The Urantia Book
THE EVOLUTION OF HUMAN GOVERNMENT
Presented by a Melchizedek of Nebadon.
70:0.1 NO SOONER had man partially solved the
problem of making a living than he was confronted with the task
of regulating human contacts. The development of industry
demanded law, order, and social adjustment; private property
70:0.2 On an evolutionary world, antagonisms
are natural; peace is secured only by some sort of social
regulative system. Social regulation is inseparable from social
organization; association implies some controlling authority.
Government compels the co-ordination of the antagonisms of the
tribes, clans, families, and individuals.
70:0.3 Government is an unconscious
development; it evolves by trial and error. It does have
survival value; therefore it becomes traditional. Anarchy
augmented misery; therefore government, comparative law and
order, slowly emerged or is emerging. The coercive demands of
the struggle for existence literally drove the human race along
the progressive road to civilization.
1. THE GENESIS OF WAR
70:1.1 War is the natural state and heritage
of evolving man; peace is the social yardstick measuring
civilization's advancement. Before the partial socialization of
the advancing races man was exceedingly individualistic,
extremely suspicious, and unbelievably quarrelsome. Violence is
the law of nature, hostility the automatic reaction of the
children of nature, while war is but these same activities
carried on collectively. And wherever and whenever the fabric of
civilization becomes stressed by the complications of society's
advancement, there is always an immediate and ruinous reversion
to these early methods of violent adjustment of the irritations
of human interassociations.
70:1.2 War is an animalistic reaction to
misunderstandings and irritations; peace attends upon the
civilized solution of all such problems and difficulties. The
Sangik races, together with the later deteriorated Adamites and
Nodites, were all belligerent. The Andonites were early taught
the golden rule, and, even today, their Eskimo descendants live
very much by that code; custom is strong among them, and they
are fairly free from violent antagonisms.
70:1.3 Andon taught his children to settle
disputes by each beating a tree with a stick, meanwhile cursing
the tree; the one whose stick broke first was the victor. The
later Andonites used to settle disputes by holding a public show
at which the disputants made fun of and ridiculed each other,
while the audience decided the winner by its applause.
70:1.4 But there could be no such phenomenon
as war until society had evolved sufficiently far to actually
experience periods of peace and to sanction warlike practices.
The very concept of war implies some degree of organization.
70:1.5 With the emergence of social groupings,
individual irritations began to be submerged in the group
feelings, and this promoted intratribal tranquillity but at the
expense of intertribal peace. Peace was thus first enjoyed by
the in-group, or tribe, who always disliked and hated the
out-group, foreigners. Early man regarded it a virtue to shed
70:1.6 But even this did not work at first.
When the early chiefs would try to iron out misunderstandings,
they often found it necessary, at least once a year, to permit
the tribal stone fights. The clan would divide up into two
groups and engage in an all-day battle. And this for no other
reason than just the fun of it; they really enjoyed fighting.
70:1.7 Warfare persists because man is human,
evolved from an animal, and all animals are bellicose. Among the
early causes of war were:
70:1.8 1. Hunger, which led to food
raids. Scarcity of land has always brought on war, and during
these struggles the early peace tribes were practically
70:1.9 2. Woman scarcity -- an attempt
to relieve a shortage of domestic help. Woman stealing has
always caused war.
70:1.10 3. Vanity -- the desire to
exhibit tribal prowess. Superior groups would fight to impose
their mode of life upon inferior peoples.
70:1.11 4. Slaves -- need of recruits
for the labor ranks.
70:1.12 5. Revenge was the motive for
war when one tribe believed that a neighboring tribe had caused
the death of a fellow tribesman. Mourning was continued until a
head was brought home. The war for vengeance was in good
standing right on down to comparatively modern times.
70:1.13 6. Recreation -- war was looked
upon as recreation by the young men of these early times. If no
good and sufficient pretext for war arose, when peace became
oppressive, neighboring tribes were accustomed to go out in
semifriendly combat to engage in a foray as a holiday, to enjoy
a sham battle.
70:1.14 7. Religion -- the desire to
make converts to the cult. The primitive religions all
sanctioned war. Only in recent times has religion begun to frown
upon war. The early priesthoods were, unfortunately, usually
allied with the military power. One of the great peace moves of
the ages has been the attempt to separate church and state.
70:1.15 Always these olden tribes made war at
the bidding of their gods, at the behest of their chiefs or
medicine men. The Hebrews believed in such a "God of battles";
and the narrative of their raid on the Midianites is a typical
recital of the atrocious cruelty of the ancient tribal wars;
this assault, with its slaughter of all the males and the later
killing of all male children and all women who were not virgins,
would have done honor to the mores of a tribal chieftain of two
hundred thousand years ago. And all this was executed in the
"name of the Lord God of Israel."
70:1.16 This is a narrative of the evolution
of society -- the natural outworking of the problems of the
races -- man working out his own destiny on earth. Such
atrocities are not instigated by Deity, notwithstanding the
tendency of man to place the responsibility on his gods.
70:1.17 Military mercy has been slow in coming
to mankind. Even when a woman, Deborah, ruled the Hebrews, the
same wholesale cruelty persisted. Her general in his victory
over the gentiles caused "all the host to fall upon the sword;
there was not one left."
70:1.18 Very early in the history of the race,
poisoned weapons were used. All sorts of mutilations were
practiced. Saul did not hesitate to require one hundred
Philistine foreskins as the dowry David should pay for his
70:1.19 Early wars were fought between tribes
as a whole, but in later times, when two individuals in
different tribes had a dispute, instead of both tribes fighting,
the two disputants engaged in a duel. It also became a custom
for two armies to stake all on the outcome of a contest between
a representative chosen from each side, as in the instance of
David and Goliath.
The first refinement of war was the
taking of prisoners. Next, women were exempted from hostilities,
and then came the recognition of noncombatants. Military castes
and standing armies soon developed to keep pace with the
increasing complexity of combat. Such warriors were early
prohibited from associating with women,
and women long ago
ceased to fight, though they have always fed and nursed the
soldiers and urged them on to battle.
70:1.21 The practice of declaring war
represented great progress. Such declarations of intention to
fight betokened the arrival of a sense of fairness, and this was
followed by the gradual development of the rules of "civilized"
warfare. Very early it became the custom not to fight near
religious sites and, still later, not to fight on certain holy
days. Next came the general recognition of the right of asylum;
political fugitives received protection.
70:1.22 Thus did warfare gradually evolve from
the primitive man hunt to the somewhat more orderly system of
the later-day "civilized" nations. But only slowly does the
social attitude of amity displace that of enmity.
2. THE SOCIAL VALUE OF WAR
70:2.1 In past ages a fierce war would
institute social changes and facilitate the adoption of new
ideas such as would not have occurred naturally in ten thousand
years. The terrible price paid for these certain war advantages
was that society was temporarily thrown back into savagery;
civilized reason had to abdicate. War is strong medicine, very
costly and most dangerous; while often curative of certain
social disorders, it sometimes kills the patient, destroys the
70:2.2 The constant necessity for national
defense creates many new and advanced social adjustments.
Society, today, enjoys the benefit of a long list of useful
innovations which were at first wholly military and is even
indebted to war for the dance, one of the early forms of which
was a military drill.
70:2.3 War has had a social value to past
civilizations because it:
1. Imposed discipline, enforced
2. Put a premium on fortitude and
3. Fostered and solidified
4. Destroyed weak and unfit peoples.
5. Dissolved the illusion of
primitive equality and selectively stratified society.
70:2.4 War has had a certain evolutionary and
selective value, but like slavery, it must sometime be abandoned
as civilization slowly advances. Olden wars promoted travel and
cultural intercourse; these ends are now better served by modern
methods of transport and communication. Olden wars strengthened
nations, but modern struggles disrupt civilized culture. Ancient
warfare resulted in the decimation of inferior peoples; the net
result of modern conflict is the selective destruction of the
best human stocks. Early wars promoted organization and
efficiency, but these have now become the aims of modern
industry. During past ages war was a social ferment which pushed
civilization forward; this result is now better attained by
ambition and invention. Ancient warfare supported the concept of
a God of battles, but modern man has been told that God is love.
War has served many valuable purposes in the past, it has been
an indispensable scaffolding in the building of civilization,
but it is rapidly becoming culturally bankrupt -- incapable of
producing dividends of social gain in any way commensurate with
the terrible losses attendant upon its invocation.
70:2.5 At one time physicians believed in
bloodletting as a cure for many diseases, but they have since
discovered better remedies for most of these disorders. And so
must the international bloodletting of war certainly give place
to the discovery of better methods for curing the ills of
70:2.6 The nations of Urantia have already
entered upon the gigantic struggle between nationalistic
militarism and industrialism, and in many ways this conflict is
analogous to the agelong struggle between the herder-hunter and
the farmer. But if industrialism is to triumph over militarism,
it must avoid the dangers which beset it. The perils of budding
industry on Urantia are:
70:2.7 1. The strong drift toward materialism,
70:2.8 2. The worship of wealth-power, value
70:2.9 3. The vices of luxury, cultural
70:2.10 4. The increasing dangers of
indolence, service insensitivity.
70:2.11 5. The growth of undesirable racial
softness, biologic deterioration.
70:2.12 6. The threat of standardized
industrial slavery, personality stagnation. Labor is ennobling
but drudgery is benumbing.
70:2.13 Militarism is autocratic and cruel --
savage. It promotes social organization among the conquerors but
disintegrates the vanquished. Industrialism is more civilized
and should be so carried on as to promote initiative and to
encourage individualism. Society should in every way possible
70:2.14 Do not make the mistake of glorifying
war; rather discern what it has done for society so that you may
the more accurately visualize what its substitutes must provide
in order to continue the advancement of civilization. And if
such adequate substitutes are not provided, then you may be sure
that war will long continue.
70:2.15 Man will never accept peace as a
normal mode of living until he has been thoroughly and
repeatedly convinced that peace is best for his material
welfare, and until society has wisely provided peaceful
substitutes for the gratification of that inherent tendency
periodically to let loose a collective drive designed to
liberate those ever-accumulating emotions and energies belonging
to the self-preservation reactions of the human species.
70:2.16 But even in passing, war should be
honored as the school of experience which compelled a race of
arrogant individualists to submit themselves to highly
concentrated authority -- a chief executive. Old-fashioned war
did select the innately great men for leadership, but modern war
no longer does this. To discover leaders society must now turn
to the conquests of peace: industry, science, and social
3. EARLY HUMAN ASSOCIATIONS
70:3.1 In the most primitive society the
horde is everything; even children are its common property.
The evolving family displaced the horde in child rearing, while
the emerging clans and tribes took its place as the social unit.
70:3.2 Sex hunger and mother love establish
the family. But real government does not appear until
superfamily groups have begun to form. In the prefamily days of
the horde, leadership was provided by informally chosen
individuals. The African Bushmen have never progressed beyond
this primitive stage; they do not have chiefs in the horde.
70:3.3 Families became united by blood ties in
clans, aggregations of kinsmen; and these subsequently evolved
into tribes, territorial communities. Warfare and external
pressure forced the tribal organization upon the kinship clans,
but it was commerce and trade that held these early and
primitive groups together with some degree of internal peace.
70:3.4 The peace of Urantia will be promoted
far more by international trade organizations than by all the
sentimental sophistry of visionary peace planning. Trade
relations have been facilitated by development of language and
by improved methods of communication as well as by better
70:3.5 The absence of a common language has
always impeded the growth of peace groups, but money has become
the universal language of modern trade. Modern society is
largely held together by the industrial market. The gain motive
is a mighty civilizer when augmented by the desire to serve.
70:3.6 In the early ages each tribe was
surrounded by concentric circles of increasing fear and
suspicion; hence it was once the custom to kill all strangers,
later on, to enslave them. The old idea of friendship meant
adoption into the clan; and clan membership was believed to
survive death -- one of the earliest concepts of eternal life.
70:3.7 The ceremony of adoption consisted in
drinking each other's blood. In some groups saliva was exchanged
in the place of blood drinking, this being the ancient origin of
the practice of social kissing. And all ceremonies of
association, whether marriage or adoption, were always
terminated by feasting.
70:3.8 In later times, blood diluted with red
wine was used, and eventually wine alone was drunk to seal the
adoption ceremony, which was signified in the touching of the
wine cups and consummated by the swallowing of the beverage. The
Hebrews employed a modified form of this adoption ceremony.
Their Arab ancestors made use of the oath taken while the hand
of the candidate rested upon the generative organ of the tribal
native. The Hebrews treated adopted aliens kindly and
fraternally. "The stranger that dwells with you shall be as one
born among you, and you shall love him as yourself."
70:3.9 "Guest friendship" was a relation of
temporary hospitality. When visiting guests departed, a dish
would be broken in half, one piece being given the departing
friend so that it would serve as a suitable introduction for a
third party who might arrive on a later visit. It was customary
for guests to pay their way by telling tales of their travels
and adventures. The storytellers of olden times became so
popular that the mores eventually forbade their functioning
during either the hunting or harvest seasons.
70:3.10 The first treaties of peace were the
"blood bonds." The peace ambassadors of two warring tribes would
meet, pay their respects, and then proceed to prick the skin
until it bled; whereupon they would suck each other's blood and
70:3.11 The earliest peace missions consisted
of delegations of men bringing their choice maidens for the sex
gratification of their onetime enemies, the sex appetite being
utilized in combating the war urge. The tribe so honored would
pay a return visit, with its offering of maidens; whereupon
peace would be firmly established. And soon intermarriages
between the families of the chiefs were sanctioned.
4. CLANS AND TRIBES
70:4.1 The first peace group was the family,
then the clan, the tribe, and later on the nation, which
eventually became the modern territorial state. The fact that
the present-day peace groups have long since expanded beyond
blood ties to embrace nations is most encouraging, despite the
fact that Urantia nations are still spending vast sums on war
70:4.2 The clans were blood-tie groups within
the tribe, and they owed their existence to certain common
interests, such as:
1. Tracing origin back to a common
2. Allegiance to a common religious
3. Speaking the same dialect.
4. Sharing a common dwelling place.
5. Fearing the same enemies.
6. Having had a common military
70:4.3 The clan headmen were always
subordinate to the tribal chief, the early tribal governments
being a loose confederation of clans. The native Australians
never developed a tribal form of government.
70:4.4 The clan peace chiefs usually ruled
through the mother line; the tribal war chiefs established the
father line. The courts of the tribal chiefs and early kings
consisted of the headmen of the clans, whom it was customary to
invite into the king's presence several times a year. This
enabled him to watch them and the better secure their
co-operation. The clans served a valuable purpose in local
self-government, but they greatly delayed the growth of large
and strong nations.
5. THE BEGINNINGS OF GOVERNMENT
70:5.1 Every human institution had a
beginning, and civil government is a product of progressive
evolution just as much as are marriage, industry, and religion.
From the early clans and primitive tribes there gradually
developed the successive orders of human government which have
come and gone right on down to those forms of social and civil
regulation that characterize the second third of the twentieth
70:5.2 With the gradual emergence of the
family units the foundations of government were established in
the clan organization, the grouping of consanguineous families.
The first real governmental body was the council of the
elders. This regulative group was composed of old men who
had distinguished themselves in some efficient manner. Wisdom
and experience were early appreciated even by barbaric man, and
there ensued a long age of the domination of the elders. This
reign of the oligarchy of age gradually grew into the
70:5.3 In the early council of the elders
there resided the potential of all governmental functions:
executive, legislative, and judicial. When the council
interpreted the current mores, it was a court; when establishing
new modes of social usage, it was a legislature; to the extent
that such decrees and enactments were enforced, it was the
executive. The chairman of the council was one of the
forerunners of the later tribal chief.
70:5.4 Some tribes had female councils, and
from time to time many tribes had women rulers. Certain tribes
of the red man preserved the teaching of Onamonalonton in
following the unanimous rule of the "council of seven."
70:5.5 It has been hard for mankind to learn
that neither peace nor war can be run by a debating society. The
primitive "palavers" were seldom useful. The race early learned
that an army commanded by a group of clan heads had no chance
against a strong one-man army. War has always been a kingmaker.
70:5.6 At first the war chiefs were chosen
only for military service, and they would relinquish some of
their authority during peacetimes, when their duties were of a
more social nature. But gradually they began to encroach upon
the peace intervals, tending to continue to rule from one war on
through to the next. They often saw to it that one war was not
too long in following another. These early war lords were not
fond of peace.
70:5.7 In later times some chiefs were chosen
for other than military service, being selected because of
unusual physique or outstanding personal abilities. The red men
often had two sets of chiefs -- the sachems, or peace chiefs,
and the hereditary war chiefs. The peace rulers were also judges
70:5.8 Some early communities were ruled by
medicine men, who often acted as chiefs. One man would act as
priest, physician, and chief executive. Quite often the early
royal insignias had originally been the symbols or emblems of
70:5.9 And it was by these steps that the
executive branch of government gradually came into existence.
The clan and tribal councils continued in an advisory capacity
and as forerunners of the later appearing legislative and
judicial branches. In Africa, today, all these forms of
primitive government are in actual existence among the various
6. MONARCHIAL GOVERNMENT
70:6.1 Effective state rule only came with the
arrival of a chief with full executive authority. Man found that
effective government could be had only by conferring power on a
personality, not by endowing an idea.
70:6.2 Rulership grew out of the idea of
family authority or wealth. When a patriarchal kinglet became a
real king, he was sometimes called "father of his people." Later
on, kings were thought to have sprung from heroes. And still
further on, rulership became hereditary, due to belief in the
divine origin of kings.
70:6.3 Hereditary kingship avoided the anarchy
which had previously wrought such havoc between the death of a
king and the election of a successor. The family had a biologic
head; the clan, a selected natural leader; the tribe and later
state had no natural leader, and this was an additional reason
for making the chief-kings hereditary. The idea of royal
families and aristocracy was also based on the mores of "name
ownership" in the clans.
70:6.4 The succession of kings was eventually
regarded as supernatural, the royal blood being thought to
extend back to the times of the materialized staff of Prince
Caligastia. Thus kings became fetish personalities and were
inordinately feared, a special form of speech being adopted for
court usage. Even in recent times it was believed that the touch
of kings would cure disease, and some Urantia peoples still
regard their rulers as having had a divine origin.
70:6.5 The early fetish king was often kept in
seclusion; he was regarded as too sacred to be viewed except on
feast days and holy days. Ordinarily a representative was chosen
to impersonate him, and this is the origin of prime ministers.
The first cabinet officer was a food administrator; others
shortly followed. Rulers soon appointed representatives to be in
charge of commerce and religion; and the development of a
cabinet was a direct step toward depersonalization of executive
authority. These assistants of the early kings became the
accepted nobility, and the king's wife gradually rose to the
dignity of queen as women came to be held in higher esteem.
70:6.6 Unscrupulous rulers gained great power
by the discovery of poison. Early court magic was diabolical;
the king's enemies soon died. But even the most despotic tyrant
was subject to some restrictions; he was at least restrained by
the ever-present fear of assassination. The medicine men, witch
doctors, and priests have always been a powerful check on the
kings. Subsequently, the landowners, the aristocracy, exerted a
restraining influence. And ever and anon the clans and tribes
would simply rise up and overthrow their despots and tyrants.
Deposed rulers, when sentenced to death, were often given the
option of committing suicide, which gave origin to the ancient
social vogue of suicide in certain circumstances.
PRIMITIVE CLUBS AND SECRET SOCIETIES
70:7.1 Blood kinship determined the first
social groups; association enlarged the kinship clan.
Intermarriage was the next step in group enlargement, and the
resultant complex tribe was the first true political body. The
next advance in social development was the evolution of
religious cults and the political clubs. These first appeared as
secret societies and originally were wholly religious;
subsequently they became regulative. At first they were men's
clubs; later women's groups appeared. Presently they became
divided into two classes: sociopolitical and religio-mystical.
70:7.2 There were many reasons for the secrecy
of these societies, such as:
1. Fear of incurring the displeasure
of the rulers because of the violation of some taboo.
2. In order to practice minority
3. For the purpose of preserving
valuable "spirit" or trade secrets.
4. For the enjoyment of some special
charm or magic.
70:7.3 The very secrecy of these societies
conferred on all members the power of mystery over the rest of
the tribe. Secrecy also appeals to vanity; the initiates were
the social aristocracy of their day. After initiation the boys
hunted with the men; whereas before they had gathered vegetables
with the women. And it was the supreme humiliation, a tribal
disgrace, to fail to pass the puberty tests and thus be
compelled to remain outside the men's abode with the women and
children, to be considered effeminate. Besides, noninitiates
were not allowed to marry.
70:7.4 Primitive people very early taught
their adolescent youths sex control. It became the custom to
take boys away from parents from puberty to marriage, their
education and training being intrusted to the men's secret
societies. And one of the chief functions of these clubs was to
keep control of adolescent young men, thus preventing
70:7.5 Commercialized prostitution began when
these men's clubs paid money for the use of women from other
tribes. But the earlier groups were remarkably free from sex
70:7.6 The puberty initiation ceremony usually
extended over a period of five years. Much self-torture and
painful cutting entered into these ceremonies. Circumcision was
first practiced as a rite of initiation into one of these secret
fraternities. The tribal marks were cut on the body as a part of
the puberty initiation; the tattoo originated as such a badge of
membership. Such torture, together with much privation, was
designed to harden these youths, to impress them with the
reality of life and its inevitable hardships. This purpose is
better accomplished by the later appearing athletic games and
70:7.7 But the secret societies did aim at the
improvement of adolescent morals; one of the chief purposes of
the puberty ceremonies was to impress upon the boy that he must
leave other men's wives alone.
70:7.8 Following these years of rigorous
discipline and training and just before marriage, the young men
were usually released for a short period of leisure and freedom,
after which they returned to marry and to submit to lifelong
subjection to the tribal taboos. And this ancient custom has
continued down to modern times as the foolish notion of "sowing
70:7.9 Many later tribes sanctioned the
formation of women's secret clubs, the purpose of which was to
prepare adolescent girls for wifehood and motherhood. After
initiation girls were eligible for marriage and were permitted
to attend the "bride show," the coming-out party of those days.
Women's orders pledged against marriage early came into
70:7.10 Presently nonsecret clubs made their
appearance when groups of unmarried men and groups of unattached
women formed their separate organizations. These associations
were really the first schools. And while men's and women's clubs
were often given to persecuting each other, some advanced
tribes, after contact with the Dalamatia teachers, experimented
with coeducation, having boarding schools for both sexes.
70:7.11 Secret societies contributed to the
building up of social castes chiefly by the mysterious character
of their initiations. The members of these societies first wore
masks to frighten the curious away from their mourning rites --
ancestor worship. Later this ritual developed into a pseudo
seance at which ghosts were reputed to have appeared. The
ancient societies of the "new birth" used signs and employed a
special secret language; they also forswore certain foods and
drinks. They acted as night police and otherwise functioned in a
wide range of social activities.
70:7.12 All secret associations imposed an
oath, enjoined confidence, and taught the keeping of secrets.
These orders awed and controlled the mobs; they also acted as
vigilance societies, thus practicing lynch law. They were the
first spies when the tribes were at war and the first secret
police during times of peace. Best of all they kept unscrupulous
kings on the anxious seat. To offset them, the kings fostered
their own secret police.
70:7.13 These societies gave rise to the first
political parties. The first party government was "the strong"
vs. "the weak." In ancient times a change of
administration only followed civil war, abundant proof that the
weak had become strong.
70:7.14 These clubs were employed by merchants
to collect debts and by rulers to collect taxes. Taxation has
been a long struggle, one of the earliest forms being the tithe,
one tenth of the hunt or spoils. Taxes were originally levied to
keep up the king's house, but it was found that they were easier
to collect when disguised as an offering for the support of the
70:7.15 By and by these secret associations
grew into the first charitable organizations and later evolved
into the earlier religious societies -- the forerunners of
churches. Finally some of these societies became intertribal,
the first international fraternities.
8. SOCIAL CLASSES
70:8.1 The mental and physical inequality of
human beings insures that social classes will appear. The only
worlds without social strata are the most primitive and the most
advanced. A dawning civilization has not yet begun the
differentiation of social levels, while a world settled in light
and life has largely effaced these divisions of mankind, which
are so characteristic of all intermediate evolutionary stages.
70:8.2 As society emerged from savagery to
barbarism, its human components tended to become grouped in
classes for the following general reasons:
70:8.3 1. Natural -- contact, kinship,
and marriage; the first social distinctions were based on sex,
age, and blood -- kinship to the chief.
70:8.4 2. Personal -- the recognition
of ability, endurance, skill, and fortitude; soon followed by
the recognition of language mastery, knowledge, and general
70:8.5 3. Chance -- war and emigration
resulted in the separating of human groups. Class evolution was
powerfully influenced by conquest, the relation of the victor to
the vanquished, while slavery brought about the first general
division of society into free and bond.
70:8.6 4. Economic -- rich and poor.
Wealth and the possession of slaves was a genetic basis for one
class of society.
70:8.7 5. Geographic -- classes arose
consequent upon urban or rural settlement. City and country have
respectively contributed to the differentiation of the
herder-agriculturist and the trader-industrialist, with their
divergent viewpoints and reactions.
70:8.8 6. Social -- classes have
gradually formed according to popular estimate of the social
worth of different groups. Among the earliest divisions of this
sort were the demarcations between priest-teachers,
ruler-warriors, capitalist-traders, common laborers, and slaves.
The slave could never become a capitalist, though sometimes the
wage earner could elect to join the capitalistic ranks.
70:8.9 7. Vocational -- as vocations
multiplied, they tended to establish castes and guilds. Workers
divided into three groups: the professional classes, including
the medicine men, then the skilled workers, followed by the
70:8.10 8. Religious -- the early cult
clubs produced their own classes within the clans and tribes,
and the piety and mysticism of the priests have long perpetuated
them as a separate social group.
70:8.11 9. Racial -- the presence of
two or more races within a given nation or territorial unit
usually produces color castes. The original caste system of
India was based on color, as was that of early Egypt.
70:8.12 10. Age -- youth and maturity.
Among the tribes the boy remained under the watchcare of his
father as long as the father lived, while the girl was left in
the care of her mother until married.
70:8.13 Flexible and shifting social classes
are indispensable to an evolving civilization, but when class
becomes caste, when social levels petrify, the enhancement of
social stability is purchased by diminishment of personal
initiative. Social caste solves the problem of finding one's
place in industry, but it also sharply curtails individual
development and virtually prevents social co-operation.
70:8.14 Classes in society, having naturally
formed, will persist until man gradually achieves their
evolutionary obliteration through intelligent manipulation of
the biologic, intellectual, and spiritual resources of a
progressing civilization, such as:
70:8.15 1. Biologic renovation of the racial
stocks -- the selective elimination of inferior human strains.
This will tend to eradicate many mortal inequalities.
70:8.16 2. Educational training of the
increased brain power which will arise out of such biologic
70:8.17 3. Religious quickening of the
feelings of mortal kinship and brotherhood.
70:8.18 But these measures can bear their true
fruits only in the distant millenniums of the future, although
much social improvement will immediately result from the
intelligent, wise, and patient manipulation of these
acceleration factors of cultural progress. Religion is the
mighty lever that lifts civilization from chaos, but it is
powerless apart from the fulcrum of sound and normal mind
resting securely on sound and normal heredity.
9. HUMAN RIGHTS
70:9.1 Nature confers no rights on man, only
life and a world in which to live it. Nature does not even
confer the right to live, as might be deduced by considering
what would likely happen if an unarmed man met a hungry tiger
face to face in the primitive forest. Society's prime gift to
man is security.
70:9.2 Gradually society asserted its rights
and, at the present time, they are:
1. Assurance of food supply.
2. Military defense -- security
3. Internal peace preservation --
prevention of personal violence and social disorder.
4. Sex control -- marriage, the
5. Property -- the right to own.
6. Fostering of individual and group
7. Provision for educating and
8. Promotion of trade and commerce
-- industrial development.
9. Improvement of labor conditions
10. The guarantee of the freedom of
religious practices to the end that all of these other social
activities may be exalted by becoming spiritually motivated.
70:9.3 When rights are old beyond knowledge of
origin, they are often called natural rights. But human
rights are not really natural; they are entirely social. They
are relative and ever changing, being no more than the rules of
the game -- recognized adjustments of relations governing the
ever-changing phenomena of human competition.
70:9.4 What may be regarded as right in one
age may not be so regarded in another. The survival of large
numbers of defectives and degenerates is not because they have
any natural right thus to encumber twentieth-century
civilization, but simply because the society of the age, the
mores, thus decrees.
70:9.5 Few human rights were recognized in the
European Middle Ages; then every man belonged to someone else,
and rights were only privileges or favors granted by state or
church. And the revolt from this error was equally erroneous in
that it led to the belief that all men are born equal.
70:9.6 The weak and the inferior have always
contended for equal rights; they have always insisted that the
state compel the strong and superior to supply their wants and
otherwise make good those deficiencies which all too often are
the natural result of their own indifference and indolence.
70:9.7 But this equality ideal is the child of
civilization; it is not found in nature. Even culture itself
demonstrates conclusively the inherent inequality of men by
their very unequal capacity therefor. The sudden and
nonevolutionary realization of supposed natural equality would
quickly throw civilized man back to the crude usages of
primitive ages. Society cannot offer equal rights to all, but it
can promise to administer the varying rights of each with
fairness and equity. It is the business and duty of society to
provide the child of nature with a fair and peaceful opportunity
to pursue self-maintenance, participate in self-perpetuation,
while at the same time enjoying some measure of
self-gratification, the sum of all three constituting human
10. EVOLUTION OF JUSTICE
70:10.1 Natural justice is a man-made theory;
it is not a reality. In nature, justice is purely theoretic,
wholly a fiction. Nature provides but one kind of justice --
inevitable conformity of results to causes.
70:10.2 Justice, as conceived by man, means
getting one's rights and has, therefore, been a matter of
progressive evolution. The concept of justice may well be
constitutive in a spirit-endowed mind, but it does not spring
full-fledgedly into existence on the worlds of space.
70:10.3 Primitive man assigned all phenomena
to a person. In case of death the savage asked, not what
killed him, but who? Accidental murder was not therefore
recognized, and in the punishment of crime the motive of the
criminal was wholly disregarded; judgment was rendered in
accordance with the injury done.
70:10.4 In the earliest primitive society
public opinion operated directly; officers of law were not
needed. There was no privacy in primitive life. A man's
neighbors were responsible for his conduct; therefore their
right to pry into his personal affairs. Society was regulated on
the theory that the group membership should have an interest in,
and some degree of control over, the behavior of each
70:10.5 It was very early believed that ghosts
administered justice through the medicine men and priests; this
constituted these orders the first crime detectors and officers
of the law. Their early methods of detecting crime consisted in
conducting ordeals of poison, fire, and pain. These savage
ordeals were nothing more than crude techniques of arbitration;
they did not necessarily settle a dispute justly. For example:
When poison was administered, if the accused vomited, he was
70:10.6 The Old Testament records one of these
ordeals, a marital guilt test: If a man suspected his wife of
being untrue to him, he took her to the priest and stated his
suspicions, after which the priest would prepare a concoction
consisting of holy water and sweepings from the temple floor.
After due ceremony, including threatening curses, the accused
wife was made to drink the nasty potion. If she was guilty, "the
water that causes the curse shall enter into her and become
bitter, and her belly shall swell, and her thighs shall rot, and
the woman shall be accursed among her people." If, by any
chance, any woman could quaff this filthy draught and not show
symptoms of physical illness, she was acquitted of the charges
made by her jealous husband.
70:10.7 These atrocious methods of crime
detection were practiced by almost all the evolving tribes at
one time or another. Dueling is a modern survival of the trial
70:10.8 It is not to be wondered that the
Hebrews and other semicivilized tribes practiced such primitive
techniques of justice administration three thousand years ago,
but it is most amazing that thinking men would subsequently
retain such a relic of barbarism within the pages of a
collection of sacred writings. Reflective thinking should make
it clear that no divine being ever gave mortal man such unfair
instructions regarding the detection and adjudication of
suspected marital unfaithfulness.
70:10.9 Society early adopted the paying-back
attitude of retaliation: an eye for an eye, a life for a life.
The evolving tribes all recognized this right of blood
vengeance. Vengeance became the aim of primitive life, but
religion has since greatly modified these early tribal
practices. The teachers of revealed religion have always
proclaimed, "`Vengeance is mine,' says the Lord." Vengeance
killing in early times was not altogether unlike present-day
murders under the pretense of the unwritten law.
70:10.10 Suicide was a common mode of
retaliation. If one were unable to avenge himself in life, he
died entertaining the belief that, as a ghost, he could return
and visit wrath upon his enemy. And since this belief was very
general, the threat of suicide on an enemy's doorstep was
usually sufficient to bring him to terms. Primitive man did not
hold life very dear; suicide over trifles was common, but the
teachings of the Dalamatians greatly lessened this custom, while
in more recent times leisure, comforts, religion, and philosophy
have united to make life sweeter and more desirable. Hunger
strikes are, however, a modern analogue of this old-time method
70:10.11 One of the earliest formulations of
advanced tribal law had to do with the taking over of the blood
feud as a tribal affair. But strange to relate, even then a man
could kill his wife without punishment provided he had fully
paid for her. The Eskimos of today, however, still leave the
penalty for a crime, even for murder, to be decreed and
administered by the family wronged.
70:10.12 Another advance was the imposition of
fines for taboo violations, the provision of penalties. These
fines constituted the first public revenue. The practice of
paying "blood money" also came into vogue as a substitute for
blood vengeance. Such damages were usually paid in women or
cattle; it was a long time before actual fines, monetary
compensation, were assessed as punishment for crime. And since
the idea of punishment was essentially compensation, everything,
including human life, eventually came to have a price which
could be paid as damages. The Hebrews were the first to abolish
the practice of paying blood money. Moses taught that they
should "take no satisfaction for the life of a murderer, who is
guilty of death; he shall surely be put to death."
70:10.13 Justice was thus first meted out by
the family, then by the clan, and later on by the tribe. The
administration of true justice dates from the taking of revenge
from private and kin groups and lodging it in the hands of the
social group, the state.
70:10.14 Punishment by burning alive was once
a common practice. It was recognized by many ancient rulers,
including Hammurabi and Moses, the latter directing that many
crimes, particularly those of a grave sex nature, should be
punished by burning at the stake. If "the daughter of a priest"
or other leading citizen turned to public prostitution, it was
the Hebrew custom to "burn her with fire."
70:10.15 Treason -- the "selling out" or
betrayal of one's tribal associates -- was the first capital
crime. Cattle stealing was universally punished by summary
death, and even recently horse stealing has been similarly
punished. But as time passed, it was learned that the severity
of the punishment was not so valuable a deterrent to crime as
was its certainty and swiftness.
70:10.16 When society fails to punish crimes,
group resentment usually asserts itself as lynch law; the
provision of sanctuary was a means of escaping this sudden group
anger. Lynching and dueling represent the unwillingness of the
individual to surrender private redress to the state.
11. LAWS AND COURTS
70:11.1 It is just as difficult to draw sharp
distinctions between mores and laws as to indicate exactly when,
at the dawning, night is succeeded by day. Mores are laws and
police regulations in the making. When long established, the
undefined mores tend to crystallize into precise laws, concrete
regulations, and well-defined social conventions.
70:11.2 Law is always at first negative and
prohibitive; in advancing civilizations it becomes increasingly
positive and directive. Early society operated negatively,
granting the individual the right to live by imposing upon all
others the command, "you shall not kill." Every grant of rights
or liberty to the individual involves curtailment of the
liberties of all others, and this is effected by the taboo,
primitive law. The whole idea of the taboo is inherently
negative, for primitive society was wholly negative in its
organization, and the early administration of justice consisted
in the enforcement of the taboos. But originally these laws
applied only to fellow tribesmen, as is illustrated by the
later-day Hebrews, who had a different code of ethics for
dealing with the gentiles.
70:11.3 The oath originated in the days of
Dalamatia in an effort to render testimony more truthful. Such
oaths consisted in pronouncing a curse upon oneself. Formerly no
individual would testify against his native group.
70:11.4 Crime was an assault upon the tribal
mores, sin was the transgression of those taboos which enjoyed
ghost sanction, and there was long confusion due to the failure
to segregate crime and sin.
70:11.5 Self-interest established the taboo on
killing, society sanctified it as traditional mores, while
religion consecrated the custom as moral law, and thus did all
three conspire in rendering human life more safe and sacred.
Society could not have held together during early times had not
rights had the sanction of religion; superstition was the moral
and social police force of the long evolutionary ages. The
ancients all claimed that their olden laws, the taboos, had been
given to their ancestors by the gods.
70:11.6 Law is a codified record of long human
experience, public opinion crystallized and legalized. The mores
were the raw material of accumulated experience out of which
later ruling minds formulated the written laws. The ancient
judge had no laws. When he handed down a decision, he simply
said, "It is the custom."
70:11.7 Reference to precedent in court
decisions represents the effort of judges to adapt written laws
to the changing conditions of society. This provides for
progressive adaptation to altering social conditions combined
with the impressiveness of traditional continuity.
70:11.8 Property disputes were handled in many
ways, such as:
1. By destroying the disputed
2. By force -- the contestants
fought it out.
3. By arbitration -- a third party
4. By appeal to the elders -- later
to the courts.
70:11.9 The first courts were regulated fistic
encounters; the judges were merely umpires or referees. They saw
to it that the fight was carried on according to approved rules.
On entering a court combat, each party made a deposit with the
judge to pay the costs and fine after one had been defeated by
the other. "Might was still right." Later on, verbal arguments
were substituted for physical blows.
70:11.10 The whole idea of primitive justice
was not so much to be fair as to dispose of the contest and thus
prevent public disorder and private violence. But primitive man
did not so much resent what would now be regarded as an
injustice; it was taken for granted that those who had power
would use it selfishly. Nevertheless, the status of any
civilization may be very accurately determined by the
thoroughness and equity of its courts and by the integrity of
12. ALLOCATION OF CIVIL AUTHORITY
70:12.1 The great struggle in the evolution of
government has concerned the concentration of power. The
universe administrators have learned from experience that the
evolutionary peoples on the inhabited worlds are best regulated
by the representative type of civil government when there is
maintained proper balance of power between the well-co-ordinated
executive, legislative, and judicial branches.
70:12.2 While primitive authority was based on
strength, physical power, the ideal government is the
representative system wherein leadership is based on ability,
but in the days of barbarism there was entirely too much war to
permit representative government to function effectively. In the
long struggle between division of authority and unity of
command, the dictator won. The early and diffuse powers of the
primitive council of elders were gradually concentrated in the
person of the absolute monarch. After the arrival of real kings
the groups of elders persisted as quasi-legislative-judicial
advisory bodies; later on, legislatures of co-ordinate status
made their appearance, and eventually supreme courts of
adjudication were established separate from the legislatures.
70:12.3 The king was the executor of the
mores, the original or unwritten law. Later he enforced the
legislative enactments, the crystallization of public opinion. A
popular assembly as an expression of public opinion, though slow
in appearing, marked a great social advance.
70:12.4 The early kings were greatly
restricted by the mores -- by tradition or public opinion. In
recent times some Urantia nations have codified these mores into
documentary bases for government.
70:12.5 Urantia mortals are entitled to
liberty; they should create their systems of government; they
should adopt their constitutions or other charters of civil
authority and administrative procedure. And having done this,
they should select their most competent and worthy fellows as
chief executives. For representatives in the legislative branch
they should elect only those who are qualified intellectually
and morally to fulfill such sacred responsibilities. As judges
of their high and supreme tribunals only those who are endowed
with natural ability and who have been made wise by replete
experience should be chosen.
70:12.6 If men would maintain their freedom,
they must, after having chosen their charter of liberty, provide
for its wise, intelligent, and fearless interpretation to the
end that there may be prevented:
1. Usurpation of unwarranted power
by either the executive or legislative branches.
2. Machinations of ignorant and
3. Retardation of scientific
4. Stalemate of the dominance of
5. Domination by vicious minorities.
6. Control by ambitious and clever
7. Disastrous disruption of panics.
8. Exploitation by the unscrupulous.
9. Taxation enslavement of the
citizenry by the state.
10. Failure of social and economic
11. Union of church and state.
12. Loss of personal liberty.
70:12.7 These are the purposes and aims of
constitutional tribunals acting as governors upon the engines of
representative government on an evolutionary world.
70:12.8 Mankind's struggle to perfect
government on Urantia has to do with perfecting channels of
administration, with adapting them to ever-changing current
needs, with improving power distribution within government, and
then with selecting such administrative leaders as are truly
wise. While there is a divine and ideal form of government, such
cannot be revealed but must be slowly and laboriously discovered
by the men and women of each planet throughout the universes of
time and space.
Presented by a Melchizedek of Nebadon.