"Lesson one: Zeus is bullshit."
It was around this time that the English philosopher Thomas Hobbes came up with a thought experiment. First, he described a version of the world before laws and society, which he called the state of nature. Hobbes' state of nature looks like one big rugby scrum, with everyone fighting and killing and trying to have sex with each other before their reproductive organs are rendered useless from blunt trauma (we're not overly familiar with the rules of rugby). While that version of existence might have been objectively awful, it was the only time in human existence when everyone was totally and completely free. Without laws, everyone had the right to everything.
To get from that version of existence to the one we're all familiar with, Hobbes speculated that those people must have agreed to what he called the social contract -- you give up your right to drop an anvil on your neighbor and take his stuff in exchange for things like personal safety and the expectation that people will follow a reasonable moral code.
Suddenly that Ben Franklin quote doesn't seem so pithy.
This process seems like a foregone conclusion to us today. Of course life got better when we decided to live together as one big happy society! Only Branch Davidians and the Unabomber would doubt such a thing. But when you look at the movies that we go to see each year, it starts to seem like we secretly regret the hell out of signing the social contract and long to return to the rugby scrum. For instance, every post-apocalyptic movie from zombie flicks to Mad Max takes place in Hobbes' state of nature. The apocalypse is just an excuse to destroy the social contract before the movie even starts.