Social Convention and Samuel Butler's Erewhon

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Social Convention and Samuel Butler's Erewhon

There are many conceivable explanations that have the potential to

rationalize the preservation of society through time. These

explanations clarify the fact that society, since its inception, has

continued to exist. I assert that the precise reason for this

self-perpetuation is convention, and moreover, that convention

encompasses all of the other possible explanations for this

continuance. Yet this conclusion merely follows from proper

distinctions of terminology. Real profundity stems from the

examination of convention in relation to individuals who follow it. I

find that many individuals are not cognizant of the fact that society

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Thus, convention is a requirement of society.

Members of a given society must agree upon basic principles to be able

to share them. In American society, the use of English as a common

language, the use of dollars as an exchange for goods and services and

the use of traffic lights as a means for order are all conventions.

Mostly everyone who drives agrees that when a traffic light is red, it

means stop. When people stop following this convention, car accidents

occur. On a much broader scale, if people stopped following the

conventions of English as a common language and dollars as an exchange

for goods and services, American society would fall apart.

When usually speaking about convention and society, individuals

usually converse about religion and hand shaking, not language. Yet

one must realize that language is just as much a convention as hand

shaking is. Language is a general agreement about basic principle,

how to communicate verbally. Furthermore, I assert that religion and

hand shaking are not essential elements of the framework of American

society while English and dollars are. This distinction is often

overlooked and must be clarified.

If tomorrow,

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