The Society of HumanKind
There is no necessary or logical connection between an acceptance of the Axioms and choice of the Dogma as the foundation for our moral and social lives, and the family as the basic unit of human society. The Axioms of the Society of HumanKind give no reason or justification for the existence of our species, let alone any of our social relationships. This consequence of the Axioms is encapsulated in the Principle of Unity; is examined in the Treatise on the Individual; and is further explored in this second founding book of the Society, in the Essay on Equality. In all those places it is recognised that the Axioms are entirely neutral in these matters. They propose that neither our existence nor any aspect of our social organisation has any inherent reason or purpose. They say that if we had never emerged on our planet nothing in the universe would compel our presence, or any particular form of human society.
We cannot derive the necessity for any of our social structures or relationships from the Axioms. Yet our species seem always to have had some kind of family unit as the building block of its society. The Society of HumanKind cannot ignore that simple observation. It creates a requirement that the Society should deal with the question of the status of the family as a human institution. The preceding discussion shows however, that the Society cannot begin with any assumption that family life is in some way inherent in our species, or a necessary feature of our social life.
The view of the Society on the institution of the family begins from that statement. No need or requirement for our species to live in that kind of relationship can be derived from the Axioms. However, the Society is not based solely on the Axioms. It uses Axiomatic freedom to choose the Dogma as the purpose of its existence, and then translates that choice into the Duty of the Society to pursue its Aim. With that perspective it is possible for the Society to see and approve of the family as a social unit that helps to discharge its Responsibility by providing a safe and secure environment for dependent children, and a locus in which new members of our society may learn to live by the Principles. The Society can therefore see the family as a source of nurture and development in children; one that ensures their growth into individuals capable of maintaining stable and peaceful social relationships and who are prepared to take their full and responsible part in our unity, peace and progress.
It is here, in the universal existence of the family unit in human society noted earlier in this Essay, and in the possibility that family life may make a significant contribution to the peace and survival of the human species, that the Society should look for grounds to justify any support it might wish to give to that pattern of human relationships. When it examines the family from that perspective the Society will find that the invariable pattern of behaviour of our species in adopting stable family structures is not an indication of an inherent behaviour pattern. It is the product of millennia of experience in human co-operative existence. The outcome of that experience is an almost universal recognition amongst humanity that such relationships are vital to the survival of human children and a prerequisite for the peace and stability of society. Certainly any loosening of familial ties is commonly associated with a weakening of our social order and unity.
The Society can therefore, properly lend its support to the institution of family life on the basis that it appears to have a long and honourable record as a firm foundation for an orderly, peaceful and stable society. In this respect the views of the Society on the family will be essentially pragmatic and practical, looking to our history to provide evidence that the institution is a proven way of binding our communities together that, at the same time, provides a tried and tested means of transforming unformed infants into competent and useful members of human society.
While the family continues to be seen by the Society as being effective in providing those services there is no reason why that form of social relationship should not be actively advocated and encouraged. There ought however, to be a continuing internal debate about the application of the Principles to family life, and especially on the question of which form of the institution most efficiently enables the Society to discharge its Duty. As the reader will no doubt have already anticipated from the general tenor of this Essay, the conclusions reached by the Society and its adherents on such issues will vary with both time and circumstances. But in every period of our history a variety of forms and structures for the family will exist and will be endorsed by the Society of HumanKind as meeting, to a greater or lesser extent, the requirements of the Principles. In particular, the effect of the Principle of Progress on those deliberations will prevent the Society from adopting any view which might be seen as discouraging diversity and flexibility in this institution of our social life.
Which leaves very little scope to say much more on the subject at this stage of the development of the Society of HumanKind. An analysis of the family as an institution from the point of view of the Axioms and Dogma draws attention to the importance of the contribution made by the family to the adoption and reinforcement of the Principles of Peace and Progress in our social life.
That is a criterion by which the Society may decide whether or not to support or advocate all or any of the many forms of family life to be found in our communities. In sum, in so far as the Society is concerned, it is not the form of the institution of the family that is significant. It is its effect.
At the same time nothing in this Essay touches on conclusions which may be drawn from other fields of human knowledge about the fundamental characteristics of our species. In particular, the consequences of our dual male/female reproductive system with its outcome of a helplessly dependent new-born infant remain highly significant to our social organisation. These presently remain immutable attributes of humanity, and while they persist they impose a limitation on the degree of freedom of choice we have in these matters. They make a set of stable social relationships, similar, but not necessarily identical, to that provided by the traditional family, essential to the survival of each individual as well as to the perpetuation of our species. It surely cannot be denied that the family has provided those vital relationships throughout our history, and that it was an indispensable factor in ensuring our survival and development in our earliest generations when many of our more fundamental characteristics were being formed.
Recognition of the traditional importance of the role of the family in the protection of the outcome of our sexual behaviour, as part of its responsibility for the regulation and mitigation of the potential for tension and social conflict which arises from our sexual impulses, leads to a wider conclusion for the Society on this issue. Wherever this form of social relationship exists, its norms and rules can never be wholly divorced from those pertaining to our sexuality.
Specifically, in considering its Duty, the Society of HumanKind will hold that any form of the family that humanity may adopt should undertake responsibilities extending beyond simple protection and nurture of children. It should, for example, also always make a continuing contribution to the infinite survival of our species. For that reason the Society will require that any form of family should take responsibility, not only for fostering and encouraging good citizenship, but also for inculcating reproductive heterosexuality in both its adult and its immature members. In the view of the Society that is a function that should rank equally with the other, similar, social duties which have been almost exclusively the province of the traditional family unit.
Little or nothing else of value or moment can properly be said about the status of the family in the era of the Society of HumanKind. This Essay points to the importance of the unit as a potential contributor to the wider purposes of the Society and in particular to the achievement of its Aim. The role which emerges from that analysis of this old institution of our social life is familiar. Any variety of the family the Society may chose to support should, in its form and function, display and personify a commitment to the survival and commonalty of humanity by and through a structure of mutual care and support of children, and be built around a core value, but not necessarily practice, of stable heterosexualiy. That surely, is the minimum requirement for its acceptance and approval in the era of the Society of HumanKind.
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