These questions had to be resolved on rational terms, without recourse to myths that opened the door to chaos and its dark past. Theocracies are not incompatible with certain democratic features of tribal life, such as popular assemblies and councils of elders. Insofar as the privileges of the priestly corporation are respected, tribal democracy and theocracy may actually reinforce each other institutionally — the one, dealing with the material concerns of the body politic, the other dealing with the material concerns of the temple and the sacred. Between them, an active division of functions may emerge that the fraternal military societies can only regard as a humiliating restriction of their hunger for civil power. The earliest conflicts between Church and State were initially, in fact, three-way conflicts that involved the democratic claims of the clans — and, ultimately, their complete removal from the conflict.
They are advisors, teachers, and consultants, esteemed for their experience and wisdom. Whatever “power” they do have is usually confined to highly delimited tasks such as the coordination of hunts and war expeditions. Hence, it is episodic power, not institutional; periodic, not traditional — like the “dominance” traits we encounter among primates. The direct involvement of humanity with nature is thus not an abstraction, and Dorothy Lee’s account of the Hopi ceremonials is not a description of “primitive man’s science,” as Victorian anthropologists believed. From the very outset of human consciousness, it enters directly into consociation with humanity — not merely harmonization or even balance. Ecological ceremonials validate the “citizenship” nature acquires as part of the human environment.
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Individuality, to the extent that it did not conflict with the community interest on which the survival of all depended, was seen more in terms of interdependence than independence. Variety was prized within the larger tapestry of the community — as a priceless ingredient of communal unity. In more concrete terms, what tantalizing issues does social ecology raise for our time and our future? In establishing a more advanced interface with nature, will it be possible to achieve a new balance between humanity and nature by sensitively tailoring our agricultural practices, urban areas, and technologies to the natural requirements of a region and its ecosystems? Can we hope to “manage” the natural environment by a drastic decentralization of agriculture, which will make it possible to cultivate land as though it were a garden balanced by diversified fauna and flora? Will these changes require the decentralization of our cities into moderate-sized communities, creating a new balance between town and country?
Aristotle’s classic distinction between “living only” (a life in which people are insensately driven to the limitless acquisition of wealth) and “living well” or within “limit” epitomizes classical antiquity’s notion of the ideal life, however much its values were honored in the breach. To “live well” or live the “good life” implied an ethical life in which one was committed not only to the well-being of one’s family and friends but also to the polis and its social institutions. In living the “good life” within limit, one sought to achieve balance and self-sufficiency — a controlled, rounded, and all-sided life. Until these transformations occur, however, it is important to know the raw materials from which hierarchical society will raise its moral and social edifice. The primal unity of the early community, both internally and with nature, is weakened merely by the elaboration of the community’s social life — its ecological differentiation. Yet, the growing civil space occupied by the male is still enveloped in a natural matrix of blood-ties, family affinities, and work responsibilities based on a sexual division of labor.
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Fiore et al. found that in line with past research on the psychology of attraction, the attractiveness of the photograph was the strongest predictors of whole profile attractiveness in online dating . As the Internet rose as a social medium used to facilitate communication, it eventually adapted to specialist functions including online dating sites. Online dating is the practice of using dating sites—made specifically for users to meet each other for the end goal of finding a romantic partner . As Michael Norton put it, “Finding a romantic partner is one of the biggest problems that humans face and the invention of online dating is one of the first times in human history we’ve seen some innovation” . In fact, online dating has emerged as one of the most widely used applications on the Internet. It has also developed into a highly profitable business with growing numbers of people worldwide willing to pay for access to services that will find them a romantic partner.
It is impossible to quarrel with famine, with the need for coordinating the hunt of large game, with seasonal requirements for food cultivation, and later, with warfare. To violate the Crow hunting regulations was to endanger every hunter and possibly place the welfare of the entire community in jeopardy. If the violations were serious enough, the violator would be beaten so severely that he might very well not survive. The mild-mannered Eskimo would grimly but collectively select an assassin to kill an unmanageable individual who gravely threatened the well-being of the band.
In short, we do not have to accept the brute tenets of sociobiology that link us crudely to nature at one extreme or the naive tenets of sociology that cleave us sharply from nature at the other extreme. Although hierarchy does exist in present-day society, it need not continue — irrespective of its lack of meaning or reality for nature. But the case against hierarchy is not contingent on its uniqueness as a social phenomenon. Because hierarchy threatens the existence of social life today, it cannot remain a social fact. Because it threatens the integrity of organic nature, it will not continue to do so, given the harsh verdict of “mute” and “blind” nature. Spontaneity enters into social ecology in much the same way as it enters into natural ecology — as a function of diversity and complexity.
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The Stoic plea for a recognition of a universal humanitas entailed not a denial of one’s loyalty to the community but merely the individual’s recognition of mystical affinity to the “city of Man.” The Christian plea for a universal humanitas was actually more cunning. It shrewdly acknowledged the claims of the State but tried to replace the community’s claims with those of the “city of God,” notably the Church. The Church’s jealousy toward the Christian’s community loyalties was lethal; the religion demanded strict obedience to its clerical infrastructure.
Its ethical impact on medieval movements for change contrasts sharply with economistic and materialistic explanations of human behavior. Such a tremendous movement as Anabaptism — a movement that enlisted nobles and learned sectarians as well as poor townspeople and peasants in support of apostolic communism and love — could not have emerged without anchoring its varied ideals in Christian ethical imperatives. This reduction of social thought to political economy proceeded almost unabashedly into the late nineteenth century, clearly reflecting the debasement of all social ties to economic ones. Even before modern science denuded nature of all ethical content, the burgeoning market economy of the late Middle Ages had divested it of all sanctity. The division within the medieval guilds between wealthy members and poor ultimately dispelled all sense of solidarity that had united people beyond a commonality of craft. Naked self-interest established its eminence over public interest; indeed, the destiny of the latter was reduced to that of the former.
Rarely has it been possible to distinguish the cry for Justice with its inequality of equals from the cry for Freedom with its equality of unequals. Every ideal of emancipation has been tainted by this confusion, which still lives oh in the literature of the oppressed. Usufruct has been confused with public property, direct democracy with representative democracy, individual competence with populist elites, the irreducible minimum with equal opportunity.
The largest single problem we face, however, is not strictly technical; indeed, the problem may well be that we regarded these new biotic techniques as mere technologies. What we have not recognized clearly are the social, cultural, and ethical conditions that render our biotic substitutes for industrial technologies ecologically and philosophically meaningful. For we must arrest more than just the ravaging and simplification of nature. We must also arrest the ravaging and simplification of the human spirit, of human personality, of human community, of humanity’s idea of the “good,” and humanity’s own fecundity within the natural world. Indeed, we must counteract these trends with a sweeping program of social renewal. Only recently have we begun to escape from a mechanistic reductionism of all natural phenomena to a “paradigm” based on mathematical physics.
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