Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Origin of Politics

Anthropologists tell us that initially the human race consisted of hunters who had to compete with animals for survival. Gradually, humans learned and developed home-building and cultivation which enabled them to establish agricultural settlements. However, although farming fulfilled the needs for grains and vegetables, a section of the male population still had to go out hunting to provide meat. Thus the communities divided into two distinct categories, namely farmers and hunters. The farmers concentrated on growing crops, developing new techniques of agriculture and experimenting with new crops to increase their output to feed the growing population. The hunters, apart from killing animals in the jungle and bringing their carcasses home, tried to develop new tools, weapons and methods of hunting. Soon it was found that it was more convenient to catch or herd the cattle to their villages, pen them and kill them when needed – and get milk as a bonus.
Later when the art of animal husbandry was developed, the hunters found a new vocation in protecting the villages from wild animals and attacks from the hunters of other villages, resulting in the evolution of civil and martial factions within the villages. As time passed, new professions developed and artisans and traders also became part of the civilian community while the martial community organized itself into an army of sorts. It was also discovered that locating the animal pens in the centre of the villages reduced the chances of their loss to both human and animal predators.
Eventually, fortifications were built in the middle of the villages for safe-keeping of some of the crops and cattle, and most of the valuables of the villagers. Each fortification was, probably, manned by a respectable administrator, a team of record-keepers, and a group of armed hunters or soldiers led by the bravest individual in the village. As the population and prosperity grew, fortifications were built around the entire city and the central depositories were converted into royal palaces, thus creating city-states or capitals of kingdoms. At some stage in the ensuing history, greed and opportunism overcame the guardians of public assets. The custodians and the soldiers conspired and the custodians took control of all the wealth of the people, appointed a king from among themselves and began to rule with the help of the soldiers. The farmers and artisans were forced to pay a portion of their produce as taxes in return for protection from both internal and external predators. Frequent skirmishes were fought with neighboring villages to keep people in a state of insecurity. Naturally, the king and the soldiers were very unpopular among the people and ways had to be found to remove this feeling. The king sent his soldiers to plunder the nearby weaker villages and celebrated the victories with the civilians. After a few generations the original usurpation was forgotten and the king became the divine ruler and source of inspiration. The king's word became the law. It is interesting that even in those days the rulers had discovered the psychological principle that given a high enough state of stress caused by threat and insecurity the people would fantasize and persuade themselves to admire the person or group capable of protecting them, no matter how evil he might be or how much he debased them.


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