VI. LAW OF SOCIETY
Necessity of Social Life - Life of Isolation – Vow of Silence - Family Ties
Necessity of Social Life
766. Is social life founded in nature?
“Certainly, God made human beings to live in a society. God has
given human beings speech and the other faculties they need for a
social life for a purpose.”
767. Does absolute isolation conflict with the law of nature?
“Yes, since human beings instinctively seek associations and all
people are meant to help advance progress by helping one another.”
768. In seeking out society, do human beings only yield to a personal motivation,
or is there a greater providential purpose?
“Humans must progress. They cannot do it alone because they do
not possess all faculties and need contact with other humans. They
become animal-like and stunted when isolated.”
No one possesses the complete range of faculties. Through social
union, human beings complete one another, and mutually
secure their well-being. Because they need one another, they
have been created for living in society and not in isolation.
Life of Isolation – Vow of Silence
769. As a rule, we understand that social life is founded in nature as well
as all preferences. Why is absolute isolation wrong if an individual finds
satisfaction in it and since all predilections are found in nature?
“This satisfaction is selfish. There are those who find satisfaction
in getting drunk. Do you approve of them? God is not happy with lives
that are doomed to not being useful to anyone.”
770. What should we think of those who live in complete seclusion to escape
negative contact with the world?
“It is twice as selfish.”
a) But if they endure such seclusion as a form of atonement, through
difficult self-deprivation, is it not praiseworthy?
“The best of all atonements is to do more good than evil. They
avoid one wrongdoing but fall into another since they disregard the
law of love and charity.”
771. What should we think of people who renounce the world to devote themselves
to helping the poor?
“They bring about their own elevation by lowering themselves voluntarily.
They have double merit for placing themselves above material
pleasures, and doing good by fulfilling the law of labor.”
a) And what about those who retreat from society seeking tranquility for
certain kinds of labor?
“Those who retreat from society for such a reason are not selfish.
They do not isolate themselves from society, since their work is for the
772. What should we think of the vow of silence prescribed by certain religious
groups since ancient times?
“You should ask yourselves whether speech is found in nature, and
why God has created it. God condemns the abuse, but not the use,
of the faculties that have been gifted to humankind. Silence is useful
because you gather your thoughts when you practice it. Your spirit has
more freedom and can enter into more intimate communication with
us. However, a vow of silence is absurd. Those who view these voluntary
deprivations as acts of virtue are prompted by a good intention, but
they make a mistake in doing this because they do not truly understand
The vow of silence, as the vow of isolation, deprives human beings
of the social interactions that provide the opportunities of
doing good and fulfilling the law of progress.
773. Why is it that, in the case of animals, parents and children forget each
other when the latter no longer need to be cared for?
“Animals live a physical life and not a moral life. The tenderness
of the mother for her young is prompted by the instinct of self-preservation
for her offspring. When these beings are able to take care of
themselves, her job is done. Nature asks no more of her, and she abandons
them to busy herself with the next newborns.”
774. Some individuals have inferred, based on the abandonment of young
animals by their parents, that human family ties are merely a result of social
customs, and not a law of nature. What should we think of this?
“Human beings have a different destiny than animals, why do you
always want to make them equals? For humans, there is something beyond
physical needs; they feel an instinctual need to progress. Social
ties are necessary for progress and family ties strengthen social bonds.
This is why family ties are a law of nature. God wants men and women
to learn to love one another as brothers and sisters.” (See no. 205)
775. What would be the effect on society if family ties were relaxed?
“It would lapse into selfishness.”