The journey of societal evolution has been a constant interplay of actions and reactions aimed at establishing the internal stability and external equilibrium of human group structures. This dynamic has played out throughout human evolution—first in clans, then in tribes and feudalistic states, and now in democratic nations.
The era of clans, also known as the era of hunter gatherers, is characterised by survival consciousness. Every day of their existence these tiny human group structures were faced with issues of survival: survival against the elements, survival against hunger, and survival against incursions from other clans infringing on their territory.
The era of tribes, also known as the era of agrarianism, is characterised by relationship consciousness. Your safety and survival could only be guaranteed if you belonged to a tribe. Living on your own, or in a small family grouping was not an option if you lived in tribal lands. Loyalty and allegiance to the tribe was the price you paid for your personal and family safety.
The era of feudalism, also known as the medieval era, is characterised by self-esteem consciousness. This was the era of individuals striving for power and authority through empire building. Tribalism restrained individualism through a complex web of relationship rules administered by the tribal chiefs. The tribe was always more important than the individual. Feudalism reversed this situation. It allowed the most powerful individuals to become more important than the tribe. Eventually, religion intervened and for a number of centuries “God” became more important than the monarch (e.g. The powerful influence of Christianity and Islam on the politics and leadership of nations).
The era of democratic nations, also known as the Age of Enlightenment is characterised by transformation consciousness. The Age of Enlightenment is not represented by a movement or school of thought; it is represented by a set of values, which at their core question traditional institutions, customs and morals. It represents the concept of individuation at a societal level.
As you cast your eye across the world you can observe nations that principally operate from relationship consciousness (most of Sub-Saharan Africa), nations that principally operate from self-esteem consciousness (parts of the Middle East), and you can observe nations that are attempting to live at the transformation level of consciousness (nations with democratically elected Governments with minimal manipulation by elites).