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The Evolution of Society

Through the processes of mutation, recombination and natural selection, the many life forms have evolved that we see around us every day.

These life forms engage in both predatory and cooperative behaviours moderated by the survival advantage of each. The social organisations which have evolved, from the first multi-celled organisms to complex human societies are a reflection of where cooperation results in survival advantage.

It is the cooperative survival advantage that is responsible for the evolution of social behaviour and the attitudes that underlie it, such as the morality that is now embedded in our instincts, culture and law.
Within social organisations the individuals social attitude will predispose them towards cooperative behaviour with other individuals of the group and altruistic behaviour towards the group as a whole even though there are immediate advantages to self that can be obtained by acts of predation against other members of the organisation or by not engaging in altruism.

If these attitudes should prove insufficient then social groups  establish a set of social controls that change the natural reward or penalty for an act by the addition of an artificial reward or penalty i.e. antisocial acts are punished and social acts rewarded within the society.
Social organisations endeavour to prevent acts of predation between members, protect against acts of predation from outside and possibly commit acts of predation on those outside the society.

There appear to be three forms of morality, instinctive, traditional and reasoned morality.

Instinctive Morality

Nature has evolved such controls in the form of a sense of morality and guilt but like all things in nature this varies from one individual to another as nature continues to optimise it through evolution.

Nature has evolved morality to limit predation to those most socially distant to ourselves and altruism to those most socially close.

Traditional Morality

Our instinctive morality is also augmented by social traditions and by a reasoned morality, though there is no rule that the higher moralities are less predatory than the lower moralities.

Reasoned Morality

For the protection of liberty and for other reasons additional rewards or penalties may be created within the organisation. Such rewards or penalties may be prescribed in written law or may be examined case by case but with a view to equality. These may be supported by reasoned argument or other means.

Social Paradigms

There is a constant battle between social paradigms as groups that subscribe to one or other paradigm struggle to convert others to their own paradigm. There are constant struggles also as members of paradigm groups decide which other groups they will cooperate with and which they will exploit and to what extent.

Social Power

To understand more about social organisation and power in a society, follow this link Organisations

(C)2010 Tom de Havas. The information under this section is my own work it may be reproduced without modification but must include this notice.