Animals are organisms that have three primary functions. Those would be, to survive, to consume, and to reproduce. Humans are a social animals, and thus have an extra function in addition to the other three, and that would be social order.
The Human animal, once created, lives to survive. To survive it must consume resources for energy. Much of what it consumes becomes, "waste" or that which is unusable to the Human animal. The Human animal must also reproduce so as to continue the species.
Individual human animals come together in order to increase their chances of survival, possess and protect areas of resources so they could be consumed later, and to increase opportunities for reproduction. However, since not all Human animals are created equal, a hierarchy forms in which those that possess favorable traits can obtain more resources and/or chances to reproduce than those who do not have those favorable traits. Thus two important constructs come into being, control and power.
There are ultimately only three ways in which to truly control Human animals. The first is to control the limited resources which they wish to consume. This isn't limited to just food, but also includes water, land, fossil fuels, etc. Unbeknown to a lot of people, freedom is a resource. It can be granted or taken away, and it is limited. One favored method of controlling those who don't comply with social order is to restrict their freedom. Another limited resource is education. Restricting and controlling this particular resource has countless implications. Inheritance demonstrates an alternative control of resources, where they can be passed down to an individual's offspring.
The second is to control reproduction. One of the earliest such methods for doing so was marriage, which allowed a male to ensure the paternity of his children by possessing females. Also, by restricting the pleasure people obtain from reproduction, people have been able to control how much sex people have. One method is the cutting away of the genitals as demonstrated even today in present Africa. Another method was to make people ashamed of the reproductive act, which has been a favorite method of religious institutions.
The final method of controlling humans has been to determine which survive. By killing off competing bands of humans, Human animals can greatly increased their chances for survival. The death penalty is another example of this form of control.
Those who have control, have power. Power ensures an individual's place in the social order. This is best demonstrated by the concept of a lineage, where power can be passed on to an individual's offspring.
The Human animal has developed a substantial superego in order to best maintain their spot in the social order by complying with those who have power over the limited resources. However, this superego often deludes the Human animal into the conception that ideals and beliefs have significant meaning. Ultimately, I propose the only things that have true meaning to the human animal are resources to be consumed, the opportunity to reproduce, and the necessities to survive to accomplish those goals.