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.
Beautiful and spiritual. If I didn’t know you wrote it, or that any Nancy had written this piece, I would have guessed it was written by a woman. Is that sexist? Perhaps. Well, actually yes! Because I agree that women think more about people, feelings, age, time and happenstance, etc. You hit it on the nose, Nancy, with your gorgeous writing.
Thanks Cathy, I am most appreciative that you understand that supporting women’s voices includes appreciation of women having a voice that is distinct with women’s experiences and perceptions.
Yes, it’s always amazed me that anti-abortion activists are most often men. Men! You’ve given me something to think about this morning. Thank you.
Thinking is good, Carol. Celebrate difference and understand that we each walk a different path and understand different truths!
Helene Cohen Bludman
It’s interesting how age gives you such a different perspective on life. The older I get, the more thankful I am for having the gift of aging.
Obvious yet subtly nuanced truths are the best!
The older I get the more my opinion on issues change, I am much more mellow in my thinking. You certainly have given me much to think about.
I hope they are good thoughts!
I just wrote about loving growing older for Redbook. I think that I would not have been able to be a good mother like I am now if I’d had my daughter when I was younger, or gotten married when I was younger. Thanks for this additional food for thought.
I read your post with great interest and it added a great deal of food for thought for me too! Synchronicity in the air today!
Tam Warner Minton
I am touching my nose and pointing at you. Right on the nose, Nancy!
I starred at that photo for quite a while before I finally figured out that those were feet. But I did recognize The Man In Black right away! You’ve asked a question that I can’t even begin to answer!
I am not sure we can do anything but ask.
I really enjoyed reading this and loved that tune by Johnny. The poem was truly beautiful and gave me a lot to think about. Everyone’s truth is so different and that’s what makes it so hard to define but morals and values are universal I think and are much the same for us all. You gave me a lot to think about tonight!
Morality and rules are related, true… but I am unsure about the universality of anything.