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Humans as Social Animals
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1/11/2015 2:52:07 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Why are humans social animals?
Quite simply because the human individual is too weak to survive on its own. The human child is too vulnerable to outside influences and must rely on other humans to survive. As Aristotle once said, "Man is by nature a social animal; an individual who is unsocial naturally and not accidentally is either beneath our notice or more than human. Society is something that precedes the individual. Anyone who either cannot lead the common life or is so self-sufficient as not to need to, and therefore does not partake of society, is either a beast or a god. "
The social condition of humanity can be traced to as the number one cause of almost any and every human insanity. Human dependence to society is the reason why humans, despite being the most intelligent species, act in the most self destructive and illogical ways-- hurting both itself and others in the process.
War is so prevalent in humans because war provides people with a strong sense of unity, and since humans need each other to survive, warlike people with a stronger sense of unity will kill off passive peoples, thereby making humanity a naturally warmongering creature, despite the fact that its intelligence allows it to consciously know that war is wrong.
Crimes of passion and loneliness are also due to the fact that humans are dependent on each other, not only for physical survival, but for emotional health, too. So many people engage in self destructive acts such as drinking, abusing drugs, wearing high heeled shoes, smoking, limiting/censoring their thoughts, starving oneself, obsessing and spending tons of money on beauty-- all in a desperate attempt to avoid loneliness and be accepted by someone. The average killer is usually a victim of abuse and loneliness, and turned that loneliness into rage.
Social conformity and adherence to groupthink (examples: culture, heritage, etc.) are notorious for counteracting the human ability to think for itself and crippling the human mind. Humans are so dependent on the group that they need others to accept them, so they do what everyone else does, even if what everyone else is doing is completely irrational and insane.
Religion and other toxic mythologies also developed because it helped ward off anti-social behaviour and promote unity within the society, despite the fact that religion has no rational basis and is the cause of many tragedies.
Government oppression is also due to human dependence on society. It is impossible for large amounts of people to live together in peace without some sort of tyrannical control over the populace. An anarchy cannot work for humans who are dependent on social cohesion. Things like propaganda and force are therefore necessary to simplify the political process and organize society, despite their incredibly negative effects.
Self hate and self sacrifice are also products of human dependence-- a self loving person will reject society's attempts to make him conform and do whatever the society tells him to. Which is the exact reason why so many people are so self destructive, we needed to be that way if the species itself was to survive. But the reason why self sacrifice is so psychologically harmful is because we are individuals with a sense of self. Self sacrifice is in direct conflict with our natural desire to be treated like an individual. If a human is to get along in society, it must cast off its sense of self, cast of its very state of being in order to survive. The human species will always be one filled with broken individuals, desperately trying to get by.
But the simple realization of the negative effects of social dependence will not solve anything-- action will. But what kind of action? Is it possible to genetically modify the human to be both physically, mentally, and emotionally independent? How can we reconcile this? I mean, human intelligence is partly due to the fact that the human is so enmeshed into society, the most self aware and individual animals are ironically also the most socially dependent. We are the most social and the most self aware and it is because of that, that we are the most insane and destructive, as shown in the examples above. The toxic combination of supreme tool and weapon making combined with our warlike and self-destructive behaviour is what created the mess that is the human condition.
And the question still remains: what do we do about it?