The Epic Shift In Human Evolution
Apes were threatened with extinction by deteriorating climates and declining birthrates at the time hominins first appeared. A transformative evolutionary mechanism occurred in which the dominance–submission interaction characteristic of ape groups combined into the single group-selected entity of obedience to the evolved authority of groups. In a process similar to sexual selection,* two or more of the dominance mentalities of individuals evolved the capacity to select in one another (by mating and/or by association) the trait of obedience (derived from their submissive mentalities) resulting in their combined authority (derived from their dominance mentalities). Instead of dimorphic** individuals like males and females, the dimorphic mentalities of dominance and submission underwent this evolutionary process. Thus the social structure of hominins was due to a decisive-and-then-stable shift in the level of selection: from individuals (for fitness) to the associations between individuals (for fecundity).
This punctuated metamorphosis greatly strengthened the power of groups in relation to the individuals within them. From that point on, the hominin struggle was waged by groups striving for fecundity by attempting to suppress the disruptive struggle for individual fitness within them. The ape-consciousness comprised of the motivation for individual dominance was actively suppressed by a new hominin consciousness of a communal mind consisting of obedience to a collective authority motivated to suppress dominance. The foundational function of authority is to maintain justice, analogous to an immune system, sufficient to enable close coordination in monogamous groups. Hominin groups functioned as organisms far more so than eusocial insects(†) because of continuous real-time communication between all members of a group. Morality had to be constantly “tended” by the maintenance of justice in each generation.
*Sexual selection is natural selection to select a trait in the opposite sex, such as the peacock tail.
**Dimorphic refers to 2 different forms in a species, like male & female, or, in the mental sphere, the dominance and submission mentalities.
† Highly social “eusocial” insects like ants, wasps, bees, and termites are the most successful of all insect species, just as we are the most successful primate species.