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The Story of Everything: A Synopsis of The Urantia Book


Paper 69: Primitive Human Institutions


Long standing human social groups tend to culminate in institutionalization. Human institutions minister to social needs in three general classes.

Institutions of self-maintenance
grow out of hunger and self-preservation; they include industry, property, and war for gain.

Institutions of self-perpetuation
grow out of sex hunger, maternal instincts and the higher emotions, and comprise home-building, marriage customs, education, religion, and war for defense.

Institutions of self-gratification
grow out of vanity and pride; these embrace dress customs, war for glory, dancing, amusements, and games.

Poverty is man's natural estate; wealth springs from labor, knowledge, and organization. Primitive men disliked hard work, but the necessity of labor was early man's greatest blessing because it stimulated effort and industriousness. Primitive divisions of labor evolved based on sex, age, religion, and physical and mental endowments.

The first traders were women. The beginnings of trade and industry inspired innovations such as weights, units of barter, and the art of writing for keeping trade records; the first human literature was a salt advertisement. New ideas were carried around the world by traders. Commerce, linked with adventure, led to exploration and discovery, improved methods of communication, the birth of transportation, and cultural cross-fertilization. People began to store food and other goods for future use. Military organization stemmed from the desire to protect and increase individual and group wealth.

Fire was a great civilizer of early humans. Fire made evening social intercourse more pleasant and enabled people to stay on the ground at night. It protected against cold and wild beasts, and was thought to protect against ghosts. People learned to be watchful and dependable by keeping watch over the family hearth. Fire led to cooking, opened the door to metal-working, and led to the eventual discovery of steam power and electricity. Andon did not worship fire, but many of his descendants regarded it as a fetish.

Humans learned to protect themselves from animals, then to domesticate them and put them to work. Men herded animals to insure a food supply. Animals that were easily tamed and that bred well in captivity were chosen for selective breeding. The first domesticated animal was the dog, which for ages was used for food, hunting, transportation, and companionship.

Slavery was an indispensable link in the chain of human civilization. Slavery temporarily created culture and social achievement. It enforced human industriousness and gave origin to the beginnings of government. Early slavery represented an advancement in mores from the times when prisoners were eaten, tortured, or sacrificed.

Primitive society was communal. The tribe owned all property, including women, tools and weapons. Among the first personal possessions were utensils, charms, sleeping spaces, and water holes. Communal life gave way to the concept of private property. The private ownership of property has been the nucleus of government, law, order, civil rights, peace, and happiness.

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