I’ve covered the list of five humanity virtues; now to begin the list of five community virtues. Humanity virtues are those that apply to the whole, collective human species. One of those virtues was community, caring for each other in the context of small band society. Community virtues then are what is right and good about living in small bands, whether that small band be a small town, urban neighborhood or commune. You will note that each of the “community five” has a corollary with the “humanity five” as it applies to small band behavior. In fact, I use the same term for one of these virtues. Here is the list of five; I’ll cover each separately as well.
Before I left to hike across the country I drafted a book, yet to be published, called The Five Forgotten Truths. With a little moderation those five truths are the five humanity virtues I just covered. A coworker pointed out a clever acronym from those virtues.
That former book is now on hold while I work on the one about the walk across the country. When I come back to it I’m now thinking about this for a working title: Life’s a BEACH. What do you think?
I covered Health and Happiness as a virtue in an earlier post. I mentioned that some of the things that contributed to Happiness were proper diet, sufficient exercise, low stress and a social network. Early nomadic societies, and some modern small communities, are known as immediate return society, an immediate return on the quality of life. Civilized societies pride themselves on delayed gratification, focused on the quantities of life.
I’ve seen the studies relating education to delayed gratification, which only says to me just how misinformed educated folks can be. Delayed gratification typically comes at the expense of an immediate return on the quality of life. Naturally, it’s health and happiness that floats our boat, not how much we can accumulate.
Community and communal can mean many things. Communal in the natural sense of how most early nomadic society behaved can be viewed as similar to fraternal. People were heavily dependent on each other to survive and displayed the responsibility to each other needed to make this mutual dependence work.
This contrasts with paternal societies, an inevitable consequence of civilized large masses. For example, representative government is paternal, electing people to make decisions for you. The participatory government that occurs in early nomadic tribes and even some present day small bands is communal, or fraternal, with everyone sharing the decision making responsibility.
Responsibility is a virtue, both right and good for humanity. Responsibility is right for humanity by getting what a community needs done. Responsibility is good for humanity by cementing a person’s belonging to their community.
Consider the alternatives of paternal societies. Members of those societies fall into one of four types. They are burdened if they fall into the alleged 20% of such societies that does most of the work. Otherwise they are exploited, alienated or indulged depending on the intents and practices of the “burdened.” All of these paternal types erode virtue, what is right and good about us under natural conditions.
Egalitarian may be the hardest natural virtue for people to accept. Civilization is rife with hierarchies in government, religion and business. Two people meet and sometimes they establish a social hierarchy between them. Yet often two people meet and no hierarchies are established; they continue to interact on equal footing.
Hierarchies are not natural in early nomadic societies. An ethnographic observance of the Kalahari tribes was that the best hunters were made the lead hunters, but were insulted to keep them from getting big heads. Their decisions were to be no more important than anyone else in the tribe, as confirmed when immediately replaced as lead hunter whenever someone else merited the distinction.
We pride ourselves with our civilized gender equality, but in reality the greatest equality between genders occurred with early nomadic societies, not western civilization. As a modern nomad I got a sense of how that worked. Why would not the females in our backpacking expeditions have an equal say in the decisions we made as a group?
Being egalitarian is right and good for humanity. It’s right in the sense that early nomadic tribes could make better survival decisions when everyone’s opinion counted. Wisdom depends on drawing from as much experience as possible. It’s good in that people feel valued and a contributor to their society when their opinions count as much as everyone else. Bigotry and other societal ills are prevented. Being both right and good, being egalitarian is a humanity virtue
There are a lot things to which we might belong in civilization. We might belong to nation states, corporations, political parties, ideologies, interest groups or material things. By belonging to them they possess us, influence our thoughts, our actions, our associations.
On the backpacking expeditions I participated we left all those civilized belongings behind. We belonged only to each other. When people belong to each other they influence each others thoughts, actions and associations. If the belonging truly is mutual, as occurred in my backpacking expeditions, as occurred in early nomadic societies in a climate of equality, then compromise and eventually harmony is achieved through these belongings.
Studies have shown that our health and happiness depends on social networks. They do not depend on belonging to nation states, corporations, ideologies, etc. or any other civilized belonging. Only our normal belonging, the belonging to each other first and foremost as occurs under natural conditions, is a virtue.
In the previous post I listed five virtues of humanity, meaning, there are five attributes that are right and good about how most of us are meant to be under natural conditions.
The first of these attributes is Autonomy. Under natural conditions we can think for ourselves, unlike bees. We can behave quite independently and differently from each other. We can choose the company we keep, and have the autonomy to change that as experiences dictate.
Autonomy is “right” in by enabling humans to adapt to an unlimited variety of environmental conditions. Autonomy is “good” because we feel best when we feel free.
Before the journey across the country I wrote a book, not yet published, called The Five Forgotten Truths. Those truths are really virtues, what is right and good for most humans under natural conditions. I will go into each virtue further, here is the overall list of them.
The last one has its own set of virtues that will be covered next.