Chapter XII

THE BIOLOGY OF PEACE


Millions of years ago when there was no society, only individuals, peace prevailed on earth. The first living creature, the unicellular organism, had no comrades or fellow citizens; it lived as a lone unit. It did not need even to seek food, its food came to it in the currents of primordial slime in which it lived. Therefore it did not need more room. It did not need a mate because it reproduced itself. In time it became motile, and moved in the direction of food and light. But even then there was no war. Those that best reached food and light throve; the others changed their habits, deteriorated, or perished. Pushing and crowding toward food and light prevailed, but no war. No individuals united with others and sought to destroy or subjugate other groups. The sexes were the first attempt of nature in the social division of labor.

In time some of these single celled creatures found themselves united with others of their kind. They had exchanged the freedom of individualism for the better security of social formation. They began to cooperate. In the evolutionary struggle, competition arose between individuals and between groups. As a result, teeth, claws, fangs, and power appeared for aggressive purposes; while speed, color and thickened hide developed for defense.

Crowding does harm because of the intensification of competition which results. Cooperation becomes difficult when individual is forced against individual in a struggle against one another for existence. Crowded nations easily become the warring nations. Experiments show that a well organized flock of hens, with ample room and adequate food, thrives better, engages in less fighting, and produces more eggs than a crowded flock.

There were fights among individuals, but no war until society developed. War is a product of attempts at social organization. Individuals among men know that war is bad for them and for society. Individuals think. Society does not think. Where individuals would not want war, society makes war. Society is dangerous where it controls individuals. The only safe society is that which represents the community of interest of all its individuals who unite deliberately, voluntarily and democratically for the purpose of mutual aid and the control of society.

The society of cells constituting the human body is somewhat comparable to the individuals constituting a human society represented in a municipality, cooperative, or nation. These body cells are pretty low class people; they do not even think. A man has a collection of special cells called the brain, and the whole aggregation of units of this brain society thinks; but the individual cells so far as can be determined, may have knowledge but they have no opinions evolved by thinking. The brain is the only mechanism which performs the function called thinking.

Living things once were aggregations of cells without much coordination. Then a nervous system developed, the wires were strung and a method of communication was set up. Cells of the multi-cellular body were then coordinated. The central thinking station sends out messages to groups of cells here and there and tells them what to do. It also sends power to make them do it. Conversely, the remote parts of the body send messages to the central intelligence and tell it what they need and how things are going in their district. The whole organism is brought under control of a central dictatorial power. This autocratic power sometimes goes wrong and sends out commands that are fatal to the whole organism. What are called accident, disease, and suicide sometimes result when the central autocratic thinking power orders the whole body to do the wrong thing.

The society of cells in the human body makes central control possible by means of the nervous system. A similar central autocracy develops also in human society. This is made possible by the multitude of means whereby people move among themselves and communicate with one another. These means make central control possible. Man uses the methods of modern communication to promote patriotism and propaganda. This is all in the direction of making people behave like cells. We have seen that the cells have lost their individual freedom in the interest of the whole social good. Now the individual is being brought under central control for the same reason. Society attempts to repeat what nature does.

Will it be possible to develop a society in which the individual loses his freedom, as the muscle cell has lost its freedom, for the sake of all the cells that likewise lose their freedom for the common good? History shows where this has been attempted by man in society. Each attempt has ended in disaster for the total society. Hitler's attempt is the modern example. It resulted in disaster for the German people. But this totalitarian method among the cells in man does not result in disaster for the human body. Perhaps it may yet be made to succeed with society. The world is moving in that direction. In a million years there may be the autocratically controlled family, municipality, district, nation, and world society, all coordinated with individuals in each group devoted to special tasks, and all dictated to and controlled as to their movements and functions from a world center, where a world central committee with its president at the head presides. Communication and control may be facilitated by a multitude of now undreamed devices.

Like the communities called skin, blood, thyroid, stomach, and nerves there may be communities called clothing industry, transportation industry, chemical industry, food industry, and communications industry--all controlled and dictated to from a central world bureau with facilities to know all and to tell all. There could be no more war between these various social groups than between physiological groups of the human body. This may prove to be the one-world idea in ultimate operation. This one-world may be thought of as a single organism, like the body, with its elements as harmoniously constituted.

If human beings should organize themselves as cells of the body are organized, the result would be the fulfillment of the totalitarian dream. Since 1918 the world has been moving in that direction. Militarization of the United States, now far advanced, is evidence that even the last stronghold of free enterprise and individualism is succumbing to the trend. The sacrifice of freedom of the individual to the supposed good of society is characteristic of this trend. The purpose is the good of the total society. As the liver cell has lost its individual freedom for the sake of the whole organism so may man lose his freedom for the sake of the total society.

With no enemies to fear external to itself, what would be the aim of the totalitarian society? The aim of the human being is what we call happiness. That is a general state of well-being and satisfaction. This is accomplished by a state of well-being of the various cells and cell groups, interpreted as happiness by the brain. Would the function of totalitarian society be to bring happiness to the central autocratic authority? As totalitarianism is now developing, this would seem to be the end.

Modern totalitarian states have aimed to have well fed and contented workers functioning to give power and endurance to a state whose rulers find happiness in its success: namely, in the maintenance of their power and in well-being of the constituent individuals. But sacrifice of initiative and provision for workers' welfare by the state breeds an unoriginal and servile public. Whence come the superior individuals to constitute the ruling autocracy? How would they reach their high position? There are two ways of accomplishing this mastery over people. One is by force, by killing off the opposition. The other is by carrying on propaganda among the people and permitting them to go through the allegedly free-will way of election. In either case the people are subjugated and servile even though they are not aware of their servility.

It is difficult to see how such a totalitarian organization can survive. Difficulty lies in (1) deterioration of individuals and in (2) the uncertainties and hazards of an honest and capable individual finding his way to the top. After all, the weak links make the chain weak. Efficiency of society must depend upon efficiency of its constituent units. Efficient people are bred by the need of their efficiency. The idea that the public are stupid and need to be governed, directed, and cajoled makes no provision for development of superior beings from the masses to do the directing. To go back to the ancient Greek pattern of two social groups, a superior ruling class and an inferior servant class, places two elements in conflict and guarantees disharmony.

Democracy has its weaknesses. But, inasmuch as human beings are not perfect, no human organization can be perfect. A perfect thing can not be made of imperfect material. When democracy is contemplated, the alternative must be considered also. And the alternative is not nice. If the individual is to be developed and the capable given an opportunity to be recognized and placed in positions where they can develop still further, the democratic ideal must prevail. The object of human society must be the perfecting of individuals. The superior individual must be the purpose. Human society can not follow the social pattern of cells of the animal body. Men are not like animal cells. The mission of the cells is to unite themselves to compose a good animal. The purpose of the human society should be to perfect good human animals, the units of which society is composed. This is to be attained by democratic means. Democracy in practice is found in the cooperative society. Here democracy governs the economic life. It would be possible to move on toward one-world, all people united nationally and internationally, by the cooperative method. There could be such a thing as democratic world totalitarianism. It begins with the constituent individuals and proceeds with their interest as the paramount principle.

Individuals control the local group which they have organized. Local groups control the national group, and national groups control the central administrative world authority. The central world body in the cooperative method is administrative. It carries out the desires of national groups, national groups carry out the desires of local groups, and local groups carry out the desires of constituent individuals--all organized and functioning democratically from bottom to top. This is the only possible conception of a workable world democracy. A regime that would relegate any normal element of society to servitude and establish a privileged class can not be expected to win the highest state of civilization. Man may rule over vegetables and over animals, but not over his fellow man whose progeny might prove to be better material than the ruler. The democratic cooperative method points the way to world organization that can include all. This can be the one-world. This can represent all people functioning harmoniously in one world body in their own interest. When the interests of all the individuals are effectively served, then the total world organism is effectively served, for its purpose must be the good of each individual.

Since it is the conflict of sovereignties that makes war, total world organization can win peace because there would be only one sovereign authority. This sovereign authority could prevent wars among its constituents as will be seen in the chapter dealing with sovereignty. Here we have examined the subject from the biological basis. Complete cooperative world organization might be viewed as totalitarian; but because of its cooperative characteristics and the absence of political regimentation, (1) it excludes no other form of organization, (2) it represents control by the people of the central authority and not control of the people by the central authority, (3) it establishes a definite way of business in the interest of the people, and (4) it exalts the individual rather than the state as the object of its concern. This is a biological functioning of peace.


CONTENTS

The content and opinions expressed on this Web page do not necessarily reflect the views of nor are they endorsed by the University of

The content and opinions expressed on this Web page do not necessarily reflect the views of nor are they endorsed by the University of Georgia or the University System of Georgia.