The organization of nature with the characteristic hierarchic structure so evident in the biological realm, has suggested a similar structure in social organization.

All the factors which were seen to characterize hierarchic organization appear clearly in an analysis of social organization. (Fig. 202) The entity, immediately above that of the individual, is the family. Here, parents and children—as a grouping of entities of the same level form the principal part. The secondary part is made up of elements of the immediate environment, which are kept organized around this principal part, and as such are integrated in the new entity, the family. Housing, goods, even psychological factors, ideas and habits, characterize these added factors. A boundary formation is often much more visible than expected. Living quarters and common possessions are well delineated, and characterize the family. As expected, most of them are not considered to belong to an individual but the family as entity. "This is family property" is a common expression.

Almost always, numerous families are grouped in nearby dwellings, although this fact alone does not lead to the immediate superior entity, the community. When the group of families organizes together and limits certain possessions taken from the environment, as common to the group, the entity "community" appears. The principal part is made up of the group of families, the secondary by the material and even moral goods which are attached to the group of families in common. The community has properties which belong only to the community—streets, for example—as it has, by definition, a boundary. The limits of these social entities are well defined and these three factors—principal part, secondary added part from the environment and boundary—characterize these entities as they characterize the entities in the entire biological realm. The same pattern applies for the county where groups of communities form the principal part, and proper parts taken from the environment and common only to this new entity form the secondary part. This entity also is defined through its boundary. It is easy to see how through the same hierarchic pattern we pass from counties to states, nations, hemispheres and world which represent successively higher hierarchic entities. It is interesting to see how, in each one of these social entities, the same manifestations which we have found to characterize the biological entities also exist. The relationship between entities and especially many of their functions shows that the social entities are not artificial mental concepts, but are the result of the intervention of the same forces in which heterotropic organization opposes the lawless homotropy. It has appeared interesting to see how much of the knowledge of the physiological and especially the pathological manifestations of the lower entities, we can apply to understand manifestations occurring at the social hierarchic levels.

The social hierarchic organization follows the same pattern as the organization of matter

Fig. 202. The social hierarchic organization follows the same pattern as the organization of matter or of the biological realm. Each entity results from the bond of a group of lower entities with a secondary part taken from the environment and limited by a proper boundary.

Under this aspect, sociology finds a new basis not only for the analysis of many of its problems, but can have an insight to how nature, through its own organization, has tried and often succeeded in resolving problems. With the concept of unity in all organization, from subatomic to social entities, we can understand how the evolution of the environment, represented by material and intellectual goods, can produce changes in social entities. The concept of higher social entities, organized so as to conserve the characteristics of the lowest social entities, gives a new aspect to the relationship between individual, family and society. A science of social physiology can be created by systematizing hierarchic social entities much as we did for entities in the biological realm. The same approach can be applied to social pathology and social therapy as well. Such an approach, will be the subject of other presentations.