Hierarchical structures

Politics, sociology, philosophy, morals, ethics
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BetterWorld
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Hierarchical structures

Post by BetterWorld » Tue May 16, 2017 12:21 pm

Hi everybody

Over the past year, and the last 6 months in particular, I have been through an intriguing philosophical phase. In this process, I have come to question many of the pillars of human societies. And the more I have thought about, the more I get the feeling that somewhere in human evolution our societies took a turn towards a way of interacting that are not in our own best interest.

There are no doubt numerous and complex reasons why societies in many ways are not compatible with who we really are. However, one of the most important, if not the most important, reason is the hierarchical structures that are an integral part of any large society, no matter whether it´s democratic or autocratic.

These hierarchical structures to a very large extent control our lives. Some of them are more fixed and more coercive than others. The laws put down by your government you have to abide to, otherwise you will go to jail. Your job, however, you can still quit.

Yet, no matter where the structures are on the coercive continuum, they impact your life, limit your options and make it harder for you to do what you really want to do. Sure, you can quit your job. But how many do you know that up-and-leave their job, from one day to another, even though it does not make them happy and leaves them unfulfilled? So instead of facing the insecurity of trying to make our own life, we choose to stay in a state of dependency, with employers who prey on this very dependency.

So, in big matters as well as small, man-made structures make it difficult for people to find their own way. This would be fine if we were ants, programmed to live in highly regulated and highly complex social pyramids, with a queen at the top, and where everybody below her knows their place.

The problem, however, is that we of course are not ants. We are humans, homo sapiens, genetically designed to thrive in small communities, bound together by shared goals, but with a lot of freedom for the individual to contribute in the way that matches best with his or her talents.
By writing this, I by no means wish to romanticize our distant past, with all the hardships that it no doubt entailed. Still, when you look at what makes people happy and fulfilled, living in highly regulated nation states, having to abide to rules whose formulation you didn´t have any say in, obeying people you didn´t elect and having to fit into roles that only very vaguely resemble the person you really are and the person you could be – this, clearly, is not it.

So the way I see it, hierarchical structures are one of the main obstacles in realizing the human potential. And breaking them down, and replacing them with horizontal collaboration and individual freedom, is absolutely key. Not just for our own selfish sake, as a race. But for the sake of the rest of the world as well.

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crow
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Re: Hierarchical structures

Post by crow » Tue May 16, 2017 4:50 pm

I could see this coming a mile off.

BetterWorld
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Re: Hierarchical structures

Post by BetterWorld » Wed May 17, 2017 9:48 am

I should also add that my opposition towards hierarchical structures does not equate to opposition towards doing things in a certain way. For most projects in life, you need to go about it in a certain way - that is true in an logical, objective sense - in order to accomplish the task. If you build a house, you need to do it in a certain way. If you want to build a nuclear power plant, you need to go about it in a certain way. That is also the reason that if you want a house or a power plant built, you bring in an experienced carpenter and nuclear engineers.

So opposition to hierarchy is not an opposition to knowledge. Similarly, opposition to hierarchy does not mean that you should not listen to people with more knowledge on a topic than you either. If you are a city slicker taking a weekend hike in the wilderness, you would probably be well advised to listen to the experienced guide´s instructions. And if you are a child, growing up in a stable family setting with responsible parents, in most cases you will benefit from listening to your parents, because they know more about the world than you.

Instead, opposition to hierarchy is an objection to obeying people with no legitimate claim to authority. Parents not questioning the way teachers treat their kids. Employees not stepping up to their boss, when he treats a coworker unfairly. People not questioning the government that they didn´t elect. All those, and so many more, are examples of illegitimate authority in man-made societies, and the typical response of ordinary people most of the time - which is to do nothing.

It is not surprising that people in most cases don´t rebel. Because it is easier to obey. And because the authority will try to punish you, if you stand up to them. But if everybody did nothing all of the time, nothing would ever change for the better.

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Re: Hierarchical structures

Post by crow » Wed May 17, 2017 6:39 pm

You've never experienced actual authority, the proof of which is that you are able to rebel against it.
Actual authority would not permit that for very long, and you'll find, by and by, that the very thing you rebel against, will re-manifest itself as a direct result of your rebellion.

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Re: Hierarchical structures

Post by Entity » Wed May 17, 2017 11:40 pm

A lack of hierarchy is like an anarchy:
Impossible. People will always assume leadership out of human nature.
"A penny saved is a penny you keep." -Me

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