Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Evolution of Society

A few weeks ago my good friend, Medbh wrote the following words to me when I was contemplating participating in an event that could, and hopefully would, advance gay marriage in NJ:

"In twenty or thirty, or a hundred years from now, after our society has evolved, and legislation has been passed to ensure Everyone's rights ( much like the Emanicpation Proclamation and the women's right to vote), your name will be on papers that showed your nieces, grandkids, seventh cousins, etc., that you worked to pass that legislation."

What caught my eye, and my mind's eye in particular, were the words, "after our society has evolved". WOW!! It really hit me and made me think. I have never looked at the advancement of society as being an evolutionary process. Sure, like many, when I think of evolution, I think of whether or not humans came from apes, but I have never really thought of evolution as something that has created our society. YES! Society has evolved over the thousands of years of the existence of mankind. And society will continue to evolve long after I'm gone from this earth. So I began doing some research into this concept of societal evolution. I'm sure it's not a new concept, but for me it was.

I came across writings by Roy Posner entitled, The Four Stages of Society's Evolution, among many other articles and dissertations on the evolution of society. Posner states, "We will then begin our discussion of the keys to society's growth and success by discussing the stages that society has passed through on its way to its current social condition. By reviewing these stages it will help us understand where we've been, where we are today, and where we may be headed..."
Posner talks of four stages of evolution: the physical stage; the vital stage; the mental stage; and finally the spiritual stage. In the physical stage, humans were focused on their survival and existence. Peoples' social awareness was limited to the tribe and the existence of the tribe. In the vital stage humans began to engage others not of their own tribe. People began to trade with others, and there was thus a vast expansion of vitality in the vital stage. In the mental stage, humans begin to value the vast amount of knowledge accumulated from the past. People begin to understand the possibilities of freedom, initiative, and self-determinism. And finally, in the spiritual stage humans we begin to emerge through the mental stage, we perceive that even the power of mind cannot be the ultimate salvation for humanity.

As we evolve and become enlightened, we move from the self to others. Humans finally begin to realize that the freedoms of others. We are a long way from reaching our evolutionary final point, and I don't think that will ever come, but we are on the way to that. We should be participating and engaging in events in our society that better our society for others matters, and that society includes not only those in our immediacy but those throughout the world.


Joe Tornatore said...

Such good wisdom from Medbh.

Anonymous said...

Your post was very eloquent!

We do need to speed up the evolutionary process of our collective societal views on war, discrimination, poverty and violence.

Interracial marriage was still banned in 19 states as late as 1967, over one hundred years since the end of the Civil War.

The suffragetes Seneca Falls Convention that started the Women's movement was held in 1848. It is 2007 and still women are not allowed to act as priests or ministers in most "churches" and make less in wages than men, among other discriminations.

In 2007, War is still touted as the end solution to violent actions within and from countries.

The basis for all of the "ism's, for slavery, and for the massive subsidized violence that is war, is greed and religion(my thoughts). Greed is such a powerful force to try and dissipate. And religion keeps the masses subject to that force, through fear and intimidation.

Still, we have evolved. Hopefully, we will never again have mass burnings of those who disagree with the Catholic Church's teachings, we won't be put in the stocks, or have to wear scarlet letters or yellow stars, be gassed in concentration camps because of our religious beliefs, or be hung from trees because of the color of our skin.

In 2007, our collective conscious is moving far away from condoning that type of violence. Now, if only what Sgt. Benderman, who refused to be redeployed to the Iraq war said,could be a very near future reality. "War should be relegated to the shelves of human history, much like human sacrifice was."

War, discrimination, genocide, poverty. They should, and at some point in time,will be, placed on the shelf of human history, but only through the continuing efforts of masses of current day humans, will that occur.

Karl said...

And it was the SUPREME COURT through legal rulings that allowed interracial marriage. It was not legislators making law. It was "activist" judges that made the change and gave equal rights in regards to interracial marriage. It may take "activist" judges to give gays their rights in that area as well.

You said everything so beautifully, Medbh. Thanks.

mommanator said...

great postings!