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Diversity is patent to human societies. There are as many forms of beliefs, ideologies and life styles as there are people believing in them. We are divided by geography, language, religion, morals, and set of laws, among many others, each of which adding to what is already a diversified society. In this respect, the ancient sophists were correct in saying that (human) reality is one of relativism. We differ in the way we see things and we disagree in almost all things, because we each think that we are measures of truth.
However, in order to survive we have to live together. But selfish beings that we are, our togetherness brings about trouble; we differ about myriads of things and we fight about these differences. The human society is a delicate balance of these two antithetical elements – togetherness and self-interest. The tension between the two, if not carefully balanced, may rip the society apart. An imbalance may cause serious, if not disastrous, consequences. Riots, demonstrations, and strikes which are among the less violent ones, may spring out from an imbalance. Or, under worse cases, bloody revolutions and wars may be brought about that may destroy, not just lives, but also the established institutions which from the beginning enabled social unions to exist. Our existence is essentially one of conflict; and our history is replete of these events as these are immanent in human societies.
But although conflict is inevitable, we want order. Politics works to this effect. It is our way of putting order to our world of bewildering complexity. It is the way in which we understand and order our social affairs, and acquire greater control over the situation. It is that through which we maintain cooperation among people with different needs and ideals in life, or through which we resolve the conflict within the group, whether this is a family, a tribe, a village or a nation-state.
Giving politics a clear-cut definition is, however, difficult. The definitions above are very broad, if not vague, descriptions of politics. What will therefore follow is a series of explanations about the essential features of politics, which features include some of the broadest and most fundamental concepts – power, authority, and justice.
Politics as Order
Politics is about how human society is ordered. A study of it therefore requires a study of how such aggregate is so ordered.
The human society has three levels of social orders: the community, the government, and the nation-state.
A community is one kind of social order composed of individuals who share a common identity. This identity is usually defined by geography, sense of common purpose, and a single political allegiance. The purpose of its existence is to meet the essential human needs which cannot be met singly by its members. Such functions include security from enemies, cultural enrichment, economic prosperity, and the like.
Now, what maintains and perpetuates the community is the political order familiarly known as the government. It has three basic forms: monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy. Monarchy is the rule of one man (king); Aristocracy, by a selected few; and democracy, by the people. These forms of government will be discussed in a separate section.
 B. Ponton and P. Gill, Politics, Introduction. (New York: Basil Blackwell, 1982), p.6.
 Amable G. Tuibeo, “Politics and Governance: A Critical Introduction (Makati: Grandwater Publication, 1998), p . 1.
 Thomas M. Magstadt & Peter M. Schoten, “Understanding Politics: Ideas, Institutions, & Issues. (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1988), p. 4.