Ok so I’m a physics geek. And one of the things we learned was how atoms or particles following simple laws for their individual motion, would result in the properties that we touch and feel in the materials of our every day world.
Think of an ocean wave. Each molecule of water is just responding to some simple forces from its nearby H2O buddies. But the collective behavior of billions of them is a smooth breaking wave exploding into an orchestra of bubbles and droplets cascading on the beach.
What about people and societies. Can we describe the society that we want to have, and then work out what principles for individuals would result in this society?
Obviously this is oversimplified – just a way to think about things. Its not “society first”. A primary goal of the society is to have specific individual freedoms and protections. So the society is “designed” based on what we want for individuals.