Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Are humans social creatures?

Post by Ian

My thoughts are as follows.

Humans are social creatures, up to the extended family group. We naturally cope with our family ties and close friends that have been adopted in to the family group. A certain amount of altruism is encoded in our brains through the 250,000 or so years of human societal development. This is the basis of the tribal social structure. As social structures have increased in size over the last 10,000 years, rules of society have been laid down through religion or secular ethics. These rules are what keeps our selfishness in check and allow us to work within a larger society. This in turn allows us the increase in specialisation and technology we enjoy today.

But is this a natural state, or are we just using our intellects to guide us through the problems? When the rules of society are not followed, then society breaks down and the natural state reasserts itself.


  1. Is this a rather negative view of human nature,Ian? Perhaps I am naive in my belief that there is something in human nature that lends itself to altruistic behaviour, or how else do you explain unexpected acts of kindness from complete strangers? It happens more frequently than you might imagine, and I am inclined to attribute it to the Holy Spirit, if you like, or, as we Unitarians might say, the divine in humans. Graham

  2. According to the Mayan prophesy, planet earth is due for another great leap forward at the end of 2012. This will not be an 'Armaggedon' but a new burgeoning of the human spirit in terms of higher levels of compassion and respect for our fellow creatures and the earth that sustains us.
    'The dawning of The Age of Aquarius' ???!! WOW !!