King Solomon already told us, “Go to the ant, O sluggard, observe her ways and be wise” (Prov 6:6). Not only ants, but any animal society is more caring and orderly than any human society. They have clear laws, mutual responsibility, and they respect and love one another.
We, on the other hand, have unclear laws, which is just as well since we don’t obey them anyway. We are resentful toward our governments, careless to our neighbors, competitive and cunning toward coworkers, and feel alone and insecure in a cruel world.
But there is a good reason for the mess we make of our societies. Human society and animal societies have completely different purposes. Animals operate on instincts. They don’t need to decide on the laws of their society, which rules are right, and which are wrong. Their social behavior is encoded in their genes and they feel no need to change them since those rules protect them.
Human societies were initially built for the same purpose, but that purpose is no longer relevant. Contemporary human societies are not built to protect us from enemies; they are built to elevate us above our egos. Our social relations reflect the self-centered nature of our relationships, and if we are brave enough to look at ourselves in the mirror, we will see who we are and begin to change.
When we shift from self-centered existence to caring for others, our worldview expands and we begin to experience the world on a much deeper level. As long as we are confined to our own needs, all we see is our own wants. But when we see the needs of others, we feel their thoughts, hopes, challenges, and how they deal with them. Just as we perceive ourselves as entire worlds, so do everyone else. The more people we care about, the more worlds we “absorb” into ourselves, and the richer our own world becomes.
For this reason, human society was not built to run on instincts, but on people who nurture interconnections in order to gain deeper understanding and awareness of themselves, the people around them, and the world at large.