Man and Society: Characteristics of Man in Society
Society is a kind of reality that we do notwe choose, do not create and can not control, but it controls us, and to some extent controls us. "Characteristics of man in society - what is it?" - you ask. The answer to this question is offered by this article. You will be asked to understand this complex issue, to understand for yourself why it is happening this way, and not otherwise, and whether we can change anything.
What is society?
The characteristics of a person in society are quitecomplex and multifaceted. Society is a kind of complex, formed as all complex systems, as a result of the interaction of a multitude of differentiated constituent parts. More precisely, it is formed as a result of the interaction and interdependence of individuals following their natural impulses in behavior. Characteristics of man in society, individuality and human nature are interrelated.
We, individuals, are difficultorganized beings. The complexity of human nature is reflected in its multidimensional constitution, a variety of different needs. Among its many aspects there are such things as self-preservation, competition, the need for communication, a sense of justice and a thirst for freedom. Nevertheless, our behavior is mostly irrational, because, despite the fact that the person is endowed with reason, the hierarchy of his needs makes us follow the instinct of self-preservation, competition, regardless of the requirements of truth and logic. Many aspects of human nature, in addition, have a conflicting, contradictory nature. Because of this, we have to wage a constant and irreconcilable struggle, for example, between the desire for power and freedom, equality and justice.
Since complexity is a natural property of anynatural phenomena, society as a phenomenon is subject to universal properties and patterns of change, common to all complex systems. These properties and patterns can be traced at all levels of the system, from the family and ending with national, global associations. Characteristics of a person in society should also take into account many factors.
Complex systems are characterized by the fact that theyare nonlinear, that is, the reaction of the whole system as a whole does not follow from the reaction of its individual parts and can not be defined as their sum. The nonlinearity of complex systems is associated with two properties: their unpredictability and irreducibility. Such systems are irreducible, since their behavior as a whole differs from the sum of the behaviors of the constituent parts. In fact, when feedback relations exist, the behavior of the whole affects the behavior of the constituent part, and vice versa. Since society affects a person, no individual can be isolated from it. The society, like all complex systems, acts as a single whole and can not be controlled by individuals. Individuals can only influence it and participate in various events that form the system, but can not control it.
Complex systems are unpredictable. In nonlinear systems, the slightest change in conditions can lead to unpredictable large changes. Something similar is happening in society. Various events, events often lead to unexpected, unpredictable, and sometimes undesirable consequences.
Another reason for the unpredictability of complex systemsis that they often include an element of chance, as well as a general characteristic of a person in society. An example can be suggested as follows: as a complex system we will represent a colony of ants. It can be noted that all the ants go in search of food in different directions. This behavior allows the colony to find better food. In human society there is also an element of chance. Culture, for example, has a great influence on the demands of society, but it can be formed by a completely involuntary and accidental turn of events.
Structure of the system
Complex systems, in general, do not havestrict definition, you can not say exactly what is called. Characterization of a person in society is a very complex abstraction. That is, to analyze it, we are forced to build a simplified model. In the future, we will consider a model of society based on known institutional, cultural and socio-economic relations, as well as their interaction and influence on human nature.
Each of the aspects of society(socio-economic, cultural, institutional and human nature) is in itself a complex association formed by the unification and interdependence of simpler constituents. The socio-economic order is formed by combining labor, social relations and personal activity. The institutional aspect includes public and private organizations. Culture is a combination of knowledge and technology, worldview and values. Human nature is also formed from the interaction of hereditary nature and its development in a particular individual. The characteristic of a person in society is therefore called the special term "individuality".
Like all complex systems, society isirreducible. This complex whole can not be reduced to any of the aspects, the character of a person in society does not characterize this society as a whole. Any explanation of society from the point of view of one aspect, be it culture, human nature, power struggle or various institutions, is incomplete. It, like all complex systems, must be considered as an interaction of different scales, forming a single and irreducible whole.
And, like in other similar systems, its constituent parts do not exist separately, in isolation, but must be considered in their relation to the rest of the whole.
The fundamental aspect of the human socialorganization is its hierarchical structure. All forms of social organization, from the society of collectors and hunters to a highly developed civilization, are characterized by unequal distribution of power and hierarchy. Not all hierarchies are the same. Some have a pronounced centralized power and class division. Others, such as the society of gatherers and hunters, are less vertical, more democratic, and perhaps do not even have permanent leaders. But they all have something in common: the distribution of power in them is always uneven. There is always a dominant sector, it can be men, leaders, clans, healers, etc.
The biological reason for the existence of the hierarchylies in our competitive nature. Competition is one of many aspects of human nature. And many of its aspects also conflict and compete with each other. For example, by our nature we aspire not only to competition, but also to communication. That is, by nature we must be connected and correlated with others and at the same time compete with them. Human competition forces us to organize ourselves into structures with unequal distribution of power. Hierarchy in this case is an inevitable aspect of social organization.
Function of society
Unlike organisms or colonies whose behavior corresponds to the function performed, society as a whole does not have any specific role.
However, although this is not necessary, in somecases, social systems have a function that is mainly determined by the political structure of the system. Social systems with a hierarchical structure work for the benefit of those who stand on top of the hierarchy, at the expense of those below.
The idea that society exists for the goodof each individual, is erroneous. The social system can work both for the benefit, and in harm to the person. The way it will work in a particular case depends on random and arbitrary historical events. Attempts by individuals to monitor or design the system, as a rule, lead to unforeseen and often undesirable consequences.
Is it possible to objectively compare different societies?
In contrast to relativistic convictions,systems can be assessed objectively and compared in terms of the benefits that they bring to individuals. As mentioned earlier, systems do not have any function, so they can work for both good and bad for a person. From this position, some of them are good. Others are bad. Some systems are better than others.
A good system is one that promotesgeneral welfare. Bad brings people harm or contributes to the well-being of some at the expense of others, because the characterization of a person in the company of other people always assumes this division.
How can society be changed?
What is the characteristic of a person in society? The answer to this question is not so easy. We started this article, saying that we do not choose a society, we do not create and we can not control it, but it controls the life of each of us. Does this mean that it is an independent system that controls people and is not subject to their control? Is it possible to change the society in which we live?
The theme "man and society" has always attractedattention of politicians and sociologists. As Noam Chomsky said, social systems are "not carved out of stone." There is no reason why people could not change them. We should be able to choose a social system that will work for the benefit of people. Characteristics of a person in society is a topic that concerns each of us.
Nevertheless, for several reasons this is not so simpleto realize. First, individual individuals can not change the system on their own. Only collective actions can lead to changes in it. And the collective action is difficult to organize, because the individual consciousness, as a rule, is set up to be part of the system, and not rebel against it. Secondly, those who extract the least benefit from the system and have most of the reasons for wanting to change it have less power in the system.
To what extent should a person be responsible for society?
In general, people'sis insignificant. After all, if we often have a very vague understanding of our own nature, and the ability to control it is severely limited, what can we say about such a complex subject as society in human life? However, despite the limited responsibility that individuals have, responsibility for it still exists.
Characteristics of a person in society in terms of the degree of responsibility
These are those of us who are at the top of the hierarchy,bear the greatest responsibility. They tend to have a higher level of education, health, opportunities, resources and power to implement change. But at the same time they are the least likely to improve the system. This is because they derive the greatest benefits from it and will therefore resist change and will not support changes that infringe upon their interests. In addition, the way of thinking of such people, as a rule, is deprived of the necessary critical and analytical potential. The higher a person ascends the hierarchy's staircase, the stronger his tendency to conform to the system in order to protect his power.
The lower the person is at the level of the hierarchy,the lower the role of a person in society, the less responsibility he has, since he usually has a low level of education, health, material resources, he lacks the ability and power to make changes. In addition, such people are often manipulated, they are controlled by those who stand above. They are forced to take care primarily of their fundamental and vital needs. The theme of "man and society" for them, as it were, is inaccessible.
The middle strata of society carry almost the sameresponsibility, like those who are at the top of the hierarchy. The degree of this responsibility is inversely proportional to its verticality, as well as the role of man in society. In order to maintain its power, the top of society will try to do so that the middle strata are satisfied (and in the lower hierarchies it will try to take care of the lower layers). Therefore, the middle strata also benefit from the existing system with its capabilities, resources and unlimited power, and therefore share responsibility with the top of society. Unlike the latter, not capable of changing the system, the middle layers have the resources and resources for this. Nevertheless, in their struggle for power they tend to adapt to the system and act in the interests of those who are above, ensuring the legitimacy of the system. The characteristic of a person in society is that in many respects on their conscience.
Ignorance does not absolve from responsibility
Ignorance, lack of understanding does not absolveupper and middle layers of society from responsibility. Unlike the lower strata, they have the capacity and resources to understand the system and act upon it. If the system is bad, then, by adapting to it, they contribute to maintaining its poor state. Despite the collective consciousness in questions of rationalization, justification or ignoring the harm of the system, individuals still remain responsible for this state of affairs. Society plays an important role in human life, and we all bear responsibility for it.
In unequal societies, a challenge to the system is usually abandonednot people from the upper or lower strata of society, but the minority from the middle stratum who decides to protect freedom, justice, equality and interests of those below, future generations, and also the environment. Although most middle-class people tend to adapt quickly to the system, those who do not identify themselves with it, who can not reconcile themselves to it, and who have enough education, material resources and strengths, have the decisive importance for it to challenge her.
Revolutionary changes caused by such people,often lead to the replacement of one type of hierarchy by another (which in some cases is even worse). On the other hand, a stable improvement of the system occurs when these people come to the scene and participate in the process of social development.