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The evolution of the cooperative organization of human society

 It is cooperation that organizes a group of living beings into a society, into a new entity with the properties of life , which not only ha...

 It is cooperation that organizes a group of living beings into a society, into a new entity with the properties of life, which not only has greater potential through cooperation, but also enhances the community with new properties. Organization into society made the human race the most significant species in the biosphere on Earth.

Many different organisms and species organize themselves into a society through cooperation. But human society differs from all other societies in that human society is made up of individuals with a high level of intelligence. For other species, social organization is founded almost exclusively by genetic determination. In the case of humans, cooperation, and hence social organization, is also based on genetics, but intelligence is the determining component in the actual structure of society. 

The human species has obviously evolved from primates, so, especially initially, genetic determination may have played the major role in cooperation. The genetically determined instinct for self- and species-preservation among primates is not only manifested in the form of selfish behavior through competition among themselves, but also in the form of cooperation on a greater or lesser scale.

Social behavior among living organisms must have a genetic basis, but what is the most defining, concrete, specific genetic feature to which social behavior can be originated in the case of humans with evolved intelligence? 

There is an obvious link between intelligence and social behavior. Intelligence is related to the complexity and plasticity of the brain, which is genetically determined but intelligence is too general, not particularly specific. Intelligence may not be an intrinsic cause, but rather a potential contributor to social behavior. 

Language skills are also an important social property, which is also genetically determined, but communication does not seem to be the fundamental cause of cooperative behavior, but rather a consequence of it. Genetically determined language instinct is a facilitator of cooperative behavior rather than a cause of it.

An advanced brain also has the capability for consciousness. The neural and genetic origins of self-awareness are not known. According to a hypothesis in the thoughts, consciousness is a phenomenon of feedback connections between neural pathways in the brain. The physical system of feedback in the brain is genetically determined. Neural networks covering a large part of the nervous system are available in the brain for the function of feedback. However, consciousness is certainly a global neural feature in many animal species, and cannot by itself be a specific cause of cooperative behavior. 

The neural network of mirror neurons that generate feedback-like activity may also play a role in the emergence of consciousness. The mirror neuron network may serve as empathy at a high level, as a motivator for adaptive behavior in social relations. 

The operation of genetically determined mirror neurons also results in a new emergent form of behavior. Through empathy, mirror neurons play a generic role in the behavior of imitate, as a behavioral ability. 

Many other neural network-based behavioral features are also supportive contributors to cooperative behavior, such as curiosity and the ability to learn. However, it is the ability of the mirror neurons based on feedback to manifest itself in mimicking behavior that makes it basically possible - supported by other abilities of the intelligent brain - for cooperative behavior to develop, and thus for the organization of a society of ever-increasing complexity.

Mimicking is the basis of human social behavior, and the fundamental characteristic, the intrinsic cause of the social organization of individuals with evolved brains.

Mimicry is a behavioral component of many organisms with evolved brains, and a basic behavioral activity of maturation. The necessity of the function of mimicry usually ceases in most species after the acquisition of skills required to learn, and imitation as a behavior disappears in adulthood. 

Mimicry is an evolutionarily preferred feature in species with an evolved nervous system. The ability to imitate and learn from each other's actions, when it is retained in adulthood, leads to more effective adaptation to the environment by learning successful behavior without exploration. 

Mimicry also implies a temporary or permanent relationship between individuals, it requires a social community. Mimicry implies community while creating a more successful individual, which results in a group with greater potential. 

However, life in the group is also shaped by fundamental modifiers, most notably the genetically determined behavior of self-preservation and reproduction, the basic origins and motivational drives of selfish behavior. Mimicry forms a more effective group, but the most primordial selfish behaviors of self- and species-preservation impede group cooperation. 

The hypothesis of kin selection seems to be suitable for solving this contradiction, which traces the altruistic behavior necessary for group cooperation back to a genetic nature, to the operating mechanism of the selfish gene.

The selfish gene hypothesis, theoretically and in some cases supported by observations, can explain the genetic background of altruistic, even self-sacrificing behavior that occurs despite selfish forms of self- and species-preservation. The selfish gene hypothesis may also provide a real evolutionary mechanism to explain the self-sacrificing behavior that is observed in less intelligent species, or in species without brains. 

In organisms with an advanced nervous system, however, the actual processes in the nervous system are much more significant than the rigid operational functions based on the genes in determining behavior and the organization of society based on behavior. 

Of course, we could say that the genetic operation of the kind of kin selection creates the neural pathways necessary for mimicry by evolution, but perhaps it is a more reasonable assumption if we look at the process from the point of view of natural selection based on aimless evolution. The environment, which is providing the conditions for self and species- preservation prefers certain characteristics, which can also be manifested in the form of social behavior, but which are actually created by purely random genetic mechanisms without the selective operation of targeted gene preference of kin selection. The random evolutionary process can create an advantage for the given genetic structure (for a lifeform that exists not only at the level of the individual, but also at the level of the group) of the self-sacrificing behavior by the purposeless, random genetic evolution even without targeted gene selection.

The neurological ability to imitate increases the efficiency of an individual's adaptation to the environment, and at the same time requires living in a group. Imitation, however, not only improves the individual's ability to survive, but also develops effective cooperation in the group. How? 

Imitative learning requires living in a group. Group life involves interaction and leads to the evolutionary development of interaction skills and forms in the individuals that make up the group. How does imitation through interaction create effective cooperation?

In species with an advanced nervous system, interaction involves communication between two individuals. In practice, interaction starts with communication from one individual towards the other. The other individual then has two choices, either to cooperate with the initiating individual or to reject the other individual as a result of the communication that begins. The individual initiating the interaction then also has two choices, either to continue the interaction or to end it. Which does it choose?

Of course, there may be different ways of continuing or ending the interaction based on the motivation in the particular situation, but having the ability to imitate and using mimicry as a fundamental social behavior, the individual initiating the interaction imitates the behavioral response of the other individual. If the selected partner behaves in a cooperative manner, the other individual will continue to cooperate, and if the other behaves in a dismissive manner, it will respond in a similar way. 

However, this type of behavior creates a specific form of cooperation. Mimicry, as a skill, emergently creates a new, highly effective form of social behavior, which results in the tit-for-tat sociology.  Imitative behavior results in a verifiable-by-theory efficient form of cooperation in the community, which effectively compensates for the individual selfish behavior that is actually, permanently and necessarily present in any group.

The tit-for-tat form of social behavior that uses imitation can also be recognized in the case of human behavior appearing in the community. The dynamic and continuous interaction of cooperative and selfish behavior shapes the human community. The necessity of living in a group that develops with the help of imitation as a skill, and the basic genetic endowment of selfishness related to self- and species-preservation, from individuals with an advanced learning capability of brain, and the emergent tit-for-tat strategy results in a cooperative, hierarchical, complex society. 

Human society can function effectively with the emergent tit-for-tat strategy built on mimicry without the self-sacrificing behavior of individuals. However, human behavior, even if only occasionally, apparently involves self-sacrificial behavior. Where does the human form of altruism in social cooperation come from? 

If it is difficult to find the process that creates the genetic mechanism of kin selection characteristic of other animal species in the search for the behavioral foundations of humans with intelligence, another possible operating mechanism must be found to explain the altruistic, sometimes self-sacrificing behavior of humans.

The human race also differs from all other animal species - taking into consideration the lifespan of human individuals - the necessary parents care for their offspring for the longest until the offspring reaches independence. This period nowadays lasts until the early twenties of age or even longer. In the case of humans, caring for offspring, even if it is not exclusively an altruistic activity (the offspring can make a significant contribution to the parent's life expectancy), obviously involves self-sacrifice. 

Care for offspring is fundamentally an instinct that serves the preservation of the species. The human structure associated with offspring care, the basic unit of social organization, the family, and the specifically human emotion of love, which is the primary bond that holds the family together and ensures its functioning, are also generally present in society and are typical areas of altruistic behavior.

It should be noted that human love, experienced as an emotion, is not only selfless. Reproductive romantic love also has a selfish character.

Self-sacrificing behaviors related to offspring care are significantly present in the human community organized as a society, which can lead to motivation for altruistic behavior through the ability of mimicry in individuals not involved in offspring care. 

Of course, the appearance and specific level of altruistic behavior in the case of a given person are influenced and modified by many other motivational factors, yet, altruistic behavior that is generally recognizable in society but does not necessarily need to exist (non-instinctively exist) can be in connection characterized by long offspring care and the related social and emotional functions (supported by the ability of mimicry) specific to humans.

The level of cooperation in current human societies is certainly not optimal, not the highest possible. Although the motivations for individual selfish behavior that are present through instinct are occasionally able to produce positive outcomes at the group level, selfish behavior is not suitable for optimizing cooperation. Effective cooperation requires specialization, which involves the sacrifice of individual interests and requires selfless, self-sacrificing behavior. Altruistic behavior is the preferred efficiency-enhancing behavior at the societal level. 

The effectiveness of cooperation can be increased by increasing the weight and role of altruistic behavior by utilizing the ability of mimicry, while maintaining the necessary functions of subsistence and reproduction. 

There are inherently inadequate attempts to artificially increase the efficiency of human society, to raise the level of cooperation. In some societies, the leaders of society try to create a collaborative society based on dictatorial rule, a cooperative community, through laws and rules made without real social consensus. However, human beings are creatures with volition, seeking to achieve their own goals. Cooperation imposed by external will, while it may produce occasional results, is ineffective in the long run in increasing the effectiveness of society. Dictatorship cannot generically generate practical forms of altruistic behavior. 

The motivational elements of cooperation that create an effective society must not weaken the individual will and abilities of the individual. Cooperation must be an emergent feature of the free will of individuals. 

The purposeless, chance-based try and find attempts of natural evolution are a suitable mechanism for such an evolutionary process (obviously the emotion of love that makes human altruistic behavior possible is an evolutionary product), but in a society of intelligent, self-conscious individuals, blind evolution is not sufficiently efficient. 

The proven and appropriate method to effectively increase the cooperation of human society through emergent motivation is the setting-of-an-example kind of human behavior.

The exemplification-based cooperation is manifested in practice through distinctively human activities. The further development of the emergent function of the tit for tat sociology in social cooperation is manifested in exemplary roles through memes of religion-based motivations works most effectively in society. 

The memes of religion are the product of human intelligence, they are not created according to natural laws, nor are they emergent behaviors. Religion is basically an organizing function of society. When a religion is formed, it creates a new set of individual and social values and norms, which people modify according to their own interests when practicing the religion. 

In the values of the major religions, elements of cooperative behavior to increase social efficiency can be recognized. The values of faith-in-God based Christianity are a typical example. Christianity's values are based on patterns of behavior that are extrinsic to natural, evolutionary human behavior, instinctively unenforceable, and almost only consciously manageable.

Receive what you give, return evil for good, give more when someone takes from you, help selflessly are just a few examples of Christianity's rules of conduct for raising the level of social cooperation in the context of unlimited selfless love.

But a religion, because it is not objectively created, is based on the level of individual, subjective acceptance. Religion can transmit values, function at the level of society through memes, and emergently create new qualities. However, the acceptance of the rules of religion requires a strong level of motivation. 

A characteristic motivating element of religions is the exemplification they set. Religions are usually based on the example set by individuals, which become a meme to be followed in society. 

A typical motivation for Christian behavior is "What would Jesus do in this situation?" kind of thinking. Jesus, in the eyes of Christians, is the perfect creation of a perfect God, a role model of love and self-sacrifice, and a teacher who communicated to people the meme-like expectations of selfless behavior that do not conform to naturally existing rules. 

The character of Jesus is the perfect model for the Christian religion, and the teachings attributed to Jesus are the transmitters of altruistic behavior for the development of the cooperative functioning of human society. The original content of the teachings lives on inside society, transformed into memes and modified in the course of the operation of religion, often losing its original purpose and meaning. 

However, a possible instrument and method for developing the cooperative functioning of society can be identified. We came into the world not to be served, but so that we serve the world exemplary teaching, through conscious altruistic behavior, serve the cooperative functions of society, helping to shape a more efficient and effective society.

Religion creates role models by and through its action, which can serve cooperative social development through imitation. Some social leaders, consciously or unconsciously recognizing this connection, exploit religion to motivate society for cooperation to achieve the goals of the leaders.

Religion seems alien to the causal, materialistic worldview. If religion is seen as a law describing nature, then indeed religion does not seem to have added much to our understanding of the natural world. Religions operate on social dogmas. Religion does not fundamentally help us to understand nature - effectively - on the basis of scientific methods, and technical progress is not based on religion. However, properly understood religion does not serve this purpose either. Religion is an organizing function of society.

Religion is not an outdated social vestige that is an obstacle to human progress, but a suitable means of shaping humanity as a society, as a way of increasing cooperation for the development of social efficiency, if it is taken right. 

The evolutionary development of cooperation in human society takes place in relation to religions. The next major world religion must consciously serve this purpose. 

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