What are the causes that make an individual a social animal?

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He is born in society, lives in society and dies in society. We find human beings, both civilized and uncivilized, living everywhere in groups and societies. Man is a gregarious animal Kt craves the company of his fellow beings.

He has a natural urge and instinct to live an associated life with others. Aristotle observes that a man who has no need of society is either a beast or a God. All normal individuals have an instinctive desire to live with others and share the fruits of common life.

Man is not only a social animal by nature but also by necessity. Social life is indispensable to man. It has been aptly said that if nature impels man to lead social life, necessity compels him to do so. Man’s material, moral and mental needs warrant him to live and work in cooperation with others.

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Aristotle says that society continues to exist for the sake of ‘good life’. MacIver observes: “his birth in society brings with it the absolute need of society itself.” The following reasons are advanced to support the contention that man is preeminently a social animal and he has intrinsic need of social life.

1. Helplessness in Childhood:

Man needs society for his very existence or survival. The human child is born helpless. For several years he needs the care and love of parents and others for his very survival and growth. In the animal world most young ones are able to look after themselves after some days. But the human child depends on others for a long time. This prolonged dependence compels him to live in a society.

2. Survival and Self-Defense:

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The child, from its birth, wants to live. It is his natural instinct to try to survive in the face of all odds. From the beginning he depends on others for his defense. Only in the society, his defense and security are possible. Man lives with others.

In any adversity he seeks the assistance and support of others. The society is the source of help for the individual. The life, wealth and liberty of the individual are protected by several social customs and practices. Without society, there will be anarchy, and life will be a hell.

3. Development of Personality:

The inherent capacities and potentialities of the child can develop only in society. The child learns to speak, enquire and think in society. By constant interaction with other individuals the child develops his faculties and achieves human personality.

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It is rightly said that “the self can come into being only in society with the give and take of group life.” Society provides a congenial atmosphere for the development of human personality.

4. Satisfaction of Wants:

No man can satisfy all his wants all by himself. No man can produce all the goods and render all the services he requires. He has to depend on his fellow beings to satisfy his innumerable wants.

5. Insurance against Odds:

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Society provides insurance or security to man against all odds in life. He may suffer from illness, disablement and destitution. He may meet accidents and remain unemployed. He has to fall back upon his family members, friends and other individuals during his period of insecurity and heavy odds.

6. Store-House of Knowledge:

Society is the repository of wisdom and experience handed down from generation to generation. Men ‘living in society share and benefit by such wisdom and experience and make their individual contributions to varied fields of social life, Man utilizes the social advantages and resources and develops his personality.

7. Isolation is Punishment:

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Isolation breeds retardation in human growth. If a child is separated from others in society, his growth is stunted. Sometimes isolation or banishment from society is imposed as a punishment on criminals.

Thus man is closely related to society from his very birth. His nature impels him and his necessities compel him to live in society.

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