The human community is composed of the living, the dead and those still unborn. Each should have a place, for the individual is part of the community, not in virtue of any contract, but by the mere fact of birth. The rights of man and of the citizen are only abstractions of the mind. They are neither observable nor measurable. The needs of man are concrete and lie within the realm of experience. The role of society is to furnish each individual with the material and mental environment capable of satisfying his basic needs. The aim of society is to produce perfect human beings just as the aim of each individual should be to contribute to the formation of a perfect society.
Besides natural needs, there are artificial ones whose non-satisfaction neither injures man nor slows down his progress. Nevertheless, every individual has an innate tendency to satisfy certain of his real needs in an exaggerated way: for example his need for freedom, nourishment, security or rest. In order not to degenerate, man should only satisfy his needs in the measure allowed by the three great laws of life.
Individuals differ in sex and age and in mental and physiological aptitudes. Some are made to think and others to act. Others, again, have an innate gift for leadership while many cannot govern even themselves. The observation of men shows that two types of association exist universally. The associations of the first type are composed of heterogeneous but complementary elements. They resemble those of the organs in the living body. They are called organismic associations. Examples of these are the natural community formed by father, mother and children, the primitive village or the family group which works its land in common. Industrial enterprise would be greatly benefited by being transformed into an organismic association.
Associations of the second type are composed of elements which are homogeneous and noncomplementary. They can be compared with associations of similar organs, such as brains, stomachs, hearts or hands. These are called organic associations. Their type is represented by a class of children, a regiment of soldiers, a trade union or a religious community. Organic groups are only useful if they cooperate with other organic groups to form a harmonious social organism. Any organic group which develops egotistically for itself alone plays the same role in the social body as a cancer in the human body.
Members of organismic and organic groups are equal only in the sense that they are all human beings. But they are unequal in inherited potentialities and acquired aptitudes. Nevertheless, the inequality of individual capacities and social functions does not entail an inequality of worth. The stomach and the rectum are just as indispensable as the brain or the eyes. All the organs depend on the heart and the heart depends on them. The workmen axe at the service of the employer just as the employer is at the service of the workmen. In an organismic community, the humblest work is no less noble than the highest. The success of a journey depends just as much on the engineer and the mechanic who made the airplane as on the expertness of the pilot.
Modern society is composed of a multitude of organismic and organic associations. Its disorder is due both to the lack of coordination of associations and institutions and to their weakness.
Every individual is a member of several organismic and organic groups. He belongs to tie family, the village and the parish and also, perhaps, to a school, a trade union, a professional society or a sports club. Thus a relatively small number of completely developed individuals can have a great influence on many community groups.
If, by the transformation of a sufficiently important minority through rational discipline, a community based on similarity or solidarity could transform itself, even partially, into a community of love, its success would be certain. One can see such a success in a family where great grandparents, grandparents, parents and children form a large group of extremely heterogeneous elements which are linked together by their complementary functions and their mutual affection. It would also be possible to see it in a village whose inhabitants abstained from mutual criticism and stopped detesting each other. If only employers and workmen would decide to obey the basic laws of life, the whole character of their relations would be transformed. Industrial enterprise, instead of being a battlefield for class warfare, would become an organismic community based on solidarity and love. Its success would be assured for, if a man works badly under the influence of necessity and fear, his production increases in quality and quantity when he cooperates in an enterprise which belongs to him and to which he belongs. The success of collective life is conditioned by the social as well as the personal value of every individual.