Juridical Tribune Volume 10, Issue 1, March 2020 37
human group reduced to a “mass” is no longer a society. Totalitarianism created
such groups, which raises the question of their qualification as societies.
To be in the presence of a society, the fact of coexistence must overlap
another phenomenon, which will give the group the definitive character of society.
It is more than just a wish to live together. It is about understanding the need for
cooperation in order to live. Society is more than a group in which people coexist.
Coexistence means only sharing some objective elements: several people, a living
space, etc. It creates a community that is “natural”, in the sense that people do not
add anything to the natural group yet, because their grouping is based on the
natural fact of birth, on the natural fact of living on a soil, on the natural fact of
meeting together the primary needs of life (finding food, protection from predators,
etc.), conditions fulfilled by all animal groups, not just the human ones. If we want
human society to be different from the animal group, we must understand that
society is more than a natural community. Humans must add “something” to the
natural community to overcome the status of animal group. Even if, for the
moment, we do not analyze what this “something” is, we can still draw a
conclusion: society is a “creation”; humans add “something” to the animal group,
natural coexistence; they create. This “something” can be generically called
“order”. Society is a “created order”. In this particular sense, it is not natural.
The raw material from which order is built are those human creations that
stabilize and perpetuate inter-individual relations: norms. Society differs from the
natural animal group in that it is a created normative order. People’s society is not
a “community”, but the normative binder that “binds” people. This “binder” is not
natural, in the sense that it did not exist within the natural group, the one based on
birth, therefore on blood relations, on a territory, etc. If man went beyond
animality, this happened because he created law and thus, society; a society that is
no longer a mere natural community. When people return to the natural
community, they fall back into the phase of zoological existence, as happened in
the Middle Ages (which Marx rightly described as the “animal history of
mankind”, “its zoology”4) or during the period of Nazism, when people are brought
back to a blood community.
Law cannot disappear without people turning into animals. In this
particular sense, man is by nature a juridical being. To be human, he must create
some form of law. Only the existence of a created normative order (and in this
sense artificial) assures us that we live in a society and not in a group of predators
or a herd of their victims.
The cooperation system within society, as opposed to the coexistence
system within the natural group, must be “fair”, “just”. It is no longer based on any
natural “superiority”, resulting from birth or force, but on a normative order, which
redistributes “forces” and creates “superiorities”, namely hierarchy. In society,
justice is a constitutive element of the group. It is order in action. Justice re-
produces order. The instrument of this just re-production of order, of just
4 K. Marx, Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right (1843), Cambridge University Press, 1970. Ed.
Joseph O’Malley; Translated: Annette Jolin and Joseph O’Malley; Part 5: The Estates §§ 304-307.