Since the earliest times, man is known to have lived in society. Even when he was not so civilized, he lived in the company of his fellow beings whether his society started with his family, tribe, group or a combination of them. Plato said that society is essential for life while Aristotle improved on this expression by saying that society is essential for good life. Without society, it is impossible for humans to have the basic necessities like food, clothing and shelter. Society was needed even by the primitive people. Their dependence on society went on gradually increasing with time so that, in due course, they gave up their nomadic life and started living a family life.
Once man learned to live in effective social groups he became superior to all beasts, but his dependence on the uncontrolled bounty of nature limited his chances of survival. Hunting wild animals and gathering wild vegetable foods could support about one human being per 10 square miles of territory, and even this small population was often threatened by droughts and the natural disasters. The situation changed abruptly when groups of men living in favored parts of the earth entered a stage of communal living. They made certain plants and animals, part of the human groups, establishing a symbiotic relationship. That is, these people became farmers and herdsmen.
Symbiosis with plants and animals gave social man a large and dependable food supply and started him towards developing his higher civilization. But it placed new demands on cooperative effort and required communities more highly organized than those of hunters. The result was diversity of human groupings. People began to live in several different kinds of associations, each characterized by behavior pattern related to its size, to meet the varied needs imposed by agriculture and, later, by industry. The types of human communities now so familiar around the world quickly evolved.
Now, an individual and his society are interdependent and essential for each other's existence. The problem that has haunted philosophers is whether the society has any right to regulate an individual's conduct and behavior, or allow the individual to have free expression and action. It has been rightly observed that man is a social animal not only by nature but also by sheer necessity, right from the day he sees the light of this world till his death. Even before his birth an individual needs a society to facilitate his healthy arrival and cordial welcome to the fold of humanity.
State is the most important political institution of society that looks after the material and spiritual interests of its individuals. Each nation-state today adopts what is called a constitution to regulate the behavior and activity of most of its nationals. Sometimes called the "basic law of society", the constitution describes the fundamental responsibilities of the state in regard to the functioning of the society as a whole. It establishes the form of government at the center, in the regions, districts and villages in the country for its governance, it also prescribes the outlines of powers and privileges of different wings (executive, legislature and judiciary) of the government together with the mutual relationships among them. It enumerates the basic objectives which govern the formulation of policies and programs of the state for the good of its individual citizens. The constitution also lays down the basic rules to regulate the behavior of individuals among themselves and towards the state and society.
The basic law of a society very often puts limitations on the liberty of the citizens of the state and prevents them from harming the interests of other individuals for selfish gain, either by exploitation, economic or social or by material or physical injury. In return for this restraint on his liberty, the state gives to the individual numerous facilities of citizenship. These facilities include the right to vote and elect political leaders at different levels, enjoy the social benefits of corporate living like the amenities of clean drinking water, street sanitation, electricity, roads, public transport, security of life, medical care etc., as well as the right to individual belongings and working opportunity based on merit and capability.
In recent decades the state has further expanded its role in society with a view to serve its citizens with more and more material and spiritual benefits arising from mutual cooperation. This has made the life of individuals, and thereby of societies, more comfortable, interesting and purposeful. In recent societies, the idea of social atomism has come up.
According to atomists, a social atom is an indivisible unit of society and the whole society is made up of such social atoms or living units. The social atom is essential for the whole society and the society is essential for the very existence of its social atoms.Keeping in view the enhanced and better role of state in the lives of the individuals, it is important that Afghanistan must also strive to develop a state that protects the rights of the individuals and provide them different facilities, while the individuals must respond in the same manner by carrying out activities that should prove positive for the state as a whole.