Sunday, July 25, 2010

We are part of society and society is part of us.

"We are governed and driven by our DNA, our brain and by our culture. It is all about information. DNA is coded information which governs some, but not all of our actions. Our brain receives impulses from the inside or the outside and processes this information and take action to improve our chances of survival. It does that in sync with our genes, but not as a slave under our genes. Our culture is the collective memory of who we are, where we came from and where we are heading. This memory, this information also guides a lot of our actions. We are formed by culture during our upbringing and in this way each generation is adapted to the prevailing culture. There is always an element of revolt as well, young generations opposing the ruling ideas and experimenting with new ideas or new ways of living. This can be seen similar as mutations on the gene level, ensuring variation and that development will take place.

In this way culture and society are rather extensions of our human bodies; we don’t really exist without it. The lonely able savage (as depicted e.g. by Rousseau) or his later followers are constructions, we were never alone. Without society we are as helpless as an ant without his anthill or a bee without a hive. Few of us would have the force, like the queen bee to establish a new colony. It is like that we should see society (not to be confused by the state), like an organism. Society is the organisational form so to say and culture is the information in its wider sense (including religion, economy etc.).

Therefore, we can’t pitch the individual against society. Sure there will be, and has always been, a tension between the independence of the individual and the demands of submission of society (I am myself an example of an individual that most reluctantly submit myself to the demands and expectations of society) – but this tension is part of the project of being a human. To see ourselves and society as integral parts of being human is a first step in thinking about how we can build a better world. And they are in contrast to (not negating, but transcending) both the socio-biological idea that we only act in the self-interest of our genes and the capitalist ideology of that each person acts as an individual in order to increase his or her direct benefits."

I am busy writing the English version of my book Garden Earth, the above is an extract from it.

1 comment:

  1. I would like to report to you that there is a regular readership of my website, 'Discourse: Social Ecology', from Sweden, comprising up to 30 members of the Garden Earth Blog.
    I continue to revise it, and double check the meanings of the English.
    I am glad to see that you are making progress on your English version. My offer still stands, but I realise that you may not want to accept it.
    'For example, I am an individual who most reluctantly submits myself to the expectations and demands of society'
    J.Kelvyn Richards