How Understanding Social Evolution Can Prepare You for the Future
Social development drives political development, as well as developments in every other realm of life—family, economy, education, culture, science, and technology. Today’s social life began to develop eons ago, when we first realized that we couldn’t provide for all our needs by ourselves.
Although we emerged from the animal kingdom, humans do not live in packs or flocks the way other animals do. It is inherent within us to seek to thrive, evolve, develop our environment, learn what life is about, and discover how we can improve our state of being. It is an egoistic drive. Everyone wants a better, safer, more peaceful life.
We also want to be superior to others. We are envious, and we seek power, respect, and lust. Indeed, these qualities motivated our development and progress, which is why man must lead a social life.
While we could cope in the woods if we tried, we would evolve as animals. There are cases where people were lost in the woods and lived there, growing up as animals. Under such conditions, a person acquires the form of an animal, losing the human within to such an extent that it becomes impossible to restore that person’s social skills and reintegrate him into the human society. Thus, throughout the generations, our overriding thrust has been to develop society and our social environment.
Now You Can Understand Your Interdependence with Others
As we evolve, we see that man does not evolve alone. Rather, everything depends on society. We develop the society, and through society our own lives develop. Both are interdependent.
You might say that today, each of us depends on thousands of people around the world. There is not a country in the world that doesn’t provide for our needs, from food, clothing, building materials, heating and cooling, to everything else that we have and own. If not directly, then the provision is done through other countries—one country providing the raw materials and another providing the machines that manufacture the final product.
The more the world becomes differentiated into expertise, the more each of us has his or her job. Yet, that job is connected and synchronized with the rest of the people in the world. This way, we can provide myriad products beyond the basic food and clothing with which we sufficed in the past.
As we have evolved, we have increased our abilities to manufacture food and clothing. Afterwards, we developed means of transportation and other technologies, resulting in developing unique expertise, such as in economics, agriculture, machinery, arts and culture, and so forth.
Today, there are entire industries that develop products we don’t need, such as sports or tourism, yet we feel we can’t live without them. Thus, a famous musician may earn in an hour’s performance what a blue-collar worker earns in a year or even more. We appreciate and even venerate things that are not necessary for our sustenance, but have become an absolute necessity to us.
If we calculate what we do everyday to provide for our basic needs, compared to everything else we produce, we will see that 90% of what we produce is actually unnecessary for our survival. Yet, we need all these other things because without them, we’d feel that our lives weren’t worth living, since these things belong to the human level of existence.
The Secret of Successful Interdependence with Others
Thus, clearly, we inevitably depend on society. While we could live in caves if we had no other choice, our evolution as humans compels us to wish for more.
Today we are at a stage where detaching a person from society means sentencing that person to a sorrowful life. Such a person may be able to provide for life’s necessities, enough to avoid starving, but for everything else, he or she would need other people. We need to produce everything that society needs, and then we will receive what we want from society. This is why our dependence on society is a given.
Today we experience this interdependence in a negative way, trying to escape it, but we have no choice. The global, interdependent human network is here to stay.
Our future depends on how we manage to adapt to this system, and use it in a positive way, cooperating, existing in a mutually complementing manner.
Only such a mutually responsible humanity has a chance of building a prosperous, sustainable future.
Written by Michael Laitman
Michael Laitman is a global thinker dedicated to generating a transformational shift in society through a new global education, which he views as the key to solving the most pressing issues of our time. He is the Founder of the ARI Institute, Professor of Ontology & Theory of Knowledge, PhD in Philosophy, MS in Medical Cybernetics. You can find him on Google+, YouTube and Twitter