Organismic theory is another vital theory of the origin of human society. Plato, Aristotle, Herbert Spencer, Spengler and Novico were the main exponents of this theory. They have compared the society with a living human body or organism.
According to them, society is nothing but a kind of living organism, biological organism. In other words, the organismic theory video society is a living organism possessing organs, which perform functions analogues to these of a plant or animal. Among ail these scholars Herbert Spencer has occupied unique place, because of this significant contribution in the field of organismic theory or society.
According to Spencer, society is not merely a collection of individuals, it is more than that, just as an organism is mere than a mere collection of ceils. Spencer developed the organismic theory by making an elaborate comparison between the society and the organism. He thinks that society is like a biological system a greater organism, a like in its structure and functions. Like an organism, society is also subject of the same process of gradual growth or development from a simple to complex “state. Like an organism, society is also exhibits differentiation in functions and integration in structure”. Thus according to the organismic theory of society, society is an organism whose structure and function resemble those of the human beings and which also develops according to the same laws.
Herbert Spencer indicates that society resembles an organism in the following important respects.
1. Society like organism grows or develops gradually. The human organism goes through the laws of development, maturation and decline. Similarly society also passes through some taws such as the laws of birth, growth and change or decay.”
2. Both society and organism begin germs.
3. Society and organism both exhibit differential structure functions. .
4. Both society and organism are composed of units. Society is composed of the individuals and thus, individuals are considered as the units of society. Similarly, organism is also composed of different organs such as eyes, ears, hands, legs, head etc., and these are regarded as the units of an organism.
5. In both society and organism there exists close integration or interdependence of parts. Just as the different parts of the organism are mutually interdependence and on the whole, also the individuals in a dependant are mutually interdependent like the cells in an organism dependent in the whole.
Inspite of these similarities, Spencer also draws number of structural analogies between the society and organism. A living organism possesses sustaining system and distributing system and regulative system corresponding respective to system of production of industry and agriculture, the means of transportation and communication and the government, in society in the industrial and agricultural systems the circulatory system with the heart arteries and veins correspond to the communication and transportation system of nation the nervous system to the government and so on. An individual cell of an organism may die with, little effect on its life, similarly the death of an individual.
According to P.A. Sorokin society passes through the organic process of birth, youth, maturity, old age and death.
On the basis of the above resemblances Spencer concluded that society is an organismic and it is a special organism. The individuals are limbs of the society and behave as the cells of the body whose activity and life are meant for the sake of the whole. Just as the limbs separated from the body have no life, similarly individuals separated from the society have no. life. The individuals exist in and within the society.
In addition to the above points of-similarities, there are however, certain points of dissimilarities also.
According to Spencer society differs from human organism in the following important respects.
1. In organic growth, nature plays a dominant and organismic naturally grows. On the other hand, social growth may be checked or stimulated by man himself.
2. The units of a society are not fixed in their respective positions like those of the individual organism.
3. In an organism, consciousness is concentrated in the small part of the aggregate, that is, in the nervous system while in a society it is diffused throughout whole aggregate.