- was silentlyappearing on earth. And the class was massive.There is nothing so moving -- not even acts of love or hate -- as the discovery that one is notalone. It is part of our evolutionary heritage that this should be so, and the ancient chemistryworked on me. Theater and films need not be totally abjured but might on occasion be the objectof a sentimental journey like a visit to the town where one was born. But what could not bedenied -- what could be denied no more than the future itself -- was this land of high adventurewhich science was exploring. And since somebody cared, I went back to work.
The Territorial Imperative
is a volume comparable to
. Like the first book, it is apersonal investigation into the contemporary, little-known accomplishments of the naturalsciences, and a personal interpretation of what these revolutionary studies may bring to ourknowledge of man. Unlike the first book, however, which attempted to gather in long perspectiveour increasing evidence for man's evolutionary nature, the present investigation resembles whatwe should call in films a close shot. It brings into focus a single aspect of human behavior whichI believe to be characteristic of our species as a whole, to be shaped but not determined byenvironment and experience, and to be a consequence not of human choice but of evolutionaryinheritance.In a way it is a pity that we must isolate from all that rich carpet of human impulse a singlepattern for contemplation. No man or other animal lives as other than a whole being. If I am adominant male lion with a vast impressive mane, then at once I am a predator seeking candidatesfor my next meal, or I shall grow unbearably hungry; I am also prey, and I must keep a warynostril for men carrying guns, or I shall end up decorating somebody's wall; I am a proprietor,and I must keep rival lions out of my hunting territory, or game will grow scarce; I am ahusband, and when one of my wives comes into heat then I must entertain her; I am a father, andwith due regard to future lion generations I must brook no nonsense from my cubs whileteaching them all I can; and I am also a social being for, sad to confess, I am deathly slow on myfeet and an appallingly bad hunter except at close quarters, so I am dependent on the assistanceof my wives and my friends, and whether I like them or not I must somehow get along withthem.If I am a lion I am many things at once, and if I am a man I am even more. And so it may seem atemptation toward unreal simplification to select a single aspect of the human condition withwhich to absorb ourselves. And indeed it is most surely a temptation and an almighty hazard. Inprecisely such fashion some have reduced men to a sexual symbol, and others have excavatedhim like a kitchen midden, as if he were nothing but a cultural accumulation, and still othershave embalmed him in economic determinism, like many of our friends on both sides of the ironcurtain. Shall we not when we are done have reduced him to a walking territiorial principle?