When I read about living Cells functions, it was almost impossible to not draw parallels with how our human societies function.
Cells are very much like individual functional organisms. They have their own skin in the form of cell membrane, their own respiratory system in the form of Mitochondria, and in their Nucleus they have set of instructions aka Genes that guides their behaviour. With the help of those genes forming a whole genetic code, they collaborate with other Cells with the same genes, and function together to form a complex organism. Cells keep improving upon their genetic code through mutations, and keep acquiring new abilities, like fighting new germs, adapting to new climate etc. With the improvement in Cells, organisms automatically improve, and keep adapting to newer and newer environments.
Historically, the first Organisms were single cell organisms. Each taking care of itself. With time, these cells learned to start functioning with each other and formed a multi-cell Organism. More time went on, and these Organisms kept becoming more and more complex. Millions and millions of cells bound together with a well functioning genetic code, resulted in more and more complex Organisms. The genetic code kept improving as it kept doing hit and trials against changing external environment. Methods that worked, were permanently encoded in genetic code, and those that didn't worked were discarded.
As one of the first complex organisms, the rulers of the planet were reptiles. They started as an individual organism taking care of itself, like individual cells. They were so devoid of connection between two organisms that even mothers would not care about off-springs after giving eggs. Eventually, they were replaced by new rulers, the Mammals. Mammals show better collaboration. An interesting new behaviour, Love had its origins with Mammals. With more complexity, Mammals not only showed Love and Collaboration between blood relations, but even took it to a broader group. Wolves, and primitive Apes were good examples. More collaboration, more complex relationships, better favour with evolution.
Then one complex Organism was created, the homosapien.
Homesapiens took it to another level , they started forming Tribes. These tribes were bound together with the help of Behavioural laws. These behavioural laws are like Genetic code for a Sapiens to stick together. Let us call each unit of behaviour a Meme, and collection of these behaviours as Memetic code. Interestingly, Memes have now acquired a new meaning in this socai media times, but this concept is much earlier than that.
The genetic code resides in the chromosomes in Cell nucleus. The Memetic code resides in the homosapien's memories.
To ensure Memes get followed, another Meme got created in the Meme, there shall be a keeper of the Meme, the Court. A new abstraction. Tribes that had fitter Memes survived, the tribes with poorer Memes got destroyed or got absorbed in societies with better Memes. As hit and trials improves genetic code, the hit and trial of clash of civilisations improves the memetic code. For example, a tribe that maintains Meme of keeping trained warriors, clashed with a tribe that doesn't maintain trained warriors, and destroyed it. This kept on happening till all surviving tribes had trained warriors.
Another example, one tribe allowed free flow of male & female relationship, but other tribe introduced the meme of marriages. Eventually the marriage tribe developed better tools & weapons because less of their collective mindshare went into establishing new romances, sufferings of break-ups, envy of other partners etc. And as they had better tools, they conquered and absorbed the marriage-less tribe, and enforced their marriage meme.
More memes, more collaboration requires more communication. Sapiens were suited for this because they created abstraction about their feelings & knowledge - language. With this abstraction, X and Y not only can communicate between them what they feel, but also what the Z feels about X, and W knows about fire etc. And with written words, they also came to know what the P who lived 100 years ago, knew about the world. Memetic code changes are much faster than Genetic changes. This gave Homosapiens a big edge over other animals, which with smaller brains are not great with keeping up Memes.
The Memes are not just legal laws. They encompass everything. Memes of religions, memes of societies, memes of land, memes of cooperation, customs, culture, memes of romantic associations. The tribes keep clashing, killing or absorbing each other. And memes keep getting discarded, modified, absorbed.
As the memes became more and more, they can no longer reside in memory. Thanks to written script and paper, they were written in books, and experts took over. No wonder, every newborn has to spend the first 20 years of his/her life understanding human memes, then only that newly arrived becomes a contributing member of human society.
As single cells became multi-cells and then complex organisms. The Tribes became Kingdoms, Kingdom became Empires, Empires became Nations, and Nations have come together for the United Nations. Human civilisation is becoming one big global complex monoculture society. An amalgam of collective consciousness continuously reacting to events, and gathering new knowledge, new memes?
For further reading
Richard Dawkins Book - The Selfish Gene
Slideshare - Memes & Memetics
Wikipedia - Memetics