Nov 22, 2013

Man is Social, Man is Weak: The Need to Be Social

Society is the man's most extraordinary biological weakness. I am nothing alone but I am proven nothing when with others.

Society does not make us weak, but rather it is us. The statement in question posits the man in relation to the society to which he belongs. A single man finds his greatest weakness in his attachment to his society. Society dictates the way he thinks, believes, loves, and so on. All his major psychological functions are influenced (if not dictated) by his society. Society taught his mother and his mother taught him. Society gives him the values in which he judges himself. For example, our capitalist society forces me to value myself in terms of things that I "have". My job, my car, my girlfriend all contribute to my overall worth, and this worth gives me hope. Society is man's greatest biological weakness because although the intelligent man can clearly see that this material evaluation of his life is silly - that life shouldn't be valued; life is beyond any type of measurement - he is unable to escape. Man it is true, in a sense, is greater in numbers, but greater only to the extent that the numbers work towards a goal that is beneficial to the individual men involved. Society helps us achieve goals, yes, but it goes a step further and tells us what the goal is. The man is not his own. Society does not make us weak, but it is a weakness as it is a barrier to our ultimate goal; namely to love and experience happiness.

Should society be held up as the reason for my unhappiness, after all it is the cause of many kinds of human achievements. Public sculpture and art. Music. Gardens. Even language itself is a cause of society. But, society seeks to take too much in return for its favours, and if I try to break away, as a few do do, I am judged as 'sick; and must be retaught how to function in society. Society goes so far as to restrict my liberty when I reject it.

Society helps to facilitate my preservation and perseverance. Alone, I would gather my own fruits and hunt my own food. With society, I am able to specialize and hoard my labour through the use of a monetary system. This system causes me stress and worry, no doubt, but is this anything in excess of what I would experience on my own? Is there much a difference between counting one's dollars and counting one's hoard of food? Perhaps not.

Yet, society is a barrier to what I think should be a human's goals - an individual will decide his own goals. It is a biological weakness because the weakness is birthed from our upbringing; namely, one of reliance on an Other (my mother, for example). The weakness is not from a societal standpoint but from an individual standpoint. Man is afraid to be an individual (meaning not psychologically reliant or unduly influenced by Others). Man is inclined from childhood to submission to an outside force, in this case the norms of society. Submission may in fact be the greatest way to achieve certain goals, such as stimulating products and power/sex; but, it must be a willing and consensual submission, which it often is not. It is most often a submission birthed out of the inability to not. Our current society is not necessarily a good strategy for the sustainment of life (as an aside - sustainment of life itself should not be taken as a self-evident good). And it would appear that society is a self directing beast that we are incapable of changing. - by saying that is it man's weakness I am negating but not positing any alternative. It would be vain to for an indoctrinated man to posit any alternative.

Isaac Snow
Hanging with his bros in Vernon, BC
January 2014

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