Human Nature: The Social Aspects, Part 3

Our human nature developed in a hostile and competitive world that ultimately depended on heritable forces to instill in us a dependence on the group for our survival. When pitted against the dangers from large and dangerous creatures as well as competition from other bands for scarce resources, the instinct to create a ever more elaborate social structure proved over time to provide enhanced security. Thus the heart of the band was the social nature of its members, and the survival of the group was determined by the naturally acquired and innate intensity of that binding force…

clovispeople b & wAs the group structure became more important it began to function as an ‘as if’ entity. Eventually the bond with the group was so effective its members functioned in much the same way as the parts of a properly functioning machine work to support the purposes for which it was designed. It was the common endeavor of its members that took the form of a type of nuts and bolts social glue. It was enhanced by the willing division of labor and it promoted collaboration so that individuals functioned together much like a ‘well-oiled’ machine. These efforts to support the best interests of the group proved to be a means for the survival of its members as well. In today’s very different world this intense drive is still a functional part of our nature.

“Even now we form groups to draw visceral comfort and pride from familiar fellowship, and to defend the group enthusiastically against rival groups—these are among the absolute universals of human nature and hence of culture ….” (E.O. Wilson, Social Conquest of Earth)

Many of the thoughts that support this series of blogs originated in the book The Social Conquest of Earth by the 2 time Pulitzer Prize E.O. Wilson.