New major thesis statement:  Before there can be a disagreement, there first must be an agreement.

The issue of unity:  Anthropology and political theory both focus heavily on the problem of group unity.  That issue is not of direct concern here.  Not so much how humans are united or divided among themselves is the issue; rather how they are united or divided within themselves is my question.  The issue of inner "alienation," or split in the individual personality, has appeared more out of Hegelian and post-Hegelian philosophy than out of behavioral science and political theory.  The biggest issue of our day, and the one that occupieds much of my own thinking, is race.   Where race is concerned my approach is the same.  No special attention is given to what things and symbols cause people to identify with this or that race.  A lot of discussion regarding race in this sense can be found lately on the internet.  My immediate lack of interest in white unity puts me, on the other hand, outside the mainstream of "racial" thinkers.  Human beings are divided among themselves because of what divides the individual person within himself.  To understand this division it is necessary to view the whole spectrum of human evolution, wherein humans learned of weapons and turned these weapons against themselves and others.    What concerns me is the "alienated" state of mind that has come about through millenia, perhaps since the European Paleolithic, wherein tools--essentially, weapons--have come to dominate human relationships.  As leveraged violence, weapons have brought about a human condition wherein small acts of intimidation, such as occur daily in what I have called the ritual of baboon fascism, into major social chaos.  This chaos is obvious even today in Africa. 

The word society may be defined, simply, as animal group life (consisting of individuals) that is organized; and whose organization is formed and directed towards some purpose.  (We do not need to specify what purpose this is.)  Human society is usually--but we don't have to say always--three things:  it's animal life in general; it's human-specifically force-abjuring; it's  human-specifically force-leveraged.  When we talk about human society, then, and distinguish this society from that of animals, it is force that is the central issue.  Some kind of force, whether this be the force of personality and physical strength or the force of pure physical causality, is what makes a mere aggregation of individuals a society.  This principle holds true of physics; some force--gravitational pull, centrifugal motion--is what causes a molecule to cohere and what sets the molecule's elements in motion.   Also, when we talk of some human principle that is universally recognized in social theory, such as equality and inequality, we mean essentially equality and inequality in force.  We may insert here some brief criticism of communism as a social theory:   no real significance can be found, for purposes of social theory,  in the inequality of possessions among human beings:  only the social force implied in these possessions is socially meaningful.   Socialist thinking falters, finally, on this basic assumption.  Thus follows that when we talk of equality and inequality of possessions we mean exclusively the equality or inequality of human force that possessions bestow--the force that permits some humans to coerce the behavior of others.  Originally, at the level of early agriculture, the possession of weapons by some persons allows them to enslave others. 

We may also consider the example of marriage.  In marriage the equality of man and woman are an equality of force.  Through the Rule of Thumb individual details of the marriage contract are worked out.  But there is no way other than in the issue of force that man and woman can be equal; being as they are so different in every way, the question of their equality or inequality is simply imponderable.  Marriage is a promise, made in public, that neither will hit another with an object larger than the length of a thumb.  More than that marriage is a concoction of vague assertions and unsupportable conditions, always differing from culture to culture, that would be unenforcable.  Agreements and contracts throughout the length and breadth of society are like this:  they are inevitably vague and unenforcable. Lawyers and judges struggle with them with no final satisfaction from any party; legal decisions are often arbitrary.  What agreements have in common, if they are finalized agreements--either in the form of a handshake or a written contract specifying a third party--is that violence through weaponry is abjured.  We may go on to consider an issue one step further:  can an entire society be considered an agreement?  We will answer no.

What unites human beings as humans is in the first place an agreement.   That there is an agreement does not presume that the parties to an agreement "like" one another; this is true even in marriage.   An agreement is simply a passive coexistence, wherein humans proclaim only that they will tolerate one another because they recognize their  coexistence has some positive result.  And furthermore the agreement, as signed, signaled and finalized, stipulates that no force--weapons--will be used in the event of disagreement (dis-agreement) among the parties.  Such an agreement might be called a ritual, one of abjuring force and weapons.  Europeans as the world's most technological, weapon-oriented people, have evolved the most ritualized relationships:  these relations are in displaying, concealing and abjuring weapons. Human relations in general, and European (white) relations in particular, have been reduced over time to agreements:  marriage, the simple understanding finalized by a handshake--these are what orient people in their everyday lives. 

But all these fleeting agreements can be understood by reference to the underlying factor of weaponry.   The agreement as I have defined the word, and as constitutes the formal relations among our people, is simply the abjuring of weapons.  This all will be explained.  The Rule of Thumb, the handshake, the salute (the gesture that raises the helmet that conceals the face)--these are the basic rituals of our (Europeans') existence.  A meeting, even a casual meeting, is likely to be begun and ended by a handshake:  that indicates that the meeting is more than a occupation of common space, and animal signaling:  the meeting is essentially turned into an agreement.    But of greatest importance is the connection that the human being sustains within himself; the human being virtually becomes a "legal entity, or a promise to abjure weaponry and force in human relationships. 

Stages of the history of culture:  from Rule of Thumb to the handshake:
Inequality that does not exist outside the man-woman relationship is transformed, through marriage, to an equality that does not exist outside the man-woman relationship.  Men as hunters had weapons; women did not, as a group.  This and the fact that life in earliest times was more or less desperate gave males an inordinate advantage in arguments with women.  Language, promises and "agreements" equalized this relationship.  Now, marriage is humankind's first "agreement."  At issue is the form of inequality that human beings have, forthwith, at their earliest possession of weapons and the fact, inevitably, that some humans will have better weapons than others.  Rousseau alluded to this technics-inspired inequality:  he says that "in a state of nature," that is a weaponless state in our terms,  one human being, threatened by "slavery," can just walk away from his captor.   There is nothing complicated about this equasion.   We suggest that it is technics, the fact that some humans possess superior technics, and that human beings as masters can organize themselves around technics, that makes slavery (in our sense) possible.  Such organized slavery--as organized society itself--appeared as populations became more settled, or more warlike and mobile as the case may be.  But through these complex undulations, with a population rising to dominance and another falling, the marriage vows have, since the beginnings of language and promises, a steady thread of equality that spanns, finally, all human history.

The Rule of Thumb, codified in British common law, stipulates that a man shall not hit his wife with an object larger than his own thumb.  Such a formulation suggests clearly what marriage is:  it is an abjuring of the use of weapons in the relationship.  Through history the provisions of marriage have changed and differ from one culture to another.  What has remained the same, however, is that violence in settling disputes between man and woman is expressly forbidden.  The details of a marriage contract are vague often to the point of total obscurity; these details are seldom understood by people entering the contract.    This difference between the marriage vow and contracts in general has been widely noted.  On the other hand, domestic battery remains among the most serious of crimes and the one most punished.  The point to be emphasized here, though, is not so much the obscurity of marriage vows as that the Rule of Thumb, as it is called, exists by virtue of the protected authority of the "public in general," or society.  Unlike civil matters, where no criminal action can be filed, the protection that the woman (in particular) is afforded in a domestic relationship is in the hands of society in general.  And society will meet out punishment that will force the equality of male and female with respect to force and violence.

New major thesis statement:  Richard Swartzbaugh's theory of agreements states:  "Before there is a disagreement, there first must be an agreement."

An agreeement between two males is, like marriage, primarily in the abjuring of force to settle differences.  JJ Rousseau spoke in vague terms of a "Social Contract" between humans and their respective government; we on the other hand, in viewing agreements between specific individuals and involving small issues, may be more to the point.  This small agreement is finalized by the handshake between its principals.  Earlier we spoke of marriage.  But, whereas the Rule of Thumb is a provision enforced by the public in general, the handshake symbolizes that both parties to the agreement have checked each other; neither has found a weapon in the hand of the other.  So, in other words, the agreement is just between these two individuals. Such agreements would have to be the rule among hunters; in their society--because any leader of such a group would be himself a hunter on a particular hunt, and have a vested interest in the hunt would be disqualified as a "third party."  Such agreements are still an everyday matter for the majority of human beings everywhere; no society could function without such agreements.  Finally the issue at hand is as we shall see is that, precisely in a society where physical, man-made weapons create an inequality unlike the inequality of any animal society, an agreement on the other hand establsihes an equality unlike the equality of any animal society

A contract may be added to the agreeement to strengthen the agreement.  What the contract means is that force is still an option to enforce terms of a contract; but the force is held "outside" the contract by neither of the principal parties.  The outside party we call the third party; and this third party is expressly commissioned, by a provision of the first agreement, to enforce this agreement.  A more detailed account of this proceedure is provided by Otto Gierke in his work on the Social Contract thinkers. [cite]   A contract suggests that both principal parties feel that,  though they have checked one another (through the handshake) for weapons, the two of them feel the need for a "present force"; there is here an escalated feeling of distrust between the parties.  The contract implies not simply a symbolic abjuring of force of weapons, as in the handshake, but an actual relegation of force to a third party.  I have elsewhere spoken of a community of baboons, and referred to them as exemplary fascists.  Actually baboons evolved in the same environment--the open spaces of African savannah--as did the ancestors of homo sapiens.  Unprotected and open to attack these animals became instinctively social in a general way that humans are social.  But there is more.  Baboons never did devise weapons.  Thus if baboons are "fascist" their fascism carries them only so far as their physical and personal traits carry them:  the bigger and stronger prevail to dominate the group.  With humans it is different.  Human beings carry weapons which leverage the personal violence and strength of the individual.  Human groupings are structured around this physical, artificial violence; and the groups made possible through leveraged violence of weapons are immense by comparison to those of baboons.  What I call baboon fascism is the primal condition of humanity, it is something humans still have and must not be discarded, upon penalty of denying human biological heritage and all the instinctive wisdom this heritage contains.  I am going to talk about race in the context of this baboon fascism, as a reality which brings together, finally, the sides of human collective personality "alienated" or separated from one another through agreements and disagreements.

There is a further consideration:  human beings themselves, working through and around technics, further leverage what would otherwise be mere biological force to enforce social inequality.  As socialists say, inequalities of property contribute to inequality as a general condition of life; but this is only partly true.  Technology itself even as serving human material well being, is inherently a source of inequality.  Marx and Engels have adequately discussed the implications of a division of labor; but the essential fact to consider is that technology as we know it, in its highly evolved forms, began as weaponry.   This technics of violence is the physical expression of personal force and tends, even as technology assists humans, it opposes these same persons and elevates them or destroys them according to its own whims.

Last edited by richard_swartzbaugh (2009-06-28 14:49:02)



New major thesis statement in support of Richard Swartzbaugh's Force Theory:  Before there is a disagreement, there first must be an agreement.

Defining the human being as a tool-using animal, as Ben Franklin did, we can set the time when human life separated itself from the life of animals at the point, precisely, that humans or their immediate predecessors began to make and use tools.  Of course when we say tools we mean weapons.  Elsewhere, in the section of philosophical anthropology, I discussed the relation between tools and the evolution of the human mind.  At this point I will establish a somewhat different focus.  We are now trying to find the significance of weapons, in particular, which are used to kill animal prey but also to ward off fellow humans, in agreements.  Do weapons presuppose, in order for society to exist at all, some contravaling idea we now call an agreement.   The fact of weapons has changed human relationship.  As a "living laboratory" we may look at Africa, among the remote tribes but also everywhere in Africa there are unsettled conditions (most parts of Africa).    The relations among the people, individually but also between larger groups such as clans and villages, are, documentably,  determined by the presence and absence of weapons.  If one group has weapons superior to their neighbors they will kill their neighbors.  Of course, most groups are equal in their weaponry; but sometimes outsiders bring in guns.  In Africa the group that has the guns will, without waiting or hestitation, exterminate their neighbors.  The possession of weapons and the feeling of superiority that weapons engender is a central issue in human life.  Human life already had its share of danger, no less than was true of baboons, chimpanzees and other animals.   Life on the savanah was pretty much "root, hog or die."  But for humans there was a new element of danger.  It is out of this climate of relationships, where weapons could be made and held in secret, that an extra dimension of insecurity and danger was introduced into the life of human beings.  Human beings fairly well defended themselves against animal predators; but competition with neighboring humans for hunting territory was fierce. 

Aside from group and territorial conflicts there was an issue just as pressing.  That is the issue of human dominance--the domination of one human being of another.  Among apes this dominance is achieved through flashing teeth and a show of strength.  The larger ape subdues the smaller, and so forth, in the universal pecking order among animals.   Thus when the animal that is visibly larger and stronger than the other appears, the weaker members move out of the way.   Such bragging and swaying is finally just about all there is to the structured social life of animals.  We do not have to go far to prove out point.  As weapons--detachable objects such as stones and sticks--came to replace as weapons teeth and claws and strength and size, a whole new issue arose.  This was an insecurity in the presence of even weaker members, who cowered and lurked here and there, in the shadows, but held in their hand some rock, stick or sharpened bone.  A certain aptitude in shaping and sharpening a stick would be an advantage in competition for dominance.  It has now been observed by animal behaviorists that chimpanzees, even, will use a branch, swing it around, to attempt to intimidate members of its group.  These "displays," as they are called, are infrequent.  But among human beings there was, as was possible through higher intelligence, an additional danger.  The large person who approached the smaller, with some demand, might have an unpleasant surprise waiting for him.  He might, if he was smart, demand to see both hands of the smaller man.  It follows out of what has been said so far that certain gestures--rituals?--of showing hands, appearing to be weapon-free, has come to be a constant theme of human interaction.  Clothes again added one more element to the problem, inasmuch as clothes could conceal weapons.  In other words, showing no  concealment of weapons has become, in the course of human evolution, embedded in human interaction to the point where such behavior is even noticable for what it is.  The handshake is an example of this.

Weapons leverage violence that animals already have, it is true, but in the case of human is more extreme.  Thus, any force that there is, that might inhibit cooperation among animals, is exacerbated in the case of human being; weapons make human interaction impossible without agreements.  There are groups in Africa, we are told, who, given weapons by outsiders will immediately attempt to exterminate their neighbors and, finally, themselves.  Europeans have had a longstanding acquaintance with weapons.  But weapons demand agreements.  The same mental capacity that allowed humans to create weapons, then, permits speech--and therefore permits the capacity to make agreements.  Agreements as the virtually dominate mode of human interaction may finally presuppose the existence of weapons and the destructive effects of which weapons are capable.  There is a question of whether agreements would have appeared at all in human evolution without the presence of weapons; humans would have interacted as do apes and baboons, say.  It is significant that weapons appeared in human evolution far sooner than language.

A handshake, as anthropologists tell us, as a ritual repeated millions of time and since a time millions of years ago, is simply a check by two persons for concealed weapons.  Such an act, as I said earlier, transforms what is a situation, aggravated by technics (weapons), of hyper-inequality unknown to animals, into the opposite of inequality--a condition of abstract equality also unknown elsewhere in the biological world.  We begin at this point to ask ourselves whether this handshake, or the agreement which the handshake finalizes, is all there is in essence to "democratic theory."  We are asking, in other words, whether most social theories from communism and socialism to democracy have as their model (Vorbild) the simple agreement which has been in place since the earliest human society.  We are furthermore asking at this point whether weapons, which preceded human language by several million years, constituted the challenge to which language is a response.  Did the existence of weapons, and their potentially destructive effects to basic biological human social structure, threaten the existence of this group, demanding, then, some sort of "agreement" that would resolve this conflict.  Was language itself a "force," or counterforce, which would offset the presence of weapons within the group.  As I said, the agreement is essentially about weaponry, namely, to abjure--to outwardly signal that weapons are set asside--the use of this leveraged destructive force.  The handshake in these terms would by no means be an empty ritual, however, inasmuch as what distinguishes the human being from animals is the ability to have weapons and to conceal them. 

With this homely fact of human existence--the handshake--we may begin our theory of what human society is and, within society, the role of government.  We may come to some conclusion as to the reason why human beings who do not care for one another, and who do not essentially want to live together, find themselves living together nonetheless.  The reason society has evolved to this point is force which, removed from one context--the agreement--is moved instead to another context, government and a detached "alienated" (Hegel) abstraction of society.  Every time there is a handshake, we are saying, a gesture ostensibly between only two persons, government and the abstraction of society--which includes morality, religion and the very word "should"--acquire the same measure of force.  Government can use this force at its own "discretion," mindful only remotely of the source of the force.

We need to examine the issue of concealment.  The handshake, the homely fact of everyday human existence, suggests a theory wherein we can understand the issues that concealment raises.  As I have said, the handshake is a check for concealed weapons.  The mind which can conceal anti-social intentions is itself one of the contradictions that human beings have acquired through evolution.  Apes, we suggest, do not have the ability to conceal intentions; at any rate, the intentions that are concealed are not complicated or serious ones.  I do not know if apes can conceal intentions or not; we may assert however that dogs and cows cannot conceal them.    Houses and clothes, protection from the climate and animals, are also shadowy areas that may conceal "anti-social" artifacts, or weapons.  It is clear that concealment, which is a problem exacerbated by walls and drapings, would be an issue beyond what animals face; they, obviously, are without clothes and houses and such.  The life of animals is "open."  For an animal every intention becomes, instantly, a stark reality visible to the animals whole community, such as this community is.  Thus human social life becomes the activity of concealment and revelation of what is concealed.   If we see a certain structure of society, in our family for instance or in the simpler, more personal rlations that there are, that has been inherited from our animal past--we may, in any case, see the potentially anti-social effects of violence that is first concealed and then leveraged, presumably to the advantage of one individual or small group.  Any society at any time could explode in violence.  Thus a good part of being social in the first place is to check for concealed weapons.  This is a primal social act.  In this context--that of the human capacity for conceal potential for violence--much if not most social behavior can be understood.   We fumble at this point for examples.  I'm thinking at this moment of chimpanzee "grooming" behavior, where the fur of an animal is gone through to find insects.  For the chimp this is friendly social behavior and cements bonds of the group.  For the human being, on the other hand, grooming is checking for weapons; if none are found, then this person is a "friend."  We are struck at this point by the "negativity" of human social behavior, in contrast to that of apes and other social animals.  The human being, through his creation of technics--weapons--as at one level "contradicted" himself in his own evolutionally inherited social nature.  He has turned himself, by his ability to possess unrestricted (technical) violence, into an anti-social creature. But then on another level he has transformed himself--as a new contradition to supercede the first--by a sophisticated "social" behavior which is nothing more than a check for weapons... I could take up the subject of religion.  Religion stresses openness and, as part of the signalling of openness, exposure of weapons; essentially the exposure of weapons is the surrender of weapons.  These weapons are relegated, by universal consent, to a "higher authority," which could be God, I suppose, but in the meantime is the earthly government and the "representatives" of the generality of society.

Is society (or govt), which is  Rousseau says is brought forth by a Social Contract. really a contract at all or even an agreement?

RICHARD SWARTZBAUGH'S THEORY OF FORCE STATES THAT:  Before any disagreement is possible there must be, originally, an agreement.

Last edited by richard_swartzbaugh (2009-06-22 14:44:39)


Human history properly speaking began, I suggest, with the first Rule of Thumb--essentially, marriage.  That understanding between man and woman is uniquely human.  It is a human understanding made necessary by a prior development of history, and one that came about as the result of uniquely human intelligence.   That is the human capacity for weapons.  These were artifacts used, used in the exclusively male activity of hunting, that were solely in the possession of males.  The fact that males had these weapons but females did not exacerbated the already considerable physical and tempermental differences between male and females.  Given weapons, the "alienation" of male and female in human culture had to be resolved; this resolution was achieved by the formal agreement of marriage, essentially the Rule of Thumb.

Marriage is a contractual agreement.   But the civil laws of marriage are settlements of disagreements.  The law surrounding marriage is a social institution among other social institutions.  But as the settlement of disagreements within marriage, civil laws of marriage are only a secondary phenomenon.  The laws or settlements of marriage must await, finally, the primary agreement--the agreement of marriage.  Richard Swartzbaugh's theory of force is clear on the basic principle entailed in marriage:  Before there can be a disagreement, there must be an agreement.

Richard Swartzbaugh's Philosophy of Force states that before there can be any disgreement, there must be an agreement.
Social institutions, or society in general, are merely the total of settled disagreements; but these disagreements must have appeared, at some time or other, out of agreements.

Using weapons of the hunt and war to settle everyday arguments would have been a disaster for the entire social group; and of course these arguments would have been greatest between man and wife.  Were a man to assault his wife with a weapon of the hunt it would kill here.  Therefore a special promise was required--one made in the presence of the entire social group--that no weapons will be used to settle a domestic dispute.  This is called in English civil law the Rule of Thumb, wherein a man will hit his wife with an object no larger than his thumb; essentially he will hit her with no weapon.  Weapons leverage violence and vastly exaccerbate the minor scuffles that occur everyday in an ordinary social group. To be human means to abjure this kind of violence, to displace it from within the social group, here marriage; and to relegate weapons to an appropriate place, in the hunt or in inter-tribal battles.  Again I state that the Rule of Thumb is the primal agreement that establishes human society as such, as opposed to the society of animals; and that all other laws civil and criminal are derived from the Rule of Thumb.  The very vagueness of marriage laws suggest their ancient history; but the essential fact of these laws--the abjuring of physical violence--remains as the essence of all agreements and contracts to date, and remains, then, the cornerstone of civil society itself.

An agreement consists essentially of finding harmony, not creating it.  The premise of a rational society, as proposed by the theorists of democracy and communism, is to create harmony.  This might be possible if we understood human beings and could predict human behavior; but there is no possibility of that.   Human society has evolved, then, we are saying, with an agreement as the model for a rational society; but the agreement is not the substance of the rational society.  A rational society is built by application of force, even the force of reason; a rational society is built with social objectives in mind, while the relationship of agreements proposes no goals, social or moral or otherwise, beyond the goals stated in the individual agreement itself.  An agreement that is, and has to be, forced is a contradiction in terms.  Such agreements when set in motion, as they have been, finally destroy themselves on this contradiction.  We may try to understand how these mega-"agreements" have come about in the first place.  They arise no doubt out of the imaginations of some individual mind.  In saying this we are only repeating what has been often said before:  that these societies are "pure theory" with little understanding of practice.  Ritual may be another explanation:  mindless repetition that is understood, naively, as harmony.   Such theoretical and rationalistic societies would not exist were it not for large reserves of force.  The force that there is is the result of countless individuals who have given up force to accomodate themselves to agreements with other individuals.  Thus while pure agreements come and go, force itself that is released from the agreements pools and accumulates in centers of force.  A government in the first place is simply this conceded force, which  coalesces in perpetual concentrations.  The conclusion to these considerations is that while life, as human life, first succeeds through agreements, a byproduct of agreements--force--finally opposes the normal flow of life.  It is in the context of human life that comes to be opposed by the force that this force generates that we may understand the phenomenon of race.  Race in these terms is simply an attempt by "nature," as we may construe that term, to reunite the subjective and objective sides of human life.  Race is the individual made large.  Race may be viewed as a reuniting of force and human collaboration, when such collaboration has finally fallen to an "alienated" force.

Last edited by richard_swartzbaugh (2009-06-28 15:06:10)


Agreement is impossible for animals, which do not have language.  This I have already discussed in my section on Philosophical Anthropology.  Agreement is also the basis of society in the specifically human sense.  I am alleging, in other words, that animals do not have society.  Animals, congregate and interact methodically, that is true.  But the capacity for agreements separates humans from animals, allowing humans to "harmonize" interaction far beyond what animals are capable of.  By harmony is meant an interaction with a positive result; an interaction, moreoever, that has no purely biological or physical/causal interference. In effect, what human beings do that animals cannot do is to remove the element of force from their relationships.  An agreement in these terms is simply the mutual understanding that a harmony that exists will continue to exists; and this is made possible by removing force from the relationship, whether this be the force of instinct or the force of personal wilfulness or perhaps even the force of physical causality.  A handshake finalizes the agreement; this is a check, as anthropologists tell us, that neither party is holding a weapon.

  Society, seen as a positive contribution to human life, consists (we may go on to say) of finding harmony in life and perpetuating that harmony by removing causality, force and violence as potential interferance.   The agreement--finalized by the handshake (proving that weapons are not present)--does little more to the relationship between two persons than to suggest to both of them that neither has the intention of introducing force into the relationship, so that, in other words, what exists can continue to exist. Such "agreement" is necessary to ensure a successful mutual enterprise particularly inasmuch as any two individual persons may have equal or nearly equal force in their possession (aggravated by the existence of weapons uniquely of human making?) would, in the event of a dispute, possibly destroy one another.  (I have not yet discussed the relavance of (uniquely human) weapons, and their exacerbation of violence between human beings; I should do that later.)   Society as we understand the word, and as society contributes positively to human life, is essentially the proclamation of peace in contexts where harmony already rules.  But if force is removed from the particular relation, where does this force go.  It is handed over, as we have already seen, to a third party.  In other words, we are not supposing that force and violence simply disappear from human life; rather, these negative things are handed over to this third party.  Force may still be applied to the relationship between these two men, here called parties; but the force is used not at the discretion of either man.  These men, to evoke force, must apply to the third party which has "discretionary" ability to force compliance of the terms of the agreement.  When the agreement is made, then, and both parties signal their private relinquishing of force, and such force that the two men have is handed over to the third party with provision to use only to enforce terms of the agreement--we call this agreement a contract. 

At this point we may move beyond the agreement and basic contract to the issue of society in general.  An agreement is a small thing; society in general is very large.  An agreement is a simple thing that all parties understand; society is a complex thing that no one, finally, in the least understands.  Third, an agreement is entered into voluntarily; society for its part is nothing anyone enters, really, voluntarily but simply finds him- or heself in at birth;  there is no "agreement" on any individual's part.    Finally, when the terms of the agreement are carried out in practice, to the satisfaction of all parties, the agreement simply evaporates.  Thus agreements come and go, while society, for its part, stays perpetually.   

The elements within an agreement harmonize with one another; otherwise the agreement is not entered into voluntarily.  In the case of society it is otherwise.  There is an assumption codified as law that it is the purpose of citizens--members of the larger society--to act among themselves in harmony.  In actual practice this is not the case.  Even though the assumptions of society are taken, word for word, from the terms of a basic contract; and although in theory society is simply a reflex of this agreement; in actual fact, on the contrary, human beings are thrown together, whether through brute necessity or accident, who have no thing in common except to reside in the same place.  I do not want to dwell here on the miseries of modern American city life.  The fact is, however, it is not a long standing harmony that brings people together in such a rambling chaos as the modern city but some accident, purely, or some supeficial "harmonious" illusion.  I cite American slavery, which came about to fulfill some very temporary need, as an example.  Our cities are full of former slaves.  They are called citizens while Mexicans are brought in to do work the former slaves will not do.  The situation is compounded.  I want however to make the statement about the origin of the modern state., however--and this is my only purpose here--to the effect that, although the modern society originates out of a primal agreement (probably) between hunters, modern society has become an anti-agreement:  relationships that never were harmonious to begin with are forced into harmony.  Thus what was absent from the original agreement is reinserted back into an  agreement--modern democracy--to force human beings into a spurious and unnatural harmony.  Even sworn enemies are forced to live together under penalty of the law.  Modern society in these terms is the "negation of the negation":  modern society negates the early human provision of an agreement, that force will be used.  Force is employed not in the event that harmony is disrupted--because harmony never existed in the first place--but as the "causality" (as I have elsewhere used to the word) that sustains society.

At this point we may raise the issue:  can an agreement be called viable that must be arbitrated, at every point, by the threat of violence or force from the third or overseeing party?


Human beings created weapons but still had not evolved a corresponding instinctive inhibition against using them.  This is an important point.  Among the apes a dominant member, or Alpha Male, of a viable social group knows his own strength and senses instinctively at what point in violence his strength results in harm, not merely to the individual he is intimidating but to the entire social group.  This dominance behavior does not dissolve the group but tightens its organization.  This is true of the non-human primates.  The purpose of dominance behavior is to intimidate, not to kill, beta members of the group.  Such a practice of intimidation has carried over into human groups; but the agent of this dominance is leveraged violence, or weaponry.  Of course, in the case of human beings, who almost by definition had arti-weapons, any sort of dominance behavior involving weapons would have, initially at least, a potentially destructive effect.  The inhibitions that came to him, like other primates, through his animal past did not serve him well:  even as weapons evolved rapidly, the inhibitions against using them did not evolve.  Inhibitions along with the proper and appropriate use of weapons were not inherited, genetically, so much as they were learned.  To restrain oneself from using a weapon was a trait aquired through experience of using weapons.  Weapons use subsequently became more frequent in inter-group behavior than in infra-group behavior.  Hunters and gatherers were frequently at war with their territorial neighbors; as populations became more settled and dense, on the other hand, weapons were used by technologically advanced peoples to intimidate weaker ones.   Dominance behavior between peoples entails the use and display of weapons, along with strategies connected with military action.  This was all a natural process brought about by the primary fact of weaponry.  Neighboring but alien peoples were used to practice weaponry.  There was no thought of killing these neighbors, perhaps, but only in using them to test their weapons.  Alien persons were thought better for this purpose than one's own family.  This began an interaction between groups, through the agency of weaponry, which led to slavery--in effect to organized society.

Society as a highly organized entity would be impossible even today without advanced weaponry.  The network of trade relations, in themselves examples of agreement rather than armed force, must be stabilized, occasionally, by military intervention.  But there is a further issue that is raised in examining the historical record.  That is the issue of slavery.  In the short term, however, as small societies met and conquered even smaller ones, slavery was an option opened by the weaponry of an advanced group.  But to organize manage a slave population there was required an advanced group within which there are only agreements; and where, in other words, weapon use and display in acts of violence, weapons and armed force are abjured.  To achieve slavery within a larger general group, a core group of collaborators would have to enter agreements.  Thus even as weaponry spread as the leveraged force of humankind, so there appeared agreements in which weaponry was suspended.  The salute which continues the raising of a knight's helmet to display the vulnerable face--these were the finalizing symbols of a military unit.  Such a unit, no less than the original hunting party, was essentailly an agreement-group.

Once weapons existed, slavery was an inevitable consequence.  Slavery proceeds from weapons as, on the other hand, the abjuring of weapons--the agreement--proceeds from weapons.  There has been a natural evolution beyond slavery, however.  I want to stress that this has been a "natural"--meaning here both a human and a logical process--and is by no means the result of some "moral enlightenment" talked about by schoolteachers.  There is some question as to whether or not slavery ever really ended.  A precise formulation of this principle is what I am searching for right now.  Technology as weaponry which began the process of slavery became, finally, the object or end of slavery.  The human beings then who produced the weapons became a part of the weaponry; in effect they were added to the technics in order to enslave themselves.  Human beings were reduced to technology itself, dissolving the precise distinction between man and machine.  Thus the human slaves that there were have been elevated, essentially, not to a condition of human equality with their masters so much as to a condition of inhuman or technological equality with the machines that masters use to enslave other humans.  Part of this process is perhaps ritual but it continues today; it is precisely through the so-called "goods" that human consume that they continue the tradition of slavery.  Of course, the external trappings of these systems differ worldwide.

Last edited by richard_swartzbaugh (2009-06-27 15:07:28)



I said earlier that an agreement, when finalized by a handshake or contract, is essentially the abjuring of force.  That is true.  There is often little in a typical everyday agreement that is finally cogent or even enforcable by an overseer other than this mutual relinquishing of armed (with weapons) force. Weaponry is abjured--this is what defines an agreement as an agreement.  As I say, the basic stipulation of any agreement is that armed violence will not be used to settle disputes that may arise.   Agreements in this sense constitute small and--with the consent of society in general--sequestered "partitions" within society.   But outside the individual agreement is a mixture of animal, baboon-oid or fascistic intimidation and, more ominously, leveraged violence such as possible only through artifact-weaponry.  That human beings have the same instincts of dominance and submission as other related animals is a certainty.  On the other hand, where humans differ from these animals is in the weapons of their own artifice or creativity, ingenious compared to what baboons (say) are capable of but potentially deadly.  It is beyond the capacity of a strong baboon to kill or seriously harm a weaker baboon, at least not without suffering damage to itself.  This is clear.  With human beings it is otherwise.  Even a small and weak human being with a mere stick or stone can easily kill another person, and may be tempted to do so even in an everyday intra-group dispute.  Low intelligence persons are inclined to do this even today.  Aggravating this circumstance of human weaponry and leveraged violence is the (almost) unique human ability, of thinking before acting, of harboring intentions that are kept from wives and other members of the group.  The human capacity for planning makes his armed violence even more deadly.  These are the special circumstances which are the background for the appearance of the specifically human capacity for agreements.  I have said this before; but the fact requires emphasis.  But there is the further point:  do agreements on the one hand and leveraged (armed) violence on the other exist together in any causal or interactive way so as to constitute a process a recognizable pattern.  For instance, in Hegelian and Marxist ideology the capitalist period logically follows its feudalistic predecessor, and so on?  This is the striking sort of pattern we are looking for in Force Theory.

I seem to be suggesting that, in a word, while leveraged violence must at any rate be taken very seriously, as a sort of "act of war," an everyday bossiness I have characterized as "baboon fascism" is simply alright; there is no point in disclaiming or abjuring this animal dominance behavior.    A certain pushiness or bossiness runs through the length and breadth of human behavior; there is nothing that can be done about a merely bossy or assertive person other than to push back.  That is my conclusion.  It seems to follow that an entire political order, which I would classify as fascistic--but is certainly more refined in its details than what baboons are capable of--may be acceptable as a permanent order of things.  There are dictatorships throughout the world, castigated by the hyper-organized and violence-leveraged world of democracy--that we affirm at present.  These dictatorships of course dot the third world, where, it seems, they have a positive role:  without them these countries would be chaos. 

Note to myself for tomorrow
technology as a weapon to enforce behavior of citizens...
agreements are needed as technology advances; thus more technology as coercive behavior implies more agreements as force-free behavior

Last edited by richard_swartzbaugh (2009-06-23 15:30:33)


We saw in earlier sections of this forum that within an agreement, human beings are agreeable.    In ordinary language, what agreeable means is that these humans are in a pleasant frame of mind,  but specifically, we must add, with reference to other people;  a person who is agreeable is open to what other people think.  This we have already concluded.  Agreement means--and English brings all these meanings together in one word--that two persons (necessarily two) are both seeing the same thing and, essentially, thinking the same thing.  At the center of an agreement is a common "understanding."  I think the word "understanding" has been discussed enough in philosophical literature, as in David Hume's Essay on Human Understanding. There is no need here to repeat all these arguments.  We want rather to move to the issue of the implications of this understanding in so-called "society."  Our agrument so far as been that the basic human relationship, insofar as humans distinguish themselves from other animals, is an agreement.  Necessarily we have had to discuss everything there is to discuss about the word agreement.  Of serious concern, as we've already said, is that there be a common understanding.  Usually there is talk of collaboration toward a common goal.  But for an agreement to be complete there must be an abjuring of use of weaponry to settle disputes.  The word "abjure" needs discussion.  The suggestion of this word is that there is a sense among persons of law (ab--to take away: jure--under law).  At early stages of society this law would be simply a moral code, not a written corpus of laws; also the only enforcement for such a moral code would be public opinion, let us say, along with some threat of physical retaliation for infractions.  This is the way tribal peoples live.  We may procede with Hegel to assume that organized government, with its code of law, is simply the "objectification" of the earlier moral code.  (Moral ideas of today may be thought of as the law of earlier times;  morals or ethics would be the more "primitive"  vestiges and proto-law of earlier days.)  Otto Gierke is helpful on the subject of Natural Law and The Social Contract; he assumes there is a relationship between the moral code and modern laws.  Gierke's  final inability to connect biological nature with the moral codes and laws of man remains, nonetheless, a distraction.  There is no need to dewel on the failures of Natural Law and Social Contract thinkers, who were narrowly focused on political events of their own times.  Here we need simply some sense of the concept of "law," however crudely formed in the minds of people in everyday situations where understanding is needed and disputes are possible.  We strive presently toward a more advanced concept.  That is, the concepts presented as the ultimate fruits of moder (19th-21st centuries) social philosophy, wherein humanity has somehow broken out of the barriers of antiquated and barbarian thinking--ideas of equality, peace among men, brotherhood and so forth) were present, in essence, as basic elements of the simple agreement.  This primal agreement, which even hunters of the Paleolithic had among themselves, suggests in dim outline what these men spelled out, in outline, in the most everyday organized activities.  GWF Hegel suggests somewhere that abstruse philosophical ideas are buried in the most everyday language.  We may paraphrase Hegel's insight:  the most arcane conceptions of philosophers are visible in the most ordinary agreements that men have between them for everyday purposes.

I have said that for an agreement to be "complete"--because incomplete and partial agreements are possible--there must be an abjuring of physical weaponry.  That is true.  Unlike the most auspicious social philosophers, on the other hand--Rousseau and Gierke we have already talked about--we are denying the possiblity of a contract between citizens and, on the other hand, organized government.  There is no final agreement where there is not an abjuring of the use of weaponry to settle disputes.  No goverment abjures in any context, whether it be in disputes with "alien" government or in disputes with its own subjects, the use of weapons.  An agreement between citizenry and government would be a contradiction in terms:  a government is precisely that organized body which holds and at its own discretion may use weapons.  Where our argument may go now--to trace human history so that its discrete moments, phases and stages may be seen to causally eminate from one another--is still an open question.  On the other hand, we still must find some "positive or supportive interaction" between the social group constituted through agreement, on the one hand, and on the other whatever is outside the agreement-group.  The agreement-group does not exist in a vacuum, of course; but neither does it exist, properly speaking, "in nature."  For agreements to transpire, as they always have among human beings, such agreements must find--or create--for themselves an accomodating "world."  This is the world of humankind, but it is not a non-violent world.

An agreement, as I have said, entails an abjuring of arti-weapons (weapons specifically of human making).  We may assume that hands and biological parts are included in the list of weapons that may not be used.  But this is an afterthought.  What I am thinking now is that such an abjuring of weapons "exposes" parties to the agreement to violence from outside.  Here we have a "negative downside" to the agreement:  that those who participate in the agreement are momentarily weaponless.  The positive goal of the agreement may be in fact to create weaponry; even so, this and any weaponry is expressly forbidden to parties to the agreement.  I think that the issue of this exposure is one that must be explored in depth.  There appears now the possible self-contradiction, one inherent in any agreement, that those forsaking and excluding (abjuring) weapons have voluntarily neutralized their capacity to defend themselves as a group.  We may say that before an agreement can be discussed the issue must be clear as to what is to defend the agreement from outside attack.  There are similar issues in the biological world in general.  Animals that are asleep want to feel protected; when they are engaged in distracting activities, such as defication or sexual activity, they seek "privacy," probably for the reason that their personal activity renders them vulnerable at that time to attack by enemies and predators.  Human beings carry over this need for "privacy" into their everyday lives.    The agreement, such as only human beings are capable of, raises similar problems.  The agreement which is the human beings greatest strength is also, when this agreement is in effect, his greatest vulnerability. The outcome of the agreement may be, long after the terms of the agreement have been met, and the collaboration between the parties is suspended, is often a greater strength for the group as a whole than was the case before the agreement.  I believe I have sufficiently discussed, already, the benefits of human collaboration through agreements.  What remains to be considered if, as these agreements are in place, and the parties to the agreements are in a state of heightened vulnerability, there comes about some corresponding change in the social behavior of persons outside the agreement.  I want to suggest some additional "paranoia" of people in an agreement regarding their surroundings, or what in their realm is not included in the agreement.  In fact this paranoia could actually be expressed in some kind of action so long as this action is "external" action.  Thus to be in an agreement, and abjure violence within the agreement, migh cause parties to be more violent in relations outside the agreement.  In these terms it follows that the people in agreements may be finally--technologically--the most violent people of all.  It is a paradox that peace within the agreement may tend to engender violence outside the agreement.

Last edited by richard_swartzbaugh (2009-06-25 14:11:47)


An agreement defines a certain kind of social group.  Parties to an agreement are "together" in a certain sense; insofar as they are together they are social.  I spoke earlier of "baboon fascism," which is an instinctive grouping of animals; among these animals are human beings themselves.  The primal social order conforms more or less to the sort of structure of a baboon group, with a leader and followers in a tight regimentation.  Ancestral human beings came into existence in the open spaces of the African savannah where they experienced the same sort of challenges as did baboons, the other open-ground primate.  Human groups were of the same size as other ground-living primates.  Where a comparison with baboons leaves off is when human beings, in their earliest stages after the appearance of language or proto-language, aquire agreements.  I have already made this point abundantly clear.  Language engenders a shared reality that is not strictly "reality" itself; in other words the shared symbolic word of promises and agreements is not natural.  But nature favors its own creations.  She supports what has appeared over time in a "natural" way, through a process of natural selection and evolution; the human reality, however, of agreements, appears magically in a relative instant.  Briefly, the agreement is a grouping wherein all weapons of attack and defense, even verbal weapons, are expressly excluded.  Weaponless--when all creatures of nature have weapons--the group-by-agreement is an unnatural creation.  We could conclude that such a group is defenseless against attack from outside.  But there is more:  human beings consciously create around this unnatural group, the agreement group, another unnatural world in which agreements can flourish.

Unnatural groups engender other unnatural groups; these groups coexist in a supportive way.  A group constituted through agreement--this is the one thing this group shares with primal groups--will attempt, through some mechanism or other, to change its environment to render this environment more accomodating to aggreements.  This point is worth repeating.  Thus when I say that the agreement-group is unnatural I do not mean to suggest that the group does not interact with its environment.  Plants of a certain species actively change their surroundings to render these surroundings more nurturing to the species itself.  This is apparent from any reading of biological literature.  Where we are heading at this point is beyond the agreement group to what surrounds this group.  Such a group  interacts with, and thereby actively changes, society itself.  Agreement groups attempt to create a general social environment that is friendly to agreement groups.  Being friendly in our terms means that (1) the outside society will enforce terms of the agreement; (2) that society will protect agreements that are pending, allowing them to pass through their prescribed phases to the point of completion.  There is one point that must be brought out.  It must be clearly understood that one or both parties to an agreement, wherein they profess equality of force (equality in the status of no-force), will still attempt, albeit covertly, to change society to his own advantage.  There may or may not be a stipulation within an agreement that neither party will try to change the so-called "playing field' to bias society to his own advantage.  Thus what society becomes, in the final analysis, is a sort of game board with parties to agreements trying to enhance their own positions.  Society is a result, largely it seems, of persons acting from a position within agreements, but effecting results outside those agreements.  Ultimately society in general, in the human sense, comes about as a consequence of disputes that occur within the agreements; and the effort, by the same token, to bias society in favor of one or the other party's point of view in a dispute.  It must be understood that while disputes are expected within an agreement--that is why an agreement is finalized by the handshake (a check for weapons--and trust is just that, merely trust, the agreement is nevertheless contradicted by distrust and dis-agreement.  Disagreement is the antithesis, and the nemisis, of agreement.  At the same  time it is precisely dis-agreement that opens an agreement, which would otherwise be hermatically sealed to the outside world, to the outside world.  In the process of interacting with what is outside it, parties--each in their positions of dis-agreement--changes society.  Society simply becomes a nexus of disagreements.  These are collective disagreements however which neutralize themselves [????]

Last edited by richard_swartzbaugh (2009-06-25 13:43:15)



I. The human being's primary social behavior distinguishes itself from the society of other animals through the human agreement.

II. The source of the dis-agreement is the agreement.  Out of the agreement arises the dis-agreement, which is the negation of the agreement.  The part of law and society that is not an agreement is a disagreement.

III. Law, beginning with moral law but refined into codified law, is nothing more than a compendium of human disagreements.

IV. Law, beginning with moral law but codified in more advanced societies, is the basis of society.  Society is nothing more than codified law.

V. Law settles dis-agreements, it does not resolve them. (That one party in a dis-agreement is favored over another does not resolve a dispute, it only settles it.)

VI. Dis-agreements are resolved only in religion; they are referred to "higher authority" where parties in a dispute are (only) symbolically  reconciled. 

Last edited by richard_swartzbaugh (2009-06-27 15:41:38)


Agreement can mean that two persons, knowing through language what the each other is seeing, see the same thing.  We do not need to rise to any high philosophical level of speculation to understand this basic principle.  Agreeable is another common English word that contains several meanings pertinent to Force Theory.  *Agreeable is what a person is when he is acceptable and attractive to other persons, for instance, he pleasant to other people.  *The person may be agreeable to some plan or proposition, in which case he simply agrees to the plan.  *"Agreement" means in traditional philosophy a "correspondence" between what is "out there" and what is in a person's mind.  For instance, if we are thinking of an apple and an apple is actually there, present to the senses, then mind and thing "agree."   I am going to avoid the mire of a Ding an sich, or "stuff" of reality, or any philosophical mystery; writers on, with whom before being ejected (verbannt) I participated, ramble on on these subjects and never seem to go anywhere.  But, aside from metaphysical notions, none of these meanings of "agree" that I state above are confusing.  And it follows, finally, that if we talk about "agreement" in an ordinary meaning of the word we will have a clear and consistent orienation through the length and breadth of Force Theory. 

[i will probably delete or perhaps move this material:  Uwe Wiedemann, administrator of, a webbsite devoted to philosophical speculation, saw fit to "bann" me entirely, at the loss of much of my writing (verschoben).  I wrote there without apparent objection for about a year; during that time I thought I was like and appreciated by the other participants.  I wrote about many subjects, such as my state of Illinois, and so forth which I though would interest the Germans. I shared ideas about our respective cultures.  If I offended anyone, which apparently I did occasionally, I apologized profusely in the innocence of my heart.  This act of verbannung at the time caused me personal pain, especially when I had many readers (60 per day), and therefore contributed to the success of the webbsite. Of course I had no recourse.  Any anvenue for protest was cut off for me, insofar as my login code was terminate.   My writings on were called verfassungswidrig, alien to the constitution of Germany.  A good part of the German constitution was reproduced for my benefit.  I am sorry this whole discussion was lost.  Anyway, it appears that the Germans may actually be, at present, less tolerant of freedom of speech--all the more regretable inasmuch as the issues being discussed by me are the real issues of our day--than are Americans. So writers are left to ramble on in the shallowness and complacency of their own virtue. ]

Beginning my own webbsite earlier this year I proposed that:  equals are hesitant to enter an agreement because, as equals--neither with authority above the other--they would have no way to settle disputes which might arise.  I support this statement even now, months later, although a lot of clarification is necessary.  The word equal has needed qualification:  I mean equals in the matter of force, or strength or means of violence.  The force in one man's possession, as equal force, neutralizes the force of the other man.  Either the men, each fearing the other, will refuse to settle the issue through force; or if they do attempt to use force they will destroy one another.  Having (hopefully) resolved the question of what equality is I went on with my presentation.  I characterized pre-human social order as "baboon fascism."  Although baboons are squalid animals, from our vantage point, I don't mean to deprecate them.  A refined "baboon fascism," tempered by human understanding, is finally what I propose to unite humans in their respective groups:   in other words, "natural force," the strength that human beings have through ancient instincts, is what must finally unite men in groups.  I have persisted in this point of view.  But this treatise is not about baboon fascism or "Spartan Socialism" (as I called the natural order in, to the chagrin apparently of Uwe); this essay is about society in the human sense, and what has made humans, in other words, turn away from a primal spartan fascism to the alienated and alienating terms of agreements and democracy.  Even as I do not deprecate Spartan fascism, I do not affirm agreements--except to say that we may have agreements always.  An agreement is simply an everyday act, performed continually throughout the length and breadth of human history, wherein two or more "parties," having proposed some enterprise in common, "agree" to abstain from armed force to settle disputes that may arise.  This is an arrangement quite capable of clear expression.  The element of "agreement" in a promise is the suspension--finalized by a handshake--of force.   A contract on the other hand is the commission of some third, outside entity--here called a third party--to hold the force given up by the principal parties, and to apply that force to settle disputes that may arise.

What I have not talked about, until now, is what remains in human life that is "society" but is still not agreements.  I have implied, and now will state this principle expressly, that society in the human sense is either agreements or disagreements.  What in true society is not an agreement is a disagreement.  We may at this point make an important distinction between an agreement and a disagreement.  An agreement, as I said, is a small relationship consisting of a relatively few persons who, capable of rather limited understanding are limited to an understanding of a small thing, which constitutes the "agreement of mind" as a basis of "agreement of purpose."  This consideration follows out of Force Theory and is not difficult to comprehend.  A dis-agreement, on the other hand, is the negation of an agreement.  When a dis-agreement appears it must be resolved, or caused to disappear, or the agreement will flounder.  What might be called the affirmation of an agreement, which is positive if it leads to a positive result, is negated by the disagreement.  A dis-agreement disagrees with the agreement; which is why we call a dispute, so long as it calls into question the terms of the agreement, a negation of the agreement.

The burden of proof falls upon me to show that society, if society is not an agreement it is a disagreement; this is an unconventional definition of society that I must defend.  Yet I do not offer evidence, merely, that I am correct; I will offer substantial proof--and do this with one word, law.  It is a short step from understanding what law is--the settling (not resolution, merely) of disputes--and a notion of the structure of society.  Morals are the basis of primitive human society; law is the refinement of that basis.  Laws, beginning perhaps with the 10 Commandments, is a compendium, merely, of human negativity.



A disagreement in simple terms is more than a dispute.  (I suppose there must be a "pute" before there is a "dis-pute"; this breakdown of words moves me in the direction I am going.)  As the word itself suggest, a disgreement is a dis-tancing of one or several parties to an agreement from the terms of the agreement.   It is possible that several people have a disagreement without formally announcing an agreement, as, for instance, if two persons suddenly argue over possession of some object.  This is a daily occurance.  On the other hand, at the basis of their argument is the assumption on the part of each disputant that he, in particular, should "own" this or that thing; and this assumption is the result of a prior common experience of both parties as to what constitutes ownership.  This point can be made perfectly clear.  We imagine two paleolithic hunters are scouring the land for game, but who do not belong to the same hunting band--they are strangers--and they come upon a wounded animal, perfectly suited for food.  Each hunter in this situation moves to take the game, simply, without explanation to the other.  There is no argument between these hunters because they belong to separate bands, neither of which recognizes any so-called "rights" of the other.  It may be objected that, indeed, these hunters may have encountered each other off and on, they may be intermarried (they may even be cousins); that, in other words, even in the remote bush area of Africa there are laws and customs stipulating rights of possession.  This is correct.  In that case, however, were these hunters to dispute ownership of the game, and make arguments as to the rightful owner--even in this case--there is the assumption of a prior agreement, some custom, in other words, binding the people.  Were this argument capable of settlement, then the hunting bands could be assumed to belong to a single society, or collective legal entity.