In Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (2014) the author Yuval Noah Harari claims that the fundamental reason humans has established their place on top of not only the food chain but enslaving the entire planet to their advantage, is the human only ability of imagination. All species of animals can work together in groups, but only up until the membership of the group reaches the mark of 150 individuals (depending on the specific species). However with imagination, the idea of a social construct, such as a company or a nationality, humans have the advantage of crossing that mark of 150 members, and are able to trust and work together in spirit of the construct in a much larger scale. This is the fundament of the existence of any kind of construction today, the nations, laws, and social norms all function in today’s society because all accept the imagination of that they exist.
Another, perhaps equally important, aspect to why society as a concept still works, regardless of personal believes, is the usage of moral. The dichotomy of the good and the bad. With everything humans encounter comes a moral code, even if the actual matter is neutral. For example, the action of having sex is neutral, however humans have associated it with a strong morality. A lot of times having and enjoying sex is punished by feelings of guilt and shame, the activity can be seen as disgraceful or even disgusting, and ultimately being categorized as bad. So regardless of individuals’ personal opinions on sex, humanity has used the tool of moral to collectively silence anything regarding the matter. Similarly to Harari’s explanation of imagination’s importance to society, morality and the dichotomy of good and bad is also as configuring to the civilisation of humankind.
Importantly noted, imagination and morality are perhaps in their nature separated, but in society they thrive of each other, along each other, and because of each other. The result of human imagination creates systematic order, which morality solidifies in the human collectives’ mindset, which can be interpreted as both immensely damaging and, actually, freeing and fulfilling. They create society as humans know it today, in its absurdity but also in its sanity. The imagination of law forces people into submission to act or restrain to do so, and morality strengthens this. People choose not to act if law prevents it, but thinks of the action accordingly to the morality attached to it. For example, most people choose not to steal from others because they can be punished for proceeding it but they also would never choose to do so even if told they could because of the moral code of it (“thou shalt not steal”). Morality also play a huge role in emotional matters, since people in this example also would restrain from stealing even if it benefited themselves due to emotions such as empathy. And while the moral debate of stealing (or anything, really) is a never ending black hole of philosophical thinking, supposedly most people don’t mind following this order of moral since society arguably benefits from it. However, to determine what moral code benefit society is another moral discussion in itself, with no definitive answers. While legalising and respecting all people regardless of socioeconomic status is a given for some people, it is seen as the biggest of sins for others, a disputation created by different morality.
Nonetheless, as with everything, both the imagination and morality undergo immense change. Laws and structures change, morality as well. In a democratic nation people are responsible for electing the path of change regarding politics, law, and societal structures, and most people happily believe in voting, but most of those people might also be newcomers to trying to alternate morality, due to feelings of shame. Talking openly about one’s experiences with matters morality forbids or associate with shame and/or guilt feels hugely personal and too intimate, and living fully accordingly to the inner self (a highly debatable terminology, feeling rather too spiritual for my like) is rare. However, if democracy is ever so interesting to preserve a shift is desperately needed. The revolution of politics is dependent on morality to also undergo a transformation, as, as stated earlier, they thrive off each other. With a shift of morality humankind could finally, as a whole, accept and respect people regardless of socioeconomic status, end weaponry war to instead lead global discussions in situations of disputation, and radically change society to better the environment rather than destroying the planet. Because actions like these require massive political reformations, that in a democratic state will not be put into action unless people choose to vote with these matters in mind. If voting matters, altering morality must as well.