Human Societies

Let’s see whether human societies can be considered as living organisms. Without doubt in human societies the division of labour is on very high level. But it wasn’t always like this. During the history of the humanity the size and the complexity of societies were rapidly growing. The story started in the prehistorical times.

The tribe as the unit of life

The ancient hunter-gatherer tribes were already inherent units. The division of labour was not so sophisticated as nowadays but existed. The job of an individual was not determined at the grow up like at leaf-cutter ants, rather depended on age and gender. So, the division of labour was more or less similar to the division of labour of bees in the aspect that it was not hard wired into the individual but was changing during the life of it. After the childhood young individuals helped around the household and in gathering. Girls rather helped in taking care of babies, boys did more in the household. Gathering was a common activity for both genders when they were young. The maturity is a threshold which was clearly marked with an initiation ceremony. After crossing the threshold started the period of reproduction. In this period the males are hunters or warriors – the used word depended on the temperament of the tribe. First of all, they had to defend the tribe, and besides that by hunting they supplied the tribe with high nutritious food. The females’ main responsibility is to take care of babies. Besides that, they took part in gathering and other activities in the household. After the end of their reproduction period the women were helping with their experience in the bring up of babies and children. Old men were becoming the decision makers of the tribe based on their experience.

Of course, the above description of the division of labour within a tribe is a general one, and every single tribe is different in some aspect and in some custom. But the common is that there is a division of labour based on age and gender, which makes the tribe an inherent unit. The tribe defends and takes care of its’ members, and this doesn’t depend on the actual performance of the individual. The tribe hunts and gathers the food together, and they prepare, warehouse and consume it together. On this way the tribe provides its’ members with a stability. On the other hand, the members are ready to sacrifice themselves for the tribe. This means that the stability is achieved on a higher level than the individual.

Like the insect societies the tribe also has a higher level of information carrying subsystem than the genes. The tribe means a common culture with common rites and traditions. A part of this tradition that the members of the tribe differentiate themselves from other tribes, and this differentiation makes them one unit. Unlike ants which live in an olfactory world and use pheromones for producing differentiating information humans use visual signs because our most sensitive sense are our eyes. We live in a visual world and for differentiation we use tattoos, body paintings or clothes.

 Culture of course is not only for the identification of the tribe. It carries lots of information about the environment, about the best practices which help the daily survival of the members and on that way the survival of the tribe as a unit. Just like in case of competition of the genes, in the competition of cultures that one will spread, which is more useful in everyday life. And usefulness not only means the pragmatical advantage in daily life, but the also the creation of cohesion between the members of the tribe. Cohesion and cooperation are a greater advantage, than any master-stroke.

Modern societies

Considering the very sophisticated division of labor we could think that we, humanity compose an inherent unit. We can hardly survive without our society – whatever it means – and even without other societies – whatever it means. So, from the life criteria of being an “inherent unit” the inherency is surely given, but what about the unit? What is the unit? There are several units, but which unit is the real unit, which we can consider as the higher level of living? Is it our country? Or is it the company or organization we work for? Or the city, the village we live in? The church we belong to?

From the history of the twentieth century we know that, we should not trust in our country. Especially not if we are a member of some minority: homeless, Gipsy, black, Jewish, Kurdish, Tutsi. Sometimes our country does not defend us, sometimes sacrifices us, and sometimes “simply” eliminates us. In relation with it, modern people are less and less capable to sacrifice themselves for their homeland. Earlier in the history warfare was considered as a defense of ourselves as a unit, from the aggression of another unit. Nowadays it is more and more considered as the manipulation of nations or religions by politicians or priests due to the their’ own interests. So, the loyalty on both sides deteriorates. We are pleased with the tendency of lower willingness to warfare and increasing chance of peace. On the other hand, we can diagnose that the country is not a unit of the higher level of life.

We can diagnose the same about religion but on another way. Religious people even nowadays are ready to sacrifice themselves for their faith. Religious communities are also ready to defend their members. But there are less and less religious people, and less and less communities. A holy mass generally is not a congregation of the believers anymore, rather a service of the church for the individuals. In the mosques, synagogues and churches of big cities most people do not know each other.

There are some companies which offer to their employees life time employment. Even if we know from our ecological studies, that it depends not only on the firm, but on the other participants of the market, we admire this kind of commitment, which provides the employees with high level of safety. In Japan even nowadays, the commitment towards the company has a high value.

But not only Japan exceptional. The newly established companies all over the world have highly committed employees, who work at least double of the normal working hours for years. However, this mutual commitment is rare in today economy. Most people are working for such companies which immediately fire them, if their experience considered as not needed anymore. And most people do not hesitate to resign for twenty percent higher salary.

Is it a real cooperation?

Unlike any other species’ humans’ cooperation is not completely altruistic. Most of the cooperative actions receive immediate compensation: money. The clearing is not immediate, the money can be turned into a compensation later. But most of the cooperative actions are measured in money, and without money very few cooperative actions are accessible in human societies. Does it mean that the human soul is not really prepared for cooperation? Do we really need an immediate measurement? Or this is just because we are not a member of any real community?

Our money warrants us that we will receive our compensation. The money enables us to receive the compensation far later than we have made our contribution, and also enables an extremely high variety and flexibility of compensations. But why do we need warranty? Why doesn’t warrant the society itself a kind of care taking? It does, but far bellow the normally expected level. It seems that the family is the only really altruistic unit of the societies, but the cooperation operates on much higher level than the family.

People are becoming more and more rootless in that term, that they do not belong to anywhere, and they are not about to sacrifice themselves for any community. The really committed people considered as mad or as fanatic in the sense of “non compos mentis”. Communities do not expect serious commitment, because they cannot offer defense. They are also lack for commitment. The human individuals who are mentally designed for being a precious member of a clan, find themselves in mega size communities in which they have no real value. Our specie, which already have conquered the earth in its’ tribal age, has outwear the planet, and lost the space for tribal competition. The higher levels of competition are much more risky. In the combat of gigantic entities tens of millions of people die, as happened in the World War II.


Do we humans form a superorganism?

If we do form a superorganism, then what are the units?

How many levels of life do we manifest?

What should be the organizing concept of the superorganisms composed of people?