Saturday, September 5, 2015

The social contract

I was re-watching Mad Max last night, and it got me thinking. What would happen if the social contract broke down? What if the social contract is not something that can be disassociated from humanity? What if the social contract is not an unnatural state like many people hypothesize, rather it is our state of being.

Before I go any further let me explain, what the social contract is. This is to save you the trouble of googling that shit. I had originally written this explanation a little down the line. Anyway, the social contract was first fully explained in a book by a French dude and then the idea was refined by a bunch of other dudes. For details on the timeline of the idea itself and the names of the dudes, Google it. Anyway, the social contract says that we human beings signed a contract that inexplicably resulted in the development of society in its current form. It is quite simple, isn't it?

Now let us expand that simple definition. The social contract says that we humans lived liked individual animals. Then we decided that the individual animal thing wasn't working very well for us so we decided to live together. But while doing this, the animal nature did not leave us. That meant that while we lived together we killed, we stole, we maimed, we raped each other and our families... basically we were humans in our purest form.

Despite living together, we were unable to grow and prosper. So we worked on that and decided that we needed to work something out. And we did. What we worked out was the social contract. A binding understanding that we will not harm, steal, maim, and kill etc. etc. each other. In simpler terms, we will not cause harm to another of our kind and those who violate this treaty shall be expunged from our society. 

That is how many scientists defined the social contract. They say that it is something that early humans made in order to grow and prosper. But now that I look at how the social contract is structured and how we treat those violating this contract I don't think that early humans created this thing the way we think it is. 

Imagine what it would be like without the social contract. Not something like that has been mentioned in the movies... oh no. Even if I take the broader interpretation of the breakdown of the social contract and assume that movies are representing the greater image humanity has perceived of the breakdown of the social contract, what the popular media portrays does not make much sense.

To understand what I am trying to say, take a step back and think. We evolved as a species. Why are there no other highly intelligent species here on earth other than us? The answer is quite simple. We eradicated them to make way for ourselves. This would imply that we did this as a species with a premeditated prerogative. In additional to the provisions about not harming others like us, the social contract must also contain a provision for the eradication of any threats. That would explain how we as a species eradicated any other intelligent species and subjugated those who remained. This in turn implies that the social contract has more postulates than we initially thought and thus it is much more integral to our existence.

We are also working under the assumption that violence is integral to the human nature just like all other survival and propagation of the species itself is. You see, a species that does not believe in violence cannot be focused on survival because sometimes survival demands violence, examples of this can be found in nature even today.

Coming back to the point, is the social contract integral to the survival of the human species? The case would appear to be yes, yes it is. The social contract is not just the understanding that we won’t kill each other, but also the part about killing others so that we as a species survive. This ensures that we grow and prosper. You see, we not only help each other out. We also destroy anything that stands in our way. Without the social contract both these things stop.

We being humans have multiple personalities, or in animalistic terms traits. In simple psychological and physiological terms humans have either a fight response or a flee response. Both are meant to ensure survival. But imagine with the social contract gone, the apex predator, that is us, will be hunting us.

Those with the flee response will only be able to run for so long until they are caught by someone with a fight response. The ones with the flee response are passive more docile and the ones with the fight response are more aggressive. You may argue, at this point that there are those who are more of a rational cross between the two, hybrids if you prefer.  However, I would argue that the rational state is in itself a by-product of the social contract without which we would be reduced to our baser instincts which are either fight or flight.

Keeping that perspective in mind consider the human reaction when there are no laws to bind us and hold us to our causes. We would be left unchecked to our own devices. In doing so, we would be permitting our baser instincts to take over. We would succumb to our animalistic natures and decide either to actively seek confrontations or to avoid them. We ourselves would be divided, not in the hunter gatherer sense like the early societies, but in a more violent chaotic sense.

We would be divided amongst the hunters and the hunted. Here, you may see a similarity to that portrayed in the popular culture and media. However I would, as I said earlier, digress from that description. In those myths or stories, the fleers are protected by one of the fighters turning to their cause and fighting on their behalf and then leaving peacefully once the fighters have left the fleers alone. In real life, the good guy doesn’t always win and the little guy doesn’t always throw the winning punch.

In a real life scenario, the fighter turning to the cause of the fleers would be doing so for selfish reasons, the reason itself doesn’t really matter. What matters more is the intent of the reason. The fighter may help the fleers eradicate the fighters but then the fighter will turn on the fleers. It is the baser nature that we all gravitate towards and in any real world scenario that you play out. The fighter will consume the fleers and then consumer themselves.

Even if the fleers fight back, that would mean that they are no longer fleers but have turner to fighters and then the vicious cycle of eradication will begin anew. You, my reader, if you are still reading at this point must be beginning to understand what I am trying to say. And if you do understand, kudos to you. If you don’t understand that my perspective, I must apologise for the crappy writing and would happily welcome suggestions are We can even have a discussion on this if you like.

So, in effect the consumed by the manifest nature of humanity itself, we humans as a species would drive our selves towards extinction and eventually die out. At this point you may argue that this is only the fall of civilisation and not the eradication of a species in itself as the species may be promulgated even in this state. In this case you are most likely discriminating between the male and female of our species and classifying the baser traits based on gender rather than on basis of nature.

Females can be just as violent as men and men also have the tendency to run away, men may have a greater tendency towards running away compared to women. In the current society women are tied down by societal norms and like other humans, the social contract. Due to these, they appear to be docile. But remove the societal restrictions and like all other species human females may turn out to be the greater aggressors.

So the promulgation of the species has been discounted. With all other resources and scenarios exhausted we may agree that the removal of the social contract will result in the eradication of the human species. I would have presented more scenarios here myself and discussed each and every one in detail to present by perspective opinion, nonetheless I am lazy and I will not do that. In conclusion, the social contract is an integral part of the human existence and without it we would no longer exist and neither would any of our deviants.

This also bring in another interesting point, that most of what we call mental disorders were evolutionary necessities that have now become a redundancy. But we’ll come back to what another time.