Social Basis of Primitive Life:
In the previous section, we gave you a glimpse of how the primitive human beings faced the problems of day to day existence and found some solutions. As their material life became organised by the invention of tools, the discovery of fire and some protection against natural elements, their social life also evolved. Language, customs and rituals emerged as the social basis of primitive life. We will now briefly describe some features of their social life.
Language: Language must have originated as several individuals in a group cooperated in hunting and other activities related to food gathering. There must have been highly specialised sounds specific to each group. As the groups started the process of exchanging surplus food. certain standardisatidn of spoken word became necessary to ensure better communication. The specialisation meant special terms for specific animals and plants available locally. The general conceptual terms, such as 'animal' for all types of animals, and 'tree' for all types of trees came much later. We can easily surmise this by studying the complicated grammar and words of tribal languages spoken even to this day. This feature is also shared by Sanskrit, Greek and Finnish languages. The word 'colour', for example, originally meant 'red", the colour of blood. It was only later that yellow, blue, green etc. also came to be called 'colours'. The transition from specialised to general language also meant a trend towards abstraction. This led to the use of symbols. Very soon man had to let one word stand for many different things. We have already mentioned above, the examples of 'animal', 'tree' and 'colour'. Similarly, verbal symbolisation also came to be used for feelings, emotions and ideas.