Whether evolutionist, or Biblical creationist, scholar or mystic, scientist or psychologist, all must agree that nationhood is apparently a natural condition of corporate humanity. Perhaps it is the ultimate extension of the natural family orientation; a nation is a sophisticated tribe. However, an empire is a different thing. The impetus for one group of people to rule over another is not found to have natural precedent.
When I taught humanities courses at Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City campus, one course I taught repeatedly was Ancient Humanities. This involved the observation of civilization from Mesopatamian Sumer and North African Egypt (ca. 3,000 B.C.) to Medieval Europe (ca. 1200 A.D.). Particularly in the first semester course, “Ancient Humanities,” one could see clearly the issues of nationhood with respect to conflict. I was most impressive to discuss why, for example, the Akkadian people attacked and conquered the Sumerians (ca. 2,350 B.C.). What are the reasons for such aggression? The Akkadian people are identified as Semitic (“Semitic barbarians” according to Robert C. Lamm), but no one knows the origin of the Sumerians (who themselves overran the original inhabitants of the Sumer river valley). Sabatino Moscati regards the Sumerians not as Semitic, although they used the Semitic language, even in their cuneiform. See, Ancient Semitic Civilizations (1960), p. 46.
At OSU-OKC, I also created a course called The Psychology of Race (in the Fall of 1997). Here I made it clear that, whether ancient mythology or presumed science of evolution, the existence of corporate divisions of humanity not only exist, but exist in conflict, one with another. Humanity is divided by first by language, then geographics, environment, and diet. “Culture” derives from these unaccountable divisions. I was always sure to point out that the Hebrew myth of origins alone identifies causal elements in these divisions. Furthermore, the Hebrew God alone address the even the subject. All the other gods pertain only to the people whom they are said to have created. These lesser gods are all ethnocentric. They function, internationally, like so many football team mascots, badges, or club insignias. But, these various gods are theoretically unconscious of the existence of other teams. Only the Hebrew God claims not only to have made them all, but to be responsible for them all.
Evolution may describe some mute force driving species to new environments, but evolution fails when addressing the inverse–when species attempt to dominate or annihilate another species, as in the case of man.
On the more subjective side, Gestalt psychology of perception (a German pastime of an earlier age) observes that the human creature responds to multiplicity of stimulus by grouping the data into similar associations. “Closure” it is called. It is a natural, neurological reaction to stimulus. When faced with a variety of objects or subjects, the mind (or eye) automatically sorts out the material, and divides it into groups of similar things.
It is precisely this Gestalt psychology element which may offer a clue into human social relations. I apply this to sociology and race relations, but, have not conducted any scientific experiments myself, nor thoroughly researched any such application. But, obviously, to see a variety of peoples at large, one naturally groups them. Indeed, people group themselves, for natural reasons. But the secret, unspoken instinct or impetus involved in this basic response to stimulus is discretion. We not only group, but we evaluate. Inevitably, we seek the superior our of any quantity of stimuli. This may all be related to survival instincts, but, it must be noted in any discussion of nationhood and the relations between peoples.
So, like it or not, we ask the question, Which is the superior people? What people contain the highest values, the greatest talents, and how in the world are these things measured? Is it connected to survival, or longevity? If we want the best, if even to survive the longest, how do we know what the best is? What is our ultimate criterion?
This essay has posed many questions, which cannot be answered all at once. Suffice it to say now that the desire for life is inherent, biologically, in all life forms. It does not require thought to provoke. What does require thought, at least in mankind, is how to procure the best and longest life. This is true no matter what the criteria actually are. Biological instincts dictate the desire for life. Longevity is therefore a kind of instinctive manipulation on our circumstances.
From these impeti derive the history of nations. We shall continue.