Society is indeed constituted of social contracts; there is no other sort of contract; so that “social contract” is redundant; to say “society” is to invoke contracts, and vice versa. A contract is literally a “drag together” People work together to drag things from here to there, which they could not alone easily budge; they coordinate their activities in search of common ends.
But obviously any such contract supervenes the society in which alone it can have any … traction. No prevenient society, no contract enacted therein.
In just the same way, the animal body is constituted of cells. But the animal, in virtue of whom there is an animal body, is far more than a temporary agglomeration of similar cells in a vicinity. Were it not for the animal of which they are the constituent cells, there could be no constitution to which the cells anywise contributed. The cells would be on their own, left each to his own devices, and without support from any fellows. So they would all immediately die.
So likewise a bunch of dyadic social contracts could not by themselves generate a society. In the absence of such a society, they would all immediately wither, and perish. For, they would all of them be no more than transient adventitious adaptations to the flux of experience. There would be in them influent no transcendent order. They would, that is to say, be relatively chaotic, and discoordinate.
In the utter absence of social order, it could make no sense to undertake any contract. There would then be no such things.
When we consider even an isolate and evanescent dyadic contract between two utter strangers, we are as honest investigators duty bound not to overlook the basic, essential and universal human impulse toward agreement. No such isolate dyadic contract could be even conceivable in its absence. In that case, no two strangers could even think that they might work together, rather than at odds with each other. In the absence of the social impulse in man, each human would be to every other as strange, careless and cruel as the weather.
Indeed, less so; for, every man with even a bit of wit feels himself to be in some more or less coordinate relation to the weather. Necessarily so: to be human just is to be weathered, and to be more or less fitted to the winds. What is the alternative, forsooth? Who might prevail, against the weather? A fool, perhaps, only, and then only in the fond imaginations of his heart.
Men are far more to each other, even as total strangers, than any of them are to the winds and weather (may God bless them, and keep them; no offense). Society is baked into us. We cannot begin to be human without it. The explanation of society, then – and of all its organs, and of all its instruments, such as contracts – is that men are so made as to love each other. The loveless cold cruel alternative is chaos, and death.
What lives is coordinate, and thus an instance of social love.