How to build a civilization
A civilization is a group of people who live peacefully together. Such peaceful coexistence of people is not natural.
People are selfish by nature. They put their own well being above well being of others. This selfish nature makes people not trust each other as they expect everyone to be selfish. The lack of trust creates insecurity in people when they live in a group. They fear others harming them. This insecurity is unique to people. Animals don’t have this insecurity as they don’t think. This insecurity escalates disagreements to violent conflicts. Violent conflicts lead to self-destruction of a group. The natural tendency of groups of people is to self destruct.
A civilization is a group of people who have found a way to stop their self-destructive nature. Every civilisation has a framework of rules which help people live together peacefully. These rules are the essence of civilisation. For example, a civilized community will have a rule against people killing each other. The rules are enforced by a government which acts as a referee for the group. The government enforces rules by punishing individuals who disobey the rules. The enforcing of rules removes insecurity in people as they trust the government to safeguard them from the selfishness of others. People are still selfish. But enforcing of rules stops them from acting on their selfishness. A civilization achieves a delicate balance in allowing people to be in their natural state of selfish existence without harming each other. The nature of the government and the rules need to be carefully calibrated to maintain this delicate equilibrium of peace.
The government cannot be too big or too small. A government which is too big will require too many resources to sustain itself. The people will not be able to fund such a government. A government which is too small won’t have the resources to fund measures to implement rules, like a police force.
The government shouldn’t be militarily too powerful or too weak than the people it governs. A weak government won’t be able to enforce rules. This is the reason why people cannot be allowed to hold weapons which are more powerful than the government. A government which is too powerful will create insecurity in people due to fear of abuse of power.
The rules shouldn’t be too strong or too lenient. If the rules are too strong, people will feel oppressed and will revolt. If the rules are too lenient then people won’t stop themselves from acting on their selfishness.
The rules shouldn’t place too much or too less responsibility on people for their actions. If they put too much responsibility on people for their actions, people will feel that the rules are unfairly punishing them for mistakes. This is why mob justice cannot be encouraged. If the rules put less responsibility on people for their actions, people will become careless and harm themselves and others. A government which has to safeguard careless people will be too big to sustain.
The role of government in giving security to people shouldn’t be too high or too low. If the government takes complete ownership of the security, people will become weak. A weak population will be difficult to govern as a government which helps people in every aspect of their lives. This government will be too big to sustain. If the government takes less ownership in the security of people, then people will feel unsafe. Part of the ownership of people’s security should be offloaded to institutions of leadership like family and the local community. These institutions build strength in people.
A government should not involve itself too much or too little in attending to the material and emotional needs of people. If it involves too less, people will handle the needs of each other. This will create insecurity in some people due to inequalities in people’s abilities to meet the needs of each other. For example, people with less cognitive ability will feel that the system unfairly punishes them for not being able to produce as much as cognitively gifted people. If the government completely takes over attending to the needs of people, it will have trouble attending to all the needs of people, again leading to dissatisfaction.