From the egalitarian to the class societies

P A R T  1

On one hand, primitive societies, archaic, without civilization, without classes, without authority, without state, without writing, without history or evolution.
On the other hand, developed societies, with civilization, with classes, with authority, with state, with writing, with history and evolution.

Communities with state do not constitute the evolutionary climax of the human societies, nor the egalitarian communities constitute a primary stage of such a linear process. There are no facts revealing an obvious or deterministic evolution from the egalitarian to the class societies. Furthermore, as indicated by the complex and demanding rules and traditions of the egalitarian communities, these communities are not lacking either civilization nor social structure, unless we equate civilization and social structure with the state and the authority.
State and authority though, constitute a type of social structure established upon the coercion that few people put on the most, either by force or other means. If for us coercion does not constitute some important human achievement, or even more if in coercion we recognize the origin of major sufferings burdening people’s lives, this means that we should value as more civilized a society that rejects it.
Such an evaluation matches the aspect of S. Freud according to which the origin of the human civilization stands on the choice of equality and the development of rules-taboos targeting on the minimizing of antagonism and violence in the community, ensuring that no one shall be able to impose on others his will on the sharing of food and mating [S. Freud, Totem and Taboo].
Therefore, the existence of societies with state and authority, does not occur as a demand coming from the people and the civilization, and we should look elsewhere for its origins.

In Society against the state, Pierre Clastres mentions a vast diversity of community organizing types by the American indigenous people, as recorded through the past 500 years. Nomad societies, cultivators, warlike or peaceful, few membered or numerous, without state and authority, or with state and authority. These diversities had been existing irrespective of the technological development level, which had been common to all of these societies.
Therefore, societies with state and authority, are not a product of the development of technologies, since tribes that have achieved similar technologies are in some examples organized in states while in other examples they abhor authority by all means.

Levi Strauss in Anthropology confronts the problems of the modern world, mentions that humanity, by the 99% of its time and while occupying the ¾ of the habitable space, lived while been organized in societies that had developed any possible way to protect themselves from the possible formation of inequalities and authorities, ensuring at the same time balance and sustainability. In this extended time and space of the humanity it would be awkward not to acknowledge the presence of history, social evolution or social innovation.
It could be expected though, even if all facts were available, not to be capable of acknowledging and admiring such procedures while looking through the cultural perception filters of the modern human. Human innovation, however, along with history and evolution, could happen, and have been happening, in many ways fully diverse from the quantitative values which exclusively our perception is treated to perceive.
We might be able, up to a point, to perceive the particular qualities of these values, if we read the facts given by the egalitarian societies, having first eliminated any possible arrogance we carry been the literate “civilized” inheritors of the Athens Democracy and the European Enlightenment.

History, as well as social evolution and innovation, do not exist as products of the societies with state and authority. On the contrary, as described by the fables, social innovation impersonated in Prometheus is chained by State and Violence. This fable stands at the opposite of our perceptions, while implying that, the state and the authority bound the social innovation’s development for their benefit. Meaning that, any history and evolution is produced by this bounded social innovation, is consumed by the vital need of authority and state for strengthening and dominance, feeding the vicious circle of magnification and catastrophe that defines modern societies.

Thus, through a different cultural view, it is the modern societies that do not produce human history and evolution while been trapped to a behavior similar to the one of ant colonies trying to dominate and expel other colonies. Ants, for sure, in order to dominate do not develop technologies and do not increase their financial sizes, but instead are completely depended on the slow evolution of their biological features.
On the other hand, human states and authorities, having in their control the social innovations, develop extracorporeal potentials, all kinds of quantitative sizes, technologies and tools, and this in an amazingly fast and constantly accelerating pace, in order to achieve at the end the same as the ants do: magnification and catastrophe.

Knowing that as a species we excelled through the development of practices that show despise towards enforcement and domination, having followed a course that developed a vast diversity of features and civilizations, we could acknowledge in our present state not simply some diverse version of the human evolution, but instead an unaltered situation, a non-evolution, non-history, and a dead-end that doesn’t match to a human civilization.

The societies we are accustomed to, prosper by destroying the environment, other societies, and parts of themselves, destruction that takes place in absolute ratio to the size of the prosperity they produce. The kind of society that succeeded all over the planet, imposes that any nugget of technology and luxury a human enjoys has its ratio in mizery been imposed to another human living near or far, and to the resources been taken from future generations.
State and authority thus, not only do not add to the quality of the human evolution, but, to the contrary, bound its potentials and lead it to a deadlock quantitative antagonism for growth or destruction, similarly to being themselves, the State and the Authority, creatures fatal and unconscious.

The submission of the social innovation to state and authority is by far the only way for our societies to create history and evolution. This is supported by our knowledge on the culture of Prometheus which existence is revealed to us by the technologically equipped, actively mercantile, and peaceful societies that survived at the islands of East Mediterranean Sea up to 4.500 years ago.
Since social innovation can be evolving free from the bounds of state and authority, we can conclude that it is neither the demand for “progress”, “history” or “evolution” that born and bred its own captors.

The development of the Intellect, contemplation, poetry and philosophical reason, is assigned to the class societies by a simplistic suggestion: since slaves produce enough to feed their masters, masters gain the ability to systematically, or even exclusively, devote themselves to contemplation. For sure, exclusive occupation on a mental activity possibly accelerates some particular mental functions, however, the outcome is most likely to be limited to the specific specialization that itself produces, along with the cultural context of the authoritarian society inside which it is produced.

On the other side, the “uncivilized” “savages” of the egalitarian societies limit their working day to approximately 2 to 4 hours [only in some extreme environments this reaches 7 hours]. They are aware that by increasing the working time one can obtain more goods, but this not only appears to be indifferent to them, but even more, dangerous. The development of the intellect inside an egalitarian social context produces kinds of poetic, philosophical or even scientific reason which we are having difficulties in recognising its value or use, since we are preoccupied by our own special cultural perceptions.
In our societies the polypragmon, inquisitive human of the past, has evolved to a minimum part of a huge machine, while at the same time, the intellectual demands for such a role are limited to minimum.

Authoritarian societies tend to subjugate the intellect to “functionality” and to the social devotion to enlargement-”development”, presenting the coercion of labor as a duty of all humans towards the society. Unfortunately, we are incapable of having knowledge on the intellectual achievements of the “Prometheus civilization”, and even more, on the implementation and the progress of these achievements if this civilization hadn’t ended by the violent manner the myths and the archeological findings suggest. Only then we would have been able to compare the two ways of social evolution.
Thus, we have no clues that suggest that, if the “Prometheus civilization” had the opportunity to evolve in its own manner wouldn’t invent achievements we -perhaps thoughtlessly- attribute to the “civilized”, authoritarian societies.

In any case, the fact that in authoritarian societies people of the intellect are separated from the people of labor, isn’t by far a worthy achievement, especially by the time we consider that this separation, is one more expression of the vicious circle antagonism-enlargement, in which constantly there is a world that flourishes and another world that is been destroyed.
Counter to this, in the egalitarian societies, on one hand, labor doesn’t exist as a consequence of coercion, but instead as a part of a communal activity, doubtlessly interacting in a creative manner with the intellect. On the other hand, the depreciation these people show towards wealth and obtaining goods, leaves to them plenty of free time for the development of qualities of the intellect that we are incapable to perceive.

Human intellect therefore, poetic, philosophical and scientific reason, does not exist as an exclusive privilege of those freed from labor, which they imposed by force on others, neither constitutes a creation or an evolutionary achievement of the authoritarian societies. On the contrary, it is this exact intellect, this evolutionary and cultural achievement that for thousands of years, millions as Strauss says, abolished domination and enforcement, and systematically prevented the development of antagonism and authority inside the communities.

In conclusion, of all the terms using “with” and “without” to distinct the egalitarian societies from the authoritarian, those that more accurately succeed this distinction are: with or without authority, with or without state, with or without classes.

P A R T  2

> Thus, there is still a question remaining to be answered:
Which overturn gave birth to the social classes, the state and the authority?

Since humanity’s fundamental achievement has been egalitarianism, which is maintained inalterable in few pushed aside societies, and second most important achievement has been the “Prometheus civilization” with the extended community networks from the Caspian to the Mediterranean Sea, how did the social classes occur?

With the available facts we can attempt a reconstruction of the preconditions, the randomness, and the sequences that birth class societies.
Some possible preconditions:
Community chauvinism, the desire of some specific tribes or persons for war, the productive use of war captives by some tribes, the increment of the population of some tribes and the networks of a large number of a tribe’s communities.[1]

Coercion, “authority” and authority
Pierre Clastres, in Society against the State, as most possible process for the forming of state and authority, suggests the increment of the population and the consequent distance between the leaders and magicians, and the control of the community.
This suggestion, though seemingly convincing, cannot explain the intrusion of coercion in a community. In the longest part of this book Clastres convincingly explains the way “authority” in egalitarian societies exists in a symbolic manner, self-defeating, like been needed only to remind of the importance of its abolishment.
Most important though, is that in egalitarian societies one can’t find any kind of social principle having the right of enforcement. A truly authoritarian principle seems to be inconceivable in egalitarian societies even for the multitudinous ones.
There is however a fact that could prove to be useful to our searching:
During war actions the formerly leader of the community becomes  a real commander gaining the right to impose his will upon the community members.

Seemingly, in egalitarian communities, the only chance for a commander to experience what we conceive of this word, from which he is thoroughly constrained in all other instances of the communal life, is during war.
To the environment of violence the egalitarian societies acknowledge and submit its equivalent: authority. However, even the most warlike tribes, do not care for constant warring, even if this is the goal of their leader, and therefore after the completion of war operations he returns, or he is constrained to the usual symbolic duties.
Therefore, it doesn’t seem possible for an ambitious commander, or for a warlike group of youth, to impose to their community conditions of constant war from which constant authority could burst, since communities resist such a possibility.

War, for some tribes, had been an important activity, especially for their younger members. The spectre of behaviors and rules related to war is so vast, similar to the ones related to mating. Holding captives had been one of the war activities consequences. For some tribes, war captives constituted titles of honor for their holders. In other tribes, the productive use of war captives had been another version of war activities consequence. The systematization of the productive use of captives, the establishment of slavery, the transmutation of human beings to productive herds, constitutes the peak invention that introduced coercion as the foundation of a new kind of society, the warring society. Tribute, similarly to slavery and coexisting with it, has also been a relevant invention and version of war activities consequence.  

The survival of a society that has turn war to a productive procedure and weapons to means of production, depends on its ability to maintain the necessary force in order to compel the subjugated populations. It also depends on its ability to grow its power in order to be able to protect itself or overrule other war societies. In this manner, the natural selection criteria, meaning the promotion of the stronger, intrudes into human societies, extends, and defines ever since our species’ evolution bounding it to the vicious circle that antagonism and growth together form. Ever since, human societies as in one body, seem like sea elephants which if they don’t manage to collect enough body mass they are in danger of been excluded from mating.

Constant war
The constant war in which a society transformed to an antagonistic beast fed by human flesh is bounded to, creates the need for leadership and authority to its interior. The coercion that such a society imposes to its subjugates, inevitably slips into the relations of its own members, since, on the one hand, violence is from this point on presented and acknowledged as a rule for social relations, while, on the other hand, authority and coercion [as military discipline] become the most effective tools in carrying out a mandatory and constant war.

P A R T  3

> Composing the elements

Rulers and vassals: two societies in one
We could state that, our societies, in unknown times and places organized themselves in classes of rulers and vassals, under the precondition that the first, both choose and have the ability to, compel the second. This statement, however, suggests that coercion has been magically assimilated by societies during their evolution towards a completion defined by the existence of classes, authority and state.

A social formation coming from war and enslavement shouldn’t be acknowledged as a single society but more as a social compound.
The ruling society during the first stages of their invention most likely preserve their totemic traditions, their marital and behavioral habits, even those that prevent the community principals transform to authoritarian. At the same time, as far as the ruling society concerns, the face of the subjugated to slavery or tribute, does not exist, vassals exist only as objects, as human herds.
The vassal societies, depending on the practices of the rulers, experience various amounts of catastrophe, in some cases facing complete erasure while in others, continuous exploitation. In some cases they preserve their traditions, even partly, while in other cases they are oppressed by all means of their human substance.

What we acknowledge as a single community constituted by rulers and vassals, is an arbitrary perception, based on the teaching that inside a society some may live while compelling and others while been compelled. What an amazing “progress” for humanity, knowing that for the “primitives”, the fundamental community rule is that coercion is not acceptable!

None of our modern “developed” societies constitutes a single community. Actually, each one of our societies consists of a total of communities constantly warring one another. Inside each one of our states, the dominant community, in the distant times imposed its will by force upon societies that became vassal, and maintains its authority by the exact same means: warring constantly with the vassal communities, and warring frequently with other rival states. Each of these dominant communities, one way or another, aims at its prosperity through the destruction of others.

Such an example is mentioned by Yuval Harari in Sapiens related to the social castes, the social restrictions and the social myths imposed by the conquering intruders in the Indian peninsula 3.000 years ago, in order to secure their longevity. This kind of social myths teach the “truth” of the submission of the “lower” castes, to the “superior” ones, presenting the total of these communities as a single society divided to classes by divine or natural laws.

Regardless of the amount of the changes, transformations, aggregations, reclassifications, and rebirths our societies carry behind them, the core of their functioning stands upon the invention of some humans that appeared sometime after the, so called, agricultural revolution: the use of weapons and war as means of production, and the transmutation of the peaceful -or less capable in war people- to human herds for exploitation.

The coincidence under which this invention occurred, probably relates to multiple factors, such as, the culture of the one or of the other tribe, the amount of produced surplus by one or the other tribe, the personality of specific people, and also randomness. In any case, whenever this invention dominated some area, thenceforth it imposed chain reactions. The consequences of these reactions relate mostly to the war antagonism introduced in these areas, which followingly demands the effective strengthening against rivals. If this strengthening proves to be inadequate, then, the prospects are either enslavement, or self-displacement and reproduction of this invention in other areas.

Through such an interpretation, the relocation of the greek tribes during the antiquity, towards the present area of Greece, and the enslavement of earlier habitats, might had been mandatory by previous forced displacement from their origins. While moving West they were carrying with them the knowledge of slavery and the new use of weapons. Followingly this knowledge was exported through colonization further towards the West, where the Etruscans and later on the Romans, proved to be the ideal successors.

It’s inappropriate to describe our societies as class societies, since their state does not relate to an inherent stratification coming from the development of each community. Even if anthropologists mention for some egalitarian communities the existence of stratifications, the concepts of coercion and violence, of the destruction of some for the benefit of others, had been, not simply unknown but more correctly, expelled by the cultural notion until one tribe enslaved another.

Therefore, the unique feature of our societies, that appears to be unchanged since its birth, is not simply the existence of classes, but instead the constant war and the continuous coercion that each dominant society acts against its vassals. Each of our complex societies consists of the society of those who compel and the society of those who are been compelled, the society of those who control the weapons as means of production and the society of those who are forced by those who control the weapons.

The existence of stratifications, castes and classes inside both the dominant and vassal communities, confuses the overall picture and creates the illusion of a single community constituted by classes. This, however, is completely misleading since, for humans, what forms a single society is the general avoidance of violence and coercion, especially the violence and coercion coming from the few towards the most. The very existence of this violence and coercion proves that we are totally mistaken considering our societies as single societies, and, even worse, for as long this illusion lasts, the vassals cannot develop the means to escape the narratives of their rulers. The narratives coming from the rulers, have been proven to be equally effective as their weapons, which however in any case they do not hesitate to use whenever their narratives prove to be insufficient.

Our societies are not single but complex, constituted by war communities forcing peaceful communities to live as their productive herds, achieving the well being of the first through the destruction of the second. Societies, regardless the fact that they might seemingly behave as beings themselves, they are still consisted of human beings that choose to behave in one or the other manner. Thus warring and ravenous societies are led by dominating and ravenous persons, while the peaceful ones by cooperative and peaceful persons. For us humans, one can not measure the degree that the tendencies towards rapacity or cooperativity constitute biological or cultural features. In any case though, human intellect, while having the ability of self-reforming, allows these tendencies to be modified even to their complete opposite.

P A R T  4

> Conclusions

  • Each “Class” society is a complex society led by one dominant community been in constant war with its vassals.
  • Every such dominant society develops mechanisms and behaviors similar to a being whose survivour depends on the constant strengthening against other similar “beings”.
  • Violence, war and coercion are fundamental choices of people that lead to the formation of the complex societies.
  • The prosperity that the choice of violence, war, and coercion, grants to the rulers, balances by their bound to a constant war against their vassals and their rivals.
  • The prosperity that the rulers grant themselves with, has an absolute equivalent in the catastrophe that their tributaries experience.
  • Having passed at least 4.000 years since the weapons and war were used for the first time as means of production, the clear picture of a complex society consisted of the ruling society and the vassal societies, has turned so complicated and purposely hidden by the rulers’ narratives, without however diverging the least from its fundamental values which are violence, war and coercion.

> Consequences

Besides the obvious catastrophe that dominants cause to their vassals, and frequently to themselves since inevitably some will be proved weak inside the competing arena they themselves form, some of the occurring consequences affect the whole of humanity and its evolution.
  • The ability of dominant communities to maintain depends on their ability to strengthen and grow. Mandatory growth through the use of the social innovation that rulers control, has formed a universal social environment that sooner or later will have to face the exhaustion of the natural resources.
  • In many occasions, boundaries set by the environment can be exceeded by the use of science and technologies that the rulers control, with unknown, however, consequences for both dominants and vassals.
  • The evolution of human species shows contradictions since, regardless that, at least for the dominants, average age seems to have increased, on the other hand the brain volume of humans seems to have decreased through the last 10.000 years. Throughout all these years the most human of all our features, the ability to use language in order to form cooperative networks, has been replaced by a simple mechanism of receiving and executing orders.

> Opportunities

As Harari mentions in Sapiens, human is a being that moved from the middle of the food chain to the top, without having the time to readjust to this change. Humans are now stronger than lions but continue to behave like terrified chimps, and this makes us extremely dangerous. Respectively, neither lions, nor chimps, nor any other being didn’t have the time to readjust to this sudden move of the humans from the middle of the food chain to its top.

  • Through the interscientific perception of the universe we have the means to comprehend our world, ourselves, our past, and the existing potentials is forming our future. In a great amount, as humans we are what we teach ourselves to be, while at the same time, we can become what we choose to become.
  • It is worthless to defend hypothetical achievements of people and societies in case that survivour through war had not prevailed. At the same time though, it is completely arbitrary to reject the idea that some egalitarian societies would find the way to offer wonderful achievements to people, while leading our societies to totally diverse directions. In any case, from where we now stand, we can work for the liberation of Prometheus, meaning the liberation of the social innovation from the bounds put by the dominant societies, and the rejection of coercion as a way of coexisting, developing at the same time our abilities in cooperation and mutual understanding.


[1] As Strauss mentioned in Anthropology confronts the problems of the world, the word race is not accurate for describing an autonomous community and should be used in a wider context since, genetic factor falls behind the cultural factor as far as defining the marital rules and the genetic aggregations.


… We have no facts whether people had rights of property on land. Most likely land belonged to the community. Neolithic herds of domestic animal should have been small sized. The responsibility for the breeding probably burdened all the community. ...
Neolithic settlements in Greece, 8.500-5.000 years back. High school 1st grade History course.

… Almost in all Cycladic islands, archaeological diggings brought to light settlements, not extended, built 5.000 years ago. Each settlement appears having been developing autonomously and there was no kind of central authority. Originally these settlements were formed close to the sea or the sides of low hills. At about 4.300 years ago, some settlements become fortified (Aghia Eirini, Kea island), others are destroyed and rebuilt with fortifications (Fylakoti, Milos island) , and others are built on higher hills away from the sea (Kastri, Syros island). …
The Cyclades during the Bronze Age, 5.000-3.000 years ago. High school 1st grade History course.

The civilization that flourished during late Neolithic and early Bronze Age in the area between the Black and the Caspian Sea, at the valley of river Kura, had been trading products of pottery from Caucasus to Mesopotamia, Levant and Asia Minor. Later on products of metallurgy were spread to the river systems of Volga, Dnieper and Don.

... From about 900 B.C. Assyrian kings sent out their armies to conquer new lands. Over 300 years Mesopotamia and lands further to the east and west became part of an Assyrian empire. Conquering foreign cities brought wealth.
Regions which had been conquered by the Assyrian army had to pay tribute to the king every year. If they rebelled against his rule, or refused to give tribute, the king would lead his army against them.
There were few armies who could defeat the Assyrians as they were well trained and they had good weapons.  ...

… At least since the Classic antiquity, Spartans were by far outnumbered by Helots. …

… Ship records make it possible to estimate the number of slaves transported from Africa to the Americas and the Caribbean, from the 16th Century until the trade was banned in 1807 - and the figure is about 12.5 million people. …  

... However, we find it hard to accept that king Agamemnon, or any other hero of the Iliad, while behaving as a dominant can be a decorated and armed, standing chimpanzee, or any other decorated and "stately" animal.
Accordingly though to what we've mentioned up to now, we oppose this idea not because it is not true, but because, if we accept that it is true the whole system of perceptions built through centuries of domination systems shall collapse. And then, if this reality reveals to us, we will start to see as standing chimpanzees decorated with ornaments, many more of the dominants and important ones through centuries,  those of who we have been taught to acknowledge as superior, to admire them, applaud, praise, and to follow the urge to be like them, if we haven't already. Especially now that the electronic media present live to us countless figures of this kind, both men and women, trying the most to amaze as.
This is exactly one of the goals of this book: to contribute to the collapse of such perceptions of superiority, that for thousands of years we're been taught by all these, decorated or not, dominants and officials of the domination systems. …

Homer’s epics have been teaching for 3.000 years that the civilization of war is the only possible condition for the human societies. The importance of the king and authority is presented in these epics in a consummate and glorifying manner.
Studying the history of the Greek city-states, the similarities and the differences, we may acknowledge in great amount of detail the struggle inside them to maintain the egalitarian rules that were carried deeply in their traditions.

The story of Athens shows a great interest since, when the war period for the survival of the tribe ended by the establishment in the specific land area, the kingdom ended and there were continuous attempts to bring back egalitarian rules in social relations. Attempts doomed, however, since their society would be ever since bounded to war with the communities of its enslaved and vassals. Their society was also bounded to constantly pursuing strength to successfully confront its rivals. The endup is known and, regardless the dominant narratives that blind and mislead us, it is always the same: catastrophe.