Men are territorial in a different way than women. It is not that women do not defend what is theirs. But the theirs which they defend are people and not places, are relationships and not cultural constructs.
I have understood this since my time spent on Cayo Santiago as an undergraduate student. Some of our behaviors are expressly and deeply primate. Many of the elements of society that we would like to believe are cultural, learned and passed on through education and societal institutions and indicative or some sort of moral fabric are biologically-based behaviors.
Yes, culture is learned and passed on generation to generation and the degree to which this happens in people is apparently far greater than in any other species.
What I rarely see mentioned, and never discussed in detail, is that a large portion of our learned systems were created to culturally re-enforce biological inclinations.
Can we disentangle testosterone from the enforcement of wearing a hijab or a wedding veil? So much of our societal infrastructure is built upon territorially derived concepts which are imaginary and just as ephemeral as connections between people. Borders are just lines drawn in the sand, erased by wind, rain, and boot tracks.
Civil society is nothing but agreed upon concepts.
What connects two people? What is friendship? What is a parental-child relationship? Why do you smile when you see the face of an old friend you haven’t seen in years or decades?
I have been thinking about these things in depth as of late because of high school reunions, the death of my last living sibling, and the pride I felt when my daughter said she wanted no veil, nor any tribute to the notion of a veil, as we picked out her wedding dress. This juxtaposition of life passages has made me even more contemplative than usual.
As we age, if we are lucky enough to appreciate that age is a gift of the universe to our transient physical nature, many of us begin to reflect on life and the roads we have walked. Our reflection shares many of the traits of youthful questioning so well summed up in song lyrics, “and the lonely voice of youth cries, ‘What is truth?”
I am still calling out, “What is truth?” My mature iteration of questions to the cosmos understands that there are no answers to these cries formed in the lonely hours of the sleepless nights but the answer, the truth, we find in our hearts that lives beyond the realm of words and definitions. Bliss, happiness, and belonging all exist beyond the material world of things, ownership, and desire.