A human society is a group of people related to each other through continued relations, or a large social grouping sharing the same geographical or virtual territory, same interests, subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations. Human societies are characterized by patterns of relationships (social relations) between individuals who share a distinctive culture and institutions. A given society may be described as the sum total of such relationships among its constituent members. In the social sciences, a larger society often evinces stratification and/or dominance patterns in subgroups.
In so far as it is collaborative, a society can enable its members to benefit in ways that would not otherwise be possible on an individual basis; both individual and social (common) benefits can thus be distinguished, or in many cases found to overlap. A society can also consist of like-minded people governed by their own norms and values within a dominant, larger society. This is sometimes referred to as a subculture, a term used extensively within criminology: an organized group working together having a common interests, beliefs, or profession.
More broadly, a society may be described as an economic, social, or industrial infrastructure, made up of a varied collection of individuals or subgroups. Members of a society may be from different ethnic groups. A society can be a particular ethnic group, such as the Saxons; a nation state, such as Bhutan; or a broader cultural group, such as a Western society. The word society may also refer to an organized voluntary association of people for religious, benevolent, cultural, scientific, political, patriotic, or other purposes. A "society" may also be a group of social organisms such as an ant colony, or any cooperative aggregate such as, for example, in some formulations of artificial intelligence.
is the capacity to endure through renewal, maintenance, and sustenance, or nourishment, in contrast to durability, the capacity to endure through unchanging resistance to change. For humans in social systems or ecosystems, sustainability is the long-term maintenance of responsibility, which has environmental, economic, and social dimensions, and encompasses the concept of stewardship
, the responsible management of resource use
. In ecology
, sustainability describes how biological systems remain diverse
, robust, and productive over time, a necessary precondition for the well-being of humans and other organisms
. Long-lived and healthy wetlands
are examples of sustainable biological systems. Robust, diverse, productive ecosystems
and environments provide vital resources and processes (known as "ecosystem services
"). There are two major ways of managing human impact on ecosystem services. One approach is environmental management
; this approach is based largely on information gained from educated professionals in earth science
, environmental science
, and conservation biology
. Another approach is management of consumption
of resources, which is based largely on information gained from educated professionals in economics
The Ambassadors (1533) is a painting by Hans Holbein the Younger in the National Gallery, London. As well as being a double portrait, the painting contains a still life of several meticulously rendered objects, the meaning of which is the cause of much debate. The most notable and famous of Holbein's symbols in the work is the skewed skull, rendered in anamorphic perspective, which is placed in the painting's bottom centre. It is meant to be a visual puzzle as the viewer must approach the painting nearly from the side to see the form morph into an accurate rendering of a human skull.
was a prominent Athenian
statesman, orator, and general. The last famous member of an aristocratic family that fell from prominence after the Peloponnesian War
, he played a major role in the second half of that conflict as a strategic advisor, military commander, and politician. During the course of the Peloponnesian War, Alcibiades changed his allegiance on several occasions. In his native Athens in the early 410s BC, he advocated for an aggressive foreign policy, and was a prominent proponent of the Sicilian Expedition
, but fled to Sparta
after his political enemies brought charges of sacrilege against him. In the years that he served Sparta, Alcibiades played a crucial role in Athens' undoing; the capture of Decelea
and the revolts of several critical Athenian subjects occurred either at his suggestion or under his supervision. Once restored to his native city, however, he played a crucial role in a string of Athenian victories that eventually brought Sparta to seek a peace with Athens. He favored unconventional tactics, frequently winning cities over by treachery or negotiation rather than by siege. Alcibiades' military and political talents frequently proved valuable to whichever state currently held his allegiance, but his capacity for making powerful enemies ensured that he never remained in one place for long, and, by the end of the war that he had helped rekindle in the early 410s, his days of political relevance were a bygone memory.
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