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9 Ways Social Harmony is Preserved

Updated: 6 days ago

A police riot vehicle.

Synopsis by Mr. Ogbule Chibuzo Isaac

"9 Ways Social Harmony is Preserved" is a philosophical analysis of the mechanisms that maintain social harmony within constructs. It explores the dichotomy between law and freedom, enforcement mechanisms, shared beliefs, incentives and disincentives, conformity and stress, fear as a tool, deception and critical thinking, shame as teaching and control, and collective claims and individual achievements.
The article highlights the importance of balancing individual desires and societal needs, arguing that social constructs should not be viewed solely as limitations but as frameworks that offer belonging, purpose, and protection. A well-functioning society should balance these competing forces, allowing for individual flourishing within a system of shared values.
The article calls for a balanced approach to social harmony, prioritizing moral methods and individual health while fostering a cohesive society. This ongoing dialogue between individual and collective needs is essential for the evolution of just and effective social systems.

Introduction: Maintaining Harmony in Social Constructs

There are many ways a social construct maintains its harmony. However, not all of these ways are entirely positive or entirely negative. Some methods are neither good nor bad, but simply inherent, and their impact depends on the specific social construct.

Either way, for an idea to be powerful, it needs not only for people to have faith in. It also needs to be enforced. Otherwise, it will grow ineffective. Therefore, enforcement holds both a philosophical and functional value.

The Double-Edged Sword of Social Constructs

Social constructs, in the form of written and unwritten rules and ideas that shape societies, play a complex and multifaceted role in maintaining harmony. Here's a breakdown of their methods, highlighting the positive and negative aspects:

1. The Law: Freedom and Order

Social constructs create legal systems, and not only norms and traditions. These systems provide a framework for freedom by defining acceptable behavior. However, they also require submission to those rules. The law can reward citizens who follow it and punish those who break it, creating a sense of order. Freedom in society therefore cannot be absolute.

2. Enforcement Mechanisms: Maintaining Functionality

Social constructs establish organizations like police and courts to enforce laws. This ensures the population functions smoothly and obeys the established rules. There are, however, less legitimate forms of "enforcement" such as the "fashion police", which "enforces" through compliance and through herd mentality. It's faulty for the same reason following trends can be faulty.

Therefore, not all functionality is logical, productive or even moral in some cases, like with North Korea.

3. Shared Beliefs: Cohesion and Control

Social constructs develop shared ideas like religion, culture, norms, and ceremonies. These beliefs create a sense of social coherence but can also be used to control behavior and limit individual thought. Culture is not only to be enjoyed from, but to limit us for greater order.

As such, people may obey a flawed ethical system merely to conform. While it is considered moral, for example, to obey the law, it sometimes better, ethically, to break it.

4. Incentives and Disincentives: The Carrot and the Stick

Social constructs incentivize desired behaviors through rewards like social status or material possessions. Conversely, they discourage unwanted behaviors through punishments like social exclusion or legal sanctions. This applies even in democracies, though to a lesser extent.

Some people, by their verdict of being, will likely to be excluded more in comparison to people who are less unique. Therefore, uniqueness is a double-edged sword, in many societies that prefer mediocrity over the experssion of more-distintinct individuals. Ironically, they hinder their own meritocratic potential.

5. The Pressure to Conform: Stress and Isolation

Social constructs can create pressure to conform, leading to stress for individuals who don't fully align with the expectations. Conversely, opting out of social life can also lead to stress and isolation.

It is unrealistic to expect from general society the long term effects of stress on our mental and physical health. That is even though we may sacrifice much of our personal health to conform and to please people Therefore, stress reduction is a personal responsibility.

6. Fear as a Tool: Maintaining Order and Shaping Behavior

Fear of legal repercussions, social disapproval, or even exclusion can be used to encourage obedience and maintain harmony. However, this fear can extend to unhealthy levels, creating phobias or social anxieties. Whether we're aware of it or not, we have the right to resist our fears. 

Either way, we can see a trend here, of the conflict between social cohesion and individual health. For its use of fear and coercion, partial abstinance from general society, unfortunately could be the moral thing to do for the long-term health of our bodies and minds.

After all, society does not work effectively on the reduction of the natural possibility of trauma between human beings. Additionally, using fear as a tool could be traumatic by itself, as fear plays a role on the development of post trauma.

7. Deception and Partial Truths: Limiting Critical Thinking

Social constructs can present information selectively or even create false narratives to maintain control under ulterior motives. This can discourage critical thinking and independent thought, even in democracies.

A less crictically-thinking populace is one that is more-easily manipulated, thus leading to an opportunity to increase one's powerbase. This in turn leads to greater corruption, justified, and even backed by a docile population.

Therefore, while the philosopher encourages critical thinking, the politican encourages herd mentality. Behind their supporters' backs of course. Deception allows you to give you the delusion that you are freerer than you actually are, as you submit to your confirmation bias and affiliation bias, to agree with it.

8. Shame: A Tool for Teaching and Control

Shame can be used to discourage undesirable behaviors and set examples for others. However, it can also be used excessively, leading to social ostracization and psychological damage.

Shame can also be used to scapegoat individuals for the sake of maintaining power structures, by uniting against a common enemy, whether real or imaginary. Due to its contribution to the development and reinforcement of the victim's mentality, shaming should be an immoral tool to use, however effective it may be.

For a healthier society, we should work for better harmony. One that improves psychological safety, not takes it away. We can cooperate better without the need to take away each other's health so often.

9. Collective Claims: Sharing Credit

Social constructs may take credit for individual achievements, promoting a sense of shared success. While this can strengthen the group, it can also downplay individual contributions. This is mainly true in sports and international competitions such as the olympics.

Conclusion: The Negotiation Between Individual and Society

By understanding these diverse methods, we can better appreciate the complex interplay between social constructs and individual freedom, as well as be wary of it. Social constructs create a framework for order and cooperation, but this framework can sometimes come at the expense of individual expression, autonomy and health.

However, to view social constructs solely as limitations is a simplification. They also offer a sense of belonging, shared purpose, and protection.

A well-functioning social construct finds a balance between these competing forces, allowing individuals to flourish within a system of shared values. Additionally, it would work using the Occam's Razor: Choose morally-good methods to achieve its aims while also sparing itself the reduntant investment of resources. Health is also a resource, a limited one.

The important takeaway is that social harmony is not a static state, but rather a constant negotiation between individual desires and societal needs. This ongoing dialogue is what shapes the evolution of social constructs and could pave the way for a more just and future, the same as it could lead to straight-out oppression.

If you enjoyed reading this article, consider visiting my online book shop, and thanks for reading thus far.

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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