The Echoes of the Mind (124) Territory


A man’s house is his castle. ~ English jurist Edward Coke

Humans are territorial animals. Many sports and games are based upon territory.

Materialism is a votive mind-set intertwined with territoriality. Capitalism is a natural extension of this biological bent.

Possessive tendency falls into 3 categories, based upon the perceived nature of the immediate space: private, shared, or public.

Private territories are areas you call your own: your room and workspace. Cars act as mobile territory, as so do portable possessions, such as purses and cases.

People are naturally upset by police searches of private property, even when expected. Purse and suitcase searches at airports are unsettling in having to put aside the urge to control access to personal space.

Shared territories occur in spaces shared by a select population, such as a cohabiting home, office, or classroom. Even when sharing space, individuals may have a regular seat or spot they feel some possessiveness over.

Public spaces are open to all comers. Claim to public territory is infeasible. Yet privacy does happen when people behave in public as if they were by themselves. Others tend to shy away if 2 people are having a row or intense conversation. Conversely, a couple holding hands and showing each other romantic affection tends to have others reserve the immediate vicinity out of deference.

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When someone enters another person’s private territory the host often assumes a conversational leadership role. In negotiations there may be some home field advantage.