SOCIETY: a biological system of role distribution that facilitates the exploitation of a resource

A society of a species is created and sustained by a system of interactive communicated behaviour that facilitates role distribution amongst its individuals. It is a complexification of coordinated behaviour whereby the numerous individuals of a species become partitioned into groups that specialize their roles and exchange their contributions with one another. Hunters hunt. Gatherers gather. Warriors war. Builders build. Crèchers crèche. Everybody eats.

Survival prospects can be significantly enhanced by the formation of such social groupings in order to more effectively exploit a resource or perhaps to provide a more formidable defence. The control system of such groups is usually provided by hierarchical communications, where certain individuals adopt dominant roles in order to lead or guide operations, and the remainder follow and supply circumstantial information. A 'pack' is a more effective hunting strategy for exploiting a mobile food resource and a 'swarm' distributes the labour of food collection, reproduction and defence. A human settled urban social structure is an effective strategy for exploiting the horticultural potential of farmed grains and food crops.

The capabilities of a species are further enhanced when objectives that are impossible for an individual become achievable for a society. As well as smaller and faster prey being attainable by coordinated strategies, larger prey that is unattainable for an individual may not be able to resist a determined group attack. Barriers and distances that would defeat an individual may be overcome by team cooperation. For humans in particular, the manufacture and creation of complex objects require the participation of tens, hundreds or thousands of individuals in order to provide the sophisticated materials, components, design ideas, planning and final assembly. Whether it is a pyramid-tomb, jet-aircraft, nuclear power station, or a monumental computer-controlled white elephant, the creation of such complex entities is only possible by the social interaction, cooperation and role distribution of very many individuals.

Member recognition is an essential capability for the individuals of any society. Recognition is communication feedback that justifies the transmission of information about the resources of the society, whereas non-recognition should normally initiate defence and/or rejection procedures. A society works because of the contributions of its individuals to the group resources. Its structure can be disastrously weakened by the plundering incursions of non-members. Attempting to participate in the resources of a society and at the same time avoid being recognized is an almost certain indication of an intention to exploit. All social species have member recognition as an intrinsic capability... be it the chemical signs of social insects, the scent markers of various mammalian groups, or the body language and visual facial discrimination of humans. And of course, membership cards, passports, pin-numbers, and the secret two-tone fart of the hooded society, all attempt to fulfil an equivalent function of restricting resources to those who can be identified as bona fide members.

Because of food production excesses, the exploitation of natural resources, and the development of diverse media such as writing, art, and telecommunications, human society complexified and evolved organizational systems and new roles and behaviours which operated on a stratified hierarchy of individuals. In fact, at any level of sophistication and complexity, as a mode of communication between individuals becomes more effective, so a society of communicators develops as a consequence, and each form of communication will generate its own society sub-group. Systems of wealth distribution, legal administration and policing, education and military organizations evolve over time. Individual birth and nurture differences tend to accentuate and reinforce these stratification diversities. Wealth inequalities become accentuated by trade and conquest activities. Religion and education indoctrinate the acceptance of hierarchical partitioning, and the vested interest of the upper echelons use whatever means in their power... usually laws and policing... to retain and reinforce the status quo.

The society an individual is nurtured into is the core source of that individuals existential attitudes. The hierarchical level and 'left-right' perspectives of upbringing are virtually imprinted into the individual. For most, these formative perspectives are almost unquestionable life-long attitudes and only a few manage to revise them by aggressive aspirations or enduring metaphysical introspections.
The resources of social entities are significant and irresistible to diverse forms of exploitation. Beehives, cities and banks will all be plundered by external forces if they do not have adequate defences. Even internally, the privileged will attempt to increase and enhance their privileges, and parasites will try to acquire advantages at the expense of other individuals and groups. As well as the productive organizational systems that a society evolves, the early creation of a defence system, the efficient recognition or not of its members and the administration and enforcement of an equitable legal system, are essential elements in the continued functioning of a viable society.