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Banding Together for the Common Good
In the beginning, there were people.
For thousands of years, it was popular among philosophers, theologians, and social commentators to suggest that the first humans lived as disorganized, disheveled, terrified, cold, hungry, and brutal lone-wolf beasts. But both the anthropological and archeological records prove it a lie.
Even our cousins the apes live in organized societies, and evidence of cooperative and social living is as ancient as the oldest hominid remains. For four hundred thousand years or more, even before the origin of Homo sapiens, around the world we primates have made tools, art, and jewelry and organized ourselves into various social forms, ranging from families to clans to tribes. More recently, we've also organized ourselves as nations and empires.
As psychologist Abraham Maslow and others have pointed out, the value system of humans is first based on survival. Humans must breathe air, eat food, drink water, keep warm, and sleep safely. Once the basic survival and safety needs are accounted for, we turn to our social needs - family, companionship, love, and intellectual stimulation. And when those are covered, we work to fulfill our spiritual or personal needs for growth.
Our institutions reflect this hierarchy of needs. Families, whether tribal nomads or suburban yuppies, first attend to food, water, clothing, and shelter. Then they consider transportation, social interaction, and livelihood. And when those basics are covered, our families turn to our intellectual and spiritual needs.
Read more here.