why society exists

I’ve been debating online again, and this morning I had occasion to set out the rational behind my worldview. I wanted to explain why society existed and needed to exist. I think it might also be of interest to readers of this blog:

I fundamentally disagree with you when you say society is a construction. Frankly, you only say that because it suits your selfish, self-centred worldview: you make the assumption that you’re okay fending for yourself, so everyone can fend for their selves just as well, or else die out. This is, of curse, a social Darwinian approach, and is intellectually void.

Man evolved to live in societies for a reason. We are social animals. We all know different people have different skills. A group is made up of individuals, yes, but each individual will have his or her own skill to contribute. Living as an individual, one might have some, but not all, the skills necessary for survival. It was therefore necessary to work together in a group, pooling resources, so that the maximum number of people had the maximum chance to procreate. It’s the survival of the species in all it’s diversity, rather than the individual, that matters – that’s the bigger picture.

We don’t live under the same evolutionary pressures now, of course, but the same principles apply. For the individual to be happy, he needs society to flourish, and for society to flourish, it needs to care for all its members. Say someone had a certain skill which society needed, but was otherwise unable to look after himself. The group has an interest in caring for that individual because it helps guarantee the survival of the rest of the group. That’s why I find individualism a poorly thought through concept: it is a poor attempt to rationalise greed and selfishness, but gets us nowhere. For the individual to flourish, society must flourish, and for society to flourish, individuals must work together.

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