Nation Reconciliation and Reconstruction

Resources for the Concerned Activist



The range of forms of social organizations among non-primates, primates, and humans, and the kinds of inherent motivation, exhibited in various ways among diverse organizational forms, that must receive attention in any planning for better ways of human interaction.

It may be helpful for future leaders to learn both the motivations and behaviors that humans share with other primates (even though these behaviors are generally modified by culture) and also study the cultural inventions of various cultures that provide alternative ways of defusing some of the same potential conflicts. Other useful subjects include non-verbal communications, language and its connection to concepts and how we are able to think, etc. One thing we need to keep clear on is the difference between the ostensible meaning or significance of some cultural feature and the real function(s) it can play in human interactions. For instance,  cultures that have doors or even tent flaps will establish the cultural norm that one should knock or otherwise signal one's intention to enter, and to wait for permission. In many situations abrupt entry through a closed door may be immediately counteracted in a violent way, so some way to negotiate this situation peacefully is always found. However, cultures diverge strongly regarding the conditions under which may enter a closed door.

Like most other primates, humans originally lived in small families or extended family groups. One of the modern day expressions of this characteristic is that humans generally sort themselves out into primary groups when they are immersed in a larger group. A small group of people who interact closely can grow to around fifteen members, but at around that point the group will begin to split into two groups, perhaps of about equal size. These smaller groups then become the new primary groups, and they may also grow and fission. Leaders who try to arrange a population into, e.g., groups of twenty-five may discover that these larger groups do not function as the leader envisioned they would because they have split internally. When there is such a split, the two primary groups may not easily find a single spokesman to receive and convey information and directions to the leader. For instance, in a group set up to contain twenty members, five members might become somewhat isolated from the rest.

Human reproductive behavior is somewhere between that of Orangutans, who live solitary lives except for brief mating encounters, and Bonobos, who make sexual behavior a kind of social glue and extend it over a wide range of partners and behaviors. By the rules of some religions, and the laws of some nations, humans are required to be monogamous and faithful. In practice these idealized role expectations are often breached. Ego concerns frequently get involved when these expectations are breached, resulting in crimes of violence and other kinds of conflicts.

Books and other Documents:

Anthropology: A Beginner's Guide by Joy Hendry and Simon Underdown [External Reviews]

The Third Chimpanzee: The Evolution and Future of the Human Animal, by Jared M. Diamond [External Reviews]

Bowling Alone by Robert D. Putnam [External Reviews]

A Cooperative Species: Human Reciprocity and Its Evolution by Samuel Bowles [External Reviews]

Evolution of the Social Contract, by Brian Skyrms [External Reviews]


 Anthropology and Modern Life by Franz Boas  [External Reviews]

This page has received visits.