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Desmond Morris quotes Showing 1-19 of 19

“We never stop investigating. We are never satisfied that we know enough to get by. Every question we answer leads on to another question. This has become the greatest survival trick of our species.”
Desmond Morris
“I viewed my fellow man not as a fallen angel, but as a risen ape.”
Desmond Morris, The Naked Ape: A Zoologist's Study of the Human Animal
“Biologically speaking, if something bites you, it is more likely to be female.”
Desmond Morris
“...In little more than a single century from 1820 to 19450, no less than fifty-nine million human animals were killed in inter-group clashes of one sort or another.... We describe these killings as men behaving "like animals," but if we could find a wild animal that showed signs of acting this way, it would be more precise to describe it as behaving like men.”
Desmond Morris, The Human Zoo: A Zoologist's Study of the Urban Animal
“We may prefer to think of ourselves as fallen angels, but in reality we are rising apes.”
Desmond Morris
“My writing, on the other hand, is always done with my readers in mind. I never write for my own amusement. I always try to put across an idea that I feel is important, in the most easily readable form I can manage. This has annoyed some of my academic colleagues, who feel that I am oversimplifying my subject, but I argue that at least my writings are widely read, while theirs stay firmly within the confines of their academic ivory towers. And I always work with one special rule in mind: simplification without distortion. This is, in fact, much harder than the usual self-indulgent academic writing.”
Desmond Morris
“...of eighteen kittens reared in the company of rodents, only three became rodent-killers later on. The other fifteen could not be trained to kill later by seeing other cats killing. For them the rodents had become 'family' and were no longer 'prey'. Even the three killers would not attack rodents of the same species as the one with which they were reared.”
Desmond Morris, Catwatching: The Essential Guide To Cat Behaviour
“A belief in the validity of the acquisition of knowledge and a scientific understanding of the world we live in, the creation and appreciation of aesthetic phenomena in all their many forms, and the broadening and deepening of our range of experiences in day-to-day living, is rapidly becoming the 'religion' of our time.”
Desmond Morris
“Frequently we imagine that we are behaving in a particular way because such behaviour accords with some abstract, lofty code of moral principles, when in reality all we are doing is obeying a deeply ingrained and long ‘forgotten’ set of purely imitative impressions.”
Desmond Morris, The Naked Ape: A Zoologist's Study Of The Human Animal
“The news that is brought to us is nearly always bad news, but for every act of violence or destruction that occurs there are a million acts of peaceful friendliness.”
Desmond Morris, The Naked Ape: A Zoologist's Study of the Human Animal
“Clearly, then, the city is not a concrete jungle, it is a human zoo. The”
Desmond Morris, The Human Zoo: A Zoologist's Study of the Urban Animal
“In an earlier chapter I mentioned recent research which has shown that the preference for sweet and fruity odours falls off dramatically at puberty, when there is a shift in favour of flowery, oily and musky odours. The juvenile weakness for sweetness can be easily exploited, and frequently is.”
Desmond Morris, The Naked Ape: A Zoologist's Study Of The Human Animal
“We like to think of this as the conquest of bestial weaknesses by the powers of intellectual altruism, as if ethics and morality were some kind of modern invention. If this were really true, it is doubtful if we would be here today to proclaim it. If we did not carry in us the basic biological urge to co-operate with our fellow men, we would never have survived as a species.”
Desmond Morris
“The word ‘love’ is, in fact, the way we commonly describe the emotional feelings that accompany the imprinting process.”
Desmond Morris, The Human Zoo: A Zoologist's Study of the Urban Animal
“كثيرا ما نجد أصحاب السيارات يعلقون تمائم جالبة للحظ او أشياء شخصية مثل ما يضع مدراء المكاتب صور او أغراض شخصية فهـم يفعلون ذلك لتمييز حدودهم الجغرافية الفردية”
Desmond Morris, The Naked Ape: A Zoologist's Study of the Human Animal
“The only reason why we are always having the doctrine of original sin instilled into us, in one form or another, is that the artificial conditions of the super-tribe keep on working against our biological altruism, and it needs all the help it can get.”
Desmond Morris, The Human Zoo: A Zoologist's Study of the Urban Animal
“As a species we are a predominantly intelligent and exploratory animal, and beliefs harnessed to this fact will be the most beneficial for us. A belief in the validity of the acquisition of knowledge and a scientific understanding of the world we live in, the creation and appreciation of aesthetic phenomena in all their many forms, and the broadening and deepening of our range of experiences in day-to-day living, is rapidly becoming the 'religion' of our time. Experience and understanding are our rather abstract god-figures, and ignorance and stupidity will make them angry. Our schools and universities are our religious training centres, our libraries, museums, art galleries, theatres, concert halls and sports arenas are our places of communal worship. At home we worship with our books. newspapers. magazines, radios and television sets. In a sense, we still believe in an after-life, because part of the reward obtained from our creative works is the feeling that, through them, we will 'live on' after we are dead. Like all religions, this one has its dangers, but if we have to have one, and it seems that we do, then it certainly appears to be the one most suitable for the unique biological qualities of our species. Its adoption by an ever-growing majority of the world population can serve as a compensating and reassuring source of optimism to set against the pessimism (...) concerning our immediate future as a surviving species.”
Desmond Morris, The Naked Ape: A Zoologist's Study of the Human Animal
“As a species we may be technologically clever and philosophically brilliant, but we have not lost our animal property of being physically active;”
Desmond Morris, Peoplewatching: The Desmond Morris Guide to Body Language
“The establishment’s reply is that dissenting students are bent, not on positive innovation, but on negative disruption. Against this, however, it can be argued that these two processes are very closely related and that the former only degenerates into the latter when it finds itself blocked.”
Desmond Morris, The Human Zoo: A Zoologist's Study of the Urban Animal


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The Naked Ape: A Zoologist's Study of the Human Animal The Naked Ape
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The Human Zoo: A Zoologist's Study of the Urban Animal The Human Zoo
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Peoplewatching: The Desmond Morris Guide to Body Language Peoplewatching
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Catwatching: The Essential Guide To Cat Behaviour Catwatching
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