Society, in general, is becoming over-socialized and hedonistic. I've been observing the "big city" here for a year now, and found that most of the social groups only exist to complain about others. There is no exchange of knowledge or ideas--the bulk of the time is spent complaining about other social groups, or the members of the social group that are not present. Even at the fitness center, I am always hearing women on the treadmill yacking, "Well, then Shirley had the nerve to tell Pat that Mary said she couldn't cook, even if she was sleeping with Brenda's ex-boyfriend who was a chef." (I think they get more points for each level of indirection.)
A lot of this is a result of over-socialization, where society is simply doing too much for the individual and taking away the control of over their own survival, resulting in hedonism--to try to feel alive. I suggest reading Industrial Society and Its Futureon the main site (log in first), and get an understanding of what the author calls the "power process."
I did an analysis on social systems, some years ago: History of Social Systems and have found that we've drifted somewhat from the traditional concept, primarily due to the degenerating quality of education.
I find that my personal difficulty in working together with others is over-socialization, which is probably why I am antisocial. If you look at the table in the referenced paper, the Social System:
- Gives life predictability.
- Keeps new learning to a minimum.
- Forces interaction through competition, conflict and exchange (systems of rivalry).
Considering this from an ethical perspective, I have these "internal rules" that I try to run my life by:
- Say what you mean, and mean what you say.
- Duty, honor and responsibility go together.
- Honor any commitment you make. In other words, be true to your word--if you SAY you will do something, DO IT. This is probably the #1 failing I've seen with people over the course of my life. Many people will make a commitment, then dishonor it.
- Engaging in rapport means you have a duty to assist others.
- Take responsibility for your actions. If you make a mistake--don't hide it, fix it.
- Use compassion in all your decisions.
- Be moderate (or conservative) in your use of resources. That way, there is always a surplus.
- Leave things in better condition than you found them.