Social Control

The question of social control arises because of the homogeneity that exists among the members of the society or an animal herd. Spencer’s paradox arises because of the dual nature of the social organism.

According to Spencer there is no central sensorium in the social organism. Social consciousness exists at the individual level. The social aggregate has no way of knowing how an individual feels in the society. Unlike an organic organism, the aggregate exists for the individual and not the other way around. And still, it is the individual who chooses to be with a group although it is their independent choice to do so. It is the individual who has consciousness and not the group. This is a paradoxical phenomenon, as the group controls the individual.

It appears from all the evidence in the society that the whole controls the individual.

In case of an animal herd, it appears that staying with the herd is a safer option from the point of view of being attacked by a predator. In case of an animal of prey, it is instinctive to belong with the herd. Being isolated makes an animal an easy prey. Any individual animal in the herd has the ability to lead. The instinct to follow the leader exists only so far as the leader is with the group. The individual that leaves the herd is useless as a leader and is ignored by the herd. The tendency in gregarious (those who tend to stay in a group) animals is instinctive.

What causes humans to live in a group? Society exists not from transmission, from communication; but it exists in transmission, in communication. When one person meets another person, an experience is transmitted from one to the other. Communication takes place when the person A gets the person B’s viewpoint. Person A transmits their experience to B then. The communication is complete when person B gets the experience of A. In this transmission, person A is isolated from their experience – i.e. they are not inside that experience at that time. What emerges for A and B together is a combined, common experience independent of the actual original experience of person A.

When people gather as in a mob, for every individual a new experience takes place, which is independent of their original individual experience. In society, in group, therefore arises a social edict, a dogma which becomes sacred to the individual. A tendency to live for the society takes shape in humans in a group. A machinery to control the society thus takes shape, out of public consent. Like a stone hammer in the hands of a savage is an artificial extension of a natural man, such machinery to govern is an artifice which is an extension of a natural social phenomenon in human society.

This explains, to an extent, what causes Social Control.

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  1. Pingback: Social Consciousness | Human Life - A Broad View!

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