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The Human

Person in
Society
WHAT IS SOCIETY?
Have you ever pondered how your world has defined
you? Have you ever thought about your place in this
world and among the people you interact with every
day? Have you ever reflected on how your presence has
affected the world and people around you?
The human person exists to relate with others. The
person is by nature a social being because he or she has
a tendency to go out of himself or herself to form bonds
and relationships with others.
Throughout a person's life, he or she experiences a
variety of relationships that help shape him or her as a
person. As we grow into adulthood, our relationships
and responsibilities also change because we play more
significant roles in the communities we live in. 2
Our freedom gives us the opportunity to pursue various
activities to achieve our goals and attain well-being or
happiness. As we live our lives and expand our
experiences, we also encounter other people who are
acting in similar ways. However, the pursuit of our
goals is made easier by the fact that we do not need to
do our activities alone, that we can live our life and
pursue our happiness with other people by other people
by our side.

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The tendency to form groups is not
exclusive to human beings. other
animals also form groups for mutual
protection an survival.

Humans, however, are the only beings


capable of establishing a SOCIETY,
which is an organized group of people
whose members interact frequently
and have a common territory and
culture. Society also refers to a
companionship or friendly association
with others, an alliance, a community,
or a union
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Society and its various aspects provide
supports that ensures the development of the
human person. For instance, your education
first starts at home with your family members
teaching you the rudiments of speech, reading
and writing. This education continues and is
further developed as you go to school and
interact with other children, your teachers, and
other people in the school.
Society also provides you opportunities to
further your growth in the coming years. An
evident influence of society on individuals is
the emergence of specific traits and
characteristics unique to a certain society
which are manifested by its members. For
example, we Filipinos values our ties with
family members. This is seen in our practice
of taking care of our elderly family members. 5
THE SOCIAL
CONTRACT THEORY

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Enlightenment philosophers such as
Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Jean Jaqcues
Rousseau were among the most prominent
social theorists who tackled the origins of
human society. To fully understand the true
character of society, they imagined humans
as living in a so called "natural state,"
removed from modernity and civilization.

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• For Thomas Hobbes, persons in their
natural states are governed by their desires
and these often conflict with their
fellowmen. Society, therefore is the means
by which people seek to control their
natural tendencies and impose order.
Individuals who establish societies enter
into "social contract"- an agreement where
individuals sacrifice an amount of their
freedom and submit to a higher authority.
in this way, society is able to function and
meet the needs of the many, ensuring the
survival of humanity.

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John Locke proposed his own ideas on
the social contract with a different
assumption. Unlike Hobbes, Locke m

considered persons in their natural


state as more cooperative and
reasonable, and that society is formed
through the consent of the individuals
that organized it.This concept is
known as consent of governed.
Locke's social contract is a covenant
among individuals to cooperate and
share the burden of upholding the
welfare of society.
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Jean Jacques Rousseau's ideas on the
social contract led him to advocate the
concept of "general will." Rousseau
believed that even if the people are the
ones who organized society and
established an authority or
government, in extreme cases, the
government is able to impose its will
on people. this is based on the
assumption that the people have
empowered the government to act on
their behalf, and that it is considered to
be the best judge of what is most
beneficial for society. 10
John Rawls redefined the social contract and
explained that human beings approach social
cooperation in a rational manner in order to meet
their individual self-interests. Rawls introduced a
version of the natural state which he called the
original position to explain social formation. He
imagined humans as having a "veil of ignorance," or
no knowledge of one's own characteristics such as
gender, race or social status. In this state, humans
would naturally seek a just and fair society in an
effort to look out for their own interests.
David Gauthier described people's self-interest as a significant
factor building and maintaining societies. People choose to
cooperate since it is beneficial to meet their self-interests. But
this selfish interest benefits society as a whole, since the
actions of individuals in meeting their individual needs also
further the interests of the other members of society.

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Although there are variations on the social
contract theory, perhaps one common feature
they all have is the fact that the different
individuals enter into a kind of agreement
with one another to form a society. Individual
members put aside their self-interest to create
a community where they may live in
harmony with others. It is important to note
that in a society, one is not compromised for
the sake of the other: the individual is not in
any way violated for the sake of the
community and vice versa.
It is important to note that society is founded on
the concept of the common good. Philosophers
who discussed origins of society traced the
emergence of society to the human desire to
achieve the goal of survival. Apart from this,
human beings are compelled to come together,
establish relationships with each other, and work
together as a united group because of the natural
desire for goodness. Our nature as human
persons drives us to do what is good, and we
recognize that other persons also desire goodness
as well.
Hunting and Gathering Society
Societies that rely primarily or exclusively on hunting wild animals, fishing,
and gathering wild fruits, berries, nuts, and vegetables to support their diet.
Until humans began to domesticate plants and animals about ten thousand
years ago, all human societies were hunter-gatherers. Given the close
relationship between hunter-gatherers and their natural environment,
hunting and gathering tribes such as the Bushmen and the Pygmies may
provide valuable information for anthropologists seeking to understand the
development of human social structures. Recognized as the earliest and
simplest form of society.
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