Essay/Chapter 10. Total society and its composition

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1. Individuals
2. Empire
3. Utilitarian society and liberal society

This chapter is dedicated to fixing and defining the technical terms which we shall use very often in this Part Three.

They are terms concerning the specific living society, and specific, true-life social facts. Our perspective, if we must define them, is a perspective of specific realities —not a perspective of abstract-monetary realities— based on which we have prepared the definitions of Part One.

The specific, living, phenomenon we are interested in, and which we shall consider as a study unit, is the total geopolitical community. But this unit is at the same time a very complex whole made up by different social sub-units.

1. Individuals

If we look for the irreducible element which makes up a social complex, we find the individual.

Every human group, and therefore every geopolitical community, is made up by individuals. By individual we mean «an animal being —that is a psychosomatic being— endowed with a transcendent spirit». Individuals are not totally determined —neither through the environment, nor genetically or socially—, but are able to jump freely towards something beyond their determined reality. It is this possibility of freedom beyond determinism which we call transcendent spirit, and which differentiates radically an individual from any other animal.

It is an extended mistake to consider as persons only individual men and women. The simple observation of the present reality, and the historic consideration of the past realities of man, show us on the contrary that there are three sorts of persons.

In the first place we have the national-communal persons, or nations: a nation is only a birth group, according to the etymological explanation. The national person has, then, an instinctive-genetic origin, but is already endowed with spirit, with a self-conscience. It is, in fact, the first person which, in the course of time and of human evolution, became aware of being one.

In the second place we have the social-collective persons: they appear and become aware of themselves within the national persons, and are formed by free affinities and election among individuals.

Finally, we have the individual-mortal persons, which nowadays are the most evident and even the most conscious of their essence as persons. In spite of this, they are the ones which have appeared more recently in the history of mankind. The individual conscience is an acquisition which probably is related to the development of the social-collective structures known as civilizations.

In order to make this distinction clear among the different sorts of persons, we may suggest the following examples: they are national persons all the birth groups, that is, reproduction groups, among men: the sexual-nutritious group (that is, one or more males, one or more females, and their children; at present the sexual-nutritious group takes the name of family); the ethnic group (that is the whole of all the individuals related genetically which, moreover, share the same customs and culture, and eventually the same language); they are social-collective persons all the groups made by free choice: a chess players club; a political party...

2. Empire

The total society or geopolitical community is also a person itself. It is a social-collective person, historically having its origin in the need for protection and defence in a permanent warlike environment. The first geopolitical communities are the first cities, the first polis: several ethnic groups met there to live in them:

  • geographically, in a given town space;
  • politically, ruled by one only ruling body (later it became the State), which acted as a manager of the whole community;
  • justicially, protected by one only peacemaking body (later it became Justice), well differentiated and separated from the ruling body.

In this way we find again, quite naturally, the word empire.

This word comes from latin imperium, and this from the verb imperare, which is made up by in + parare. Parare meant, in the first place, «to prepare, to get ready»; and imperare meant exactly «to take steps, to prepare so that something gets done». For this reason, the most original meaning of the word «empire» is that of «a collectivity which gets ready, which takes steps of inner organization and of outer defence», —even if later the meaning of imperare has evolved towards «to rule, to command»—.

We shall then disregard any ideologic prejudice, and we shall use the term of «empire» in the above-mentioned etymologic meaning, as synonymous with the expression «geopolitical community». We want to banish all the deprecatory connotations from this word, and use it simply as a previously well-defined technical word.

Empire has its origin, as we have said, in the need for protection and defence. To this end, several ethnic groups assemble freely in an empire, in a geopolitical community. To this end, the fundamental idea which explains the empire, is that of free fedaration agreement, in its two versions: federation in one only compact nucleus to face the outer dangers (or uni-extra-federation) and free domestic confederation, for the free organization of every ethnic group and of the relationship among themselves (or multi-inter-confederation).

The person born of this free pact is a social-collective person, made up of multiple communal persons —the ethnic groups federated in the empire—.

The two imperial bodies in charge of carrying out the goals of the empire are the political body and the justicial body. To them the collectivity delegates its authority, and entrusts the job of ruling, but within very exact limits. Out of these limits, every group can freely organize its activities and its civic institutions in a completely autonomous way.

If, in the course of time, the political body and the justicial body appear to be faithful and effective protectors of the imperial-collective person, it may happen that this, slowly, becomes a communal person, a nation, an ethnic group of a superior range than the groups which originally made it up, superimposing and accumulating itself on them but without destroying them.

This is the noble mission and calling of any empire. We need then avoid any confusion between empire and imperialism. What in an empire is an effective protection of all its members and research of a future nationalization, in imperialism, which is a deviation and degeneration of the empire, it is an exploitation of the majority on behalf of a few, with the complicity of the political and justicial bodies, become corrupted by the vice of power.

3. Utilitarian society and liberal society

We will now explain a very important differentiation in our conception of society. It is the distinction between utilitarian society and liberal society.

The utilitarian society[1]

In this Part Three, we shall understand for utilitarian society a whole made up by:

  • all the private persons —whether individual or collective ones— which, with an interested and egoistic actitude, acting only on their own behalf, dedicate themselves to the production or to the consumption of utilitarian goods. These persons are called productive and/or consuming personal forces, or production and/or consumption agents.
  • all the specific goods exchanged (whether produced goods or producing goods; see chapter 1).
  • all the monetary interrelationships among these persons concerning these goods: that is, sales relations on the one hand (sppliers) and purchase relations on the other hand (customers), whether it is produced goods or producing goods.

The utilitarian society is also called a market: we have already given its most accurate and operative definition, as a «collection of all the free elementary, monetary, changes». (see chapter 9); but, for the needs of this Part Three, we do not need the narrow definition, but the widest one we have just developed.

The liberal society

By liberal society we understand a whole made up by:

  • all the private persons —whether individual or collective— which, in an altruistic and unselfish actitude, without going after their own interest, dedicate themselves to the service of all the members of society, without exception;
  • all the services given by these persons, through the interpersonal relation and communication;
  • and all the remunerations that in justice, the geopolitical society decides to deliver to them so that they may live with dignity and develop their vocation with all the technical means within their reach.

The utilitarian and liberal vocations, activities, professions, institutions... differ radically among themselves as far as their motivations and objectives are concerned; but all of them are equally noble, legitimate and necessary to society.

From the acknowledgement of their radical difference are derived, however, important consequences: the main one is that at all costs must be avoided the mercantilization of the liberal society. Of the specific mechanisms which must avoid this situation, so frequent in our days, of confusion between utilitarian and liberal, we shall speak later.


1. In chapter 1 we have given the definition of utilitarian goods and of utilitarianism.