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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 6/17/17

A Better Human Story #4-- Humankind's Perilous Step into Terra Incognita: The Rise of Civilization

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Comparing human beings living within civilized societies with those rhesus monkeys raised by the uncuddly wire-mothers is hyperbole -- particularly for those of us with the good fortune to have lived in more humane societies than most that civilization has offered people over the millennia. But the basic point remains valid.

In the next installment, I will describe how it is that the human creature inadvertently released that social evolutionary force, like uncorking a bottle out of which an evil djinee escaped to wreak its destruction.

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Karen Berlin:

I'm assuming that whatever principles are used to explain the human world, if they are valid, will be valid regardless of scale--whether applied to an individual or to a collection of individuals that make up society. My observation is that that factors that influence human behavior are of some magnitude, so I look forward to reading more of what you have to share.

Andy Schmookler:

The laws governing the operation of systems are not identical to those that govern the components of those systems. Chemistry cannot be reduced to physics, nor does chemistry, in turn, suffice to tell us all that's important about biology.

As new levels develop out of lower levels, there is the "emergence" of new organizing principles that are not derived from the nature of the constituent parts themselves.

So it is with the systems of civilization. Important things that are true about them are not a function of the principles utilized to understand the psychology of the human beings that comprise them.

And this is what the next installment -- # 5: "The Parable of the Tribes: The Problem of Power in Social Evolution" -- will endeavor to demonstrate.

PREVIOUS ENTRIES

# 1-- A Better Human Story
#2-- How "the Good" Emerges Out of Evolution
# 3-- The Sacred Space of Lovers

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Andy Schmookler, an award-winning author, political commentator, radio talk-show host, and teacher, was the Democratic nominee for Congress from Virginia's 6th District. His new book -- written to have an impact on the central political battle of our time -- is (more...)
 
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