The Power of Family

There are many various forces which form and shape society as we know it. The force surrounding that which causes and sustains wealth and power is often considered one of the most puzzling and abstract forms which can be harnessed by mankind. Many strive for wealth - the accumulation of financial leverage, through arduous labor, or strategic conquering of its sources, or manipulation of the many random factors which cause its production. But compared to all of these individually manipulable variables, there is but one single reigning organization which throughout history has been a single common denominator for all examples of continued strength, longevity, and prosperity - a strong family.

In recent years, sociologists have measured the decline in the percentage of society which maintains the "extended family" organization. Some have blamed the continuing emphasis on individuality and self-oriented development. The continued growth of the number of "nuclear family" structures is direct evidence of a lessened commitment towards support of the extended familial ties which were once a great part of American culture. Families whose immediate members once included great-great grandparents and cousins of cousins, now have dwindled down to one or two parents and their immediate offspring. Once considered just the developmental step from being considered a dependent to becoming a provider, children leaving home for their first "real" jobs or extended education now find that single step to be a sign of permanent separation from their parents and family hierarchy.

Transportation technology has enabled family members to spread far apart geographically without concern for complete loss of contact (i.e. everyone is just a phone call away). This has enhanced the ability for the individual who seeks separation and independence to easily pack up and leave the home unit without much regard for travel planning, financial resources, or sociological dependencies. These were the handicaps which may have prevented prior generations from simply disbanding the family structure. One hundred years ago, a son or daughter who had dreams of starting life in the vast frontier areas of the country would have faced numerous basic barriers which would have effectively quelched any practical means of materializing such fantasies. 

In the past, one would have had to consider simple survival requirements such as food and water, protection against the unknown wilderness, and the physical means of getting someplace else. One person on horseback may inspire thoughts of the original explorers of historical renown that scatter throughout our history texts. But in reality, explorers faced such incredible odds against successful completion of such a journey alone, that to even think of undertaking that kind of quest would have been considered sheer insanity and certain death. Thus, courage alone may not have been the central trait which characterized our past conquerors of the frontier; they may have been motivated by factors that were actually somewhat psychotic.

Our present world has no such barriers to travel, whether physical or psychological. Even if one lacks financial means, so much of the land has been populated or tamed by long stretches of concrete road that a single traveller can be transported far and away without much consideration. This available freedom of location is both a symptom of achieving greater awareness and a barrier to intellectual expansion. Conceptually, the ideal form of life is to be able to have limitless abilities and no boundaries to existence. At the same time, one is to freely accept life with and amongst other life without competition or need for status. This latter identity is what often is alienated by the individual who seeks solitude. The explorer seems to be driven towards the frontier because it has never been touched by others, not because he seeks to share it with others. 

The earliest traces of humanity indicate that family structures were vital to survival of communities and of traditions. In some ways, creation of strong bonds between individuals is a logical extension of intelligent growth. With strong bonds comes natural communication paths. These paths allow for the free transmission of thoughts and ideas - basically learned experience. By having an extended family structure, the experience of every generation remains and gets added to the newest generation's experiences. The family as a whole gains more and more resources with which to deal with new challenges encountered by its youngest members.

The motivation behind organizing as a family unit probably stems from the pack behavior patterns of early wildlife societies. Pack formation is related to specialization of individual members of a group. At the coarsest level, this development of certain traits over others is shown as separation on the basis of gender. Females become hunter/providers for the family or pack unit; males become protectors/competitors within the same. Pack societies often develop a specific individual which acts as the leader for the whole group. This is generally chosen by physical superiority - leading eventually to genetic selection of favored physical power and stamina. As the behavior patterns stray from basic instinctual behavior towards patterns involving free choice and possibly intelligence, gravitation towards favoritism of genetically related individuals predominates. Separate first or second generation family structures evolve within the general pack organization. Additional territorial protectionism segments the pack into separate family units. As individualism increases in priority over basic genetic selection, the family unit decreases in scope to encompass only single generations of related individuals. This is the "nuclear family" referred to earlier.

The tendency towards nuclear family structures is less prevalent within the european countries and asiatic regions than in the North American continent. Thus a possible related condition to family division could be the cultural integrity of the social structure being measured. The U.S. is one of the "youngest" nations in comparison to the rest of the world. Even the newest political divisions within the Eastern Europe region have cultural roots extending back at least 500 to 1000 years. The constant intermix of cultural values in the U.S. is another possible contributor to the relaxation of familial values. Presence within the U.S. is an indication of the individual's pride in unitary freedom and democracy - both of which are somewhat alien to the concepts which hold families together. Family strengths stem from common belief systems and powerful monarchal leadership.

Theoreticians have predicted that the natural progression beyond the nuclear organization is that of the matrix cellular organization - a structure wherein the individual units are so specialized that they no longer function separately, but must be maintained within a complex interrelated colony of individuals each interdependent upon the others for support and life sustenance. This evolved form of societal organization mitigates the importance of the individual within the society in favor of advancing the social organization as a whole. The dedication towards mass progress rather than individual gain strengthens the entire society, treating it more as a huge family unit instead of a grouping of smaller family units. This is the type of structure seen in most post-industrial age cultures, such as Japan and the unified Germany. One explanation may be the observation that most highly democratized nations have very high levels of productivity, but are unable to sustain these levels over an extended time. Individual greed and corruption eventually takes its toll requiring higher and higher levels of central regulation in order to prevent any one individual from controlling the entire mass population. This is a natural outgrowth from the concentration of economic wealth and power.

The strength in family organizations comes from the ability to pool and concentrate resources of its components. While a single individual can achieve great power and influence, the increased leverage of an organized group of individuals is unrefutibly superior to amassing financial stability. Specifically advantageous over normal iconic groupings, the family structure has internal controls and alliances which often are more powerful than capitalistic greed or vice. There exists a genetic contract of sorts which anneals the family members to provide common pooled support even in the face of ethical deviation. In weakened families, the tendency of its members to act individually rather than responsibly is more apparent than in a strong, unitized family.

Religions have also stressed the importance of family at both a genetic and a philosophical level. Members of organized sects are considered part of a larger adoptive family comprised of its religious leader as its figurehead and a matrixed staff structure whose hierarchy is based upon the strength of each member's belief in the gospel. Although the mores against intermarriage are not usually observed within a religion-based family structure, most other common principles of allegiance, protection, and acceptance are exercised. Thus in a culture which is experiencing degraded genetic family values, religion begins to play a surrogate role to its individuals. Also, involvement of religion within a weakened genetic family can provide the additional moral support needed to produce a viable extended family organization through the following generations.

Within the Foundation organizational matrix, particular attention has been paid towards the creation of a synthetic familial hierarchy. Members are specialized in function but only to an extent that they provide reinforcement to the overall structure by providing their unique specialties. The corporation, as a whole, functions with a unified purpose and specific moral and ethical philosophy underlying its operations. Individual gains and interests are pursued based upon their contributory significance to the corporate shell. Individual needs have been satiated through the various benefit programs in order to concentrate the effective output solely towards obtaining the organizational goals. Members are protected from external scrutiny by their alliance with the organization. The Foundation employs the unified strengths of its membership to provide the most effective form of service organization to its Clients. Traditional service organizations are based upon financial efficiency. The Foundation, in comparison, can afford to operate based upon combined effectiveness since the direct costs of operation have all been fixed. Realigning the mix of contributing members to a project does not impact its performance cost. By maintaining a constant optimal selection of the best people for the job, each project can be completed using the least time required, thus consolidating the single cost variable involved - schedule.