Origins: Out of Eden into Society
Man is native to Africa, and is elsewhere an immigrant. Only Africa knew a native population. It first appeared in that relatively small area in the east and to the south, the remainder of the continent and all lands beyond open to exploration, to be claimed by the first groups of modern humans to reach them. There were, then, many first peoples to claim new territory, but as a species no truly native peoples outside of Africa.
From the journey out of Africa to the present, the dynamic pattern of migration and settlement has been a basic condition of human existence. As much as the concept of a people in their homeland may express a current reality that reaches far into the past, it still must find its ultimate origin in the migrations of distant ancestors who would bear the scantest resemblance to those living today. That homeland likely changed in size and location, as its people flourished and expanded out into neighboring territory, perhaps gaining both land and population at the expense of another people, or land and population lost in the same manner.
The motivations for migration are many and varied, involving the push-pull factors of resources, environmental changes, economics, and social conditions. The nature of those motivations might better be understood in the context of two concepts, broadly, the voyage of discovery and the march of conquest. These are not mutually exclusive, and may serve fully together as well as separately.
The desired result these two concepts have in common is to establish some kind of claim, the expressed or understood right to a place, its resources, rule, or identity. Hypothetically, if a first claim is made to virgin territory by a group unknown to the rest of humanity, it will be a claim that can only be recognized within the group. Apart from the hypothetical, claims will be declared to the broader world, acknowledged as legitimate or not, and if the entirety of history is any guide they will be challenged. From tribe to empire, groups of all size and polity will make or contest a claim. How the competing parties interact and in what manner claims or rights are established is the subject at hand, part of the content to the What described by the Principle.
It naturally follows that contact between parties or their claims results in some form and combination of dispute and agreement over rights to a place–in the language and context of the Principle, these are Conflict and Convention. With two or more parties contesting rights to the same place, arriving at terms over who will hold what rights will necessarily work out within the parameters of Conflict and Convention. Settlement and Migration respectively express the ongoing and temporary uses of a place, and also encompass the necessary conditions of how a place is used, whether as homeland, object of conquest, or route of transit, for whatever period of time.
Aristotle is famously known for saying that Man is a political animal. By this he meant that as a species we are naturally social, and that the polis, the city-state in his time, but more broadly the family, band, tribe, or state—that is, the community—is the natural aim of human society, living together for mutual benefit. Contrary to Hobbes and Rousseau, this is Man in the State of Nature, a society with rules and customs. For there to be Settlement and Migration, Conflict and Convention, and a concept of Rights, understood and adhered to, there must be a Who that is a party making a claim to a place. A natural individual or a society speaking as one must understand and agree to claims and rights. These are all human constructs, through whatever authority of natural or human law they are created. And, resolving claims is a people problem, as are most of life’s problems. Rights of Settlement and Migration are established through Conflict and Convention. As a human construct, a people problem, it is a matter of what can be agreed upon and enforced by law or arms. Before moving on to specific examples of the Principle at work, we first turn to Chapter 2 for a grounding in the underlying theory.