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Re: [seerseeker] Do we naturally form hierarchies?

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  • Bhanu Padmo
    (Fuss about Equality and Freedom : Dynamic Pivot of Discretionary Hierarchy)   Does anybody desire straightaway after equality really? Does anybody fancy
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 16, 2013
      (Fuss about Equality and Freedom :

      Dynamic Pivot of Discretionary Hierarchy)


      Does anybody desire straightaway
      after equality really? Does anybody fancy freedom straightaway really? Or, the
      fuss about equality and freedom is simply superficial! To realize this, we may
      have to undertake the pain of thinking – thinking about the making of the emotion
      of equality and that of the emotion of freedom.


      That isn*t very
      difficult to achieve. Coziness that we are so fond of could easily surpass the desire
      for equality. In other words, the sense of compatibility and complementarity is
      the emotion that primarily pervades our various considerations every moment.
      Our respective individual cosinesses (desired conditions) aren*t equal at all.


      What is freedom then?
      Is it the psychological phenomenon of everybody*s capability and capacity for
      wishing after the same thing? Or, is it that for wishing after respective
      snuggeries (snug conditions)? To wit, freedom is conditioned by the sense of
      compatibility and complementarity. So we have two forms of freedom viz. indiscriminate/
      implicit/ blind freedom and conditioned/ explicit/ discreet freedom.


      What is the origin of
      the sense of compatibility and complementarity, anyway? Is there any preceding
      phenomenon that conditions this utilitarian sense? Yes. Roughly, it is secularism
      (worldliness, secular outlook) or rather, utilitarianism (utilitarian outlook).
      But where does then the sense of utility emanate from?


      It is the goal-sense
      that creates the futuristic lineage of utilities which are opted out of the
      actualities strewn or buried around us. Do we have any idea about the coming of
      goal-sense? Yes. It is the essence of entity*s epistemic sense and its actual mental
      organization of information. Such enquiry is preceded by the causal and eternal
      emotion of dream. This primal and primordial emotion is the desire to transcend
      the current being (the present) by way of becoming greater-better-higher.


      So where exactly is
      the beginning of the emotion of compatibility and complementarity? If the
      immediate use of this emotion is in finding the optimality (the optimal
      utility), this *entity-universe (neighborhood) interface* has been under
      construction in phases. The preceding phases of optimality (cosiness) or
      utility have been goal, integrated-and-convergent wisdom and dream.


      Thus the conditioning
      phases for equality have been compatibility-complementarity (utility,
      optimality), clarity of goal, discreetly preened wisdom and unrelenting dream.
      This is also the sequence of conditioning phases for freedom.


      Have we thought over
      why it is so; why the entity*s purported sublime sense of equality and freedom
      too need to be conditioned.


      That is quite easy to
      perceive. It is the uniqueness of entity that causes uniqueness of its
      emotional and practical locus and uniqueness of its personal specializations.  


      What does uniqueness
      of every entity connote about the universe? Assuming that all entities are
      interlocked into the singular universal system, it suggests that it is an
      asymmetrical universe with polarization in its every constituency.


      Again, the principle
      of economy of organization suggests that the universe and its unique
      constituents (entities) ought to be *hierarchical* by construction. Since
      hierarchy is a form of asymmetry, both the descriptions about universe and
      entity fit well. But there is a *discretionary* element that mars such a
      prospect of static stability of the universe.


      To understand the
      inherent dynamics of the universal system, we shall take up a koan. It is the
      see-saw koan. You have seen children playing at see-saw device. So you can
      imagine a second see-saw placed upon the first see-saw to make the contingency
      of load stability doubly difficult. Call it double dynamicism of a doubled


      The difficulty of
      managing the contingency of load stability would increase exponentially
      across  tripled see-saw, quadrupled
      see-saw calling for notions of tripled dynamicism, quadruped dynamicism etc. Now
      we can, through this complex scenario, see the *pivotal discretionary act* of
      stabilizing the rising dynamicism.


      Whose discretion could
      be ascribed to the *dynamic pivot*? Assuming that every load (child) of the
      multiple see-saw has the potential participatory discretion, the dynamic pivot
      would belong to multiple eligibles. Thus the *physical hierarchy* of a system is
      reduced to its *essential hierarchy* viz. the hierarchy of dream and


      The notion of
      hierarchy of dream and discretion does connote the superimposed hierarchy of
      differential individual freedom.


      All these are for
      supreme systemic good. The egalitarian ought to understand this. It may be
      noted that egalitarianism isn*t being ruled out in this argumentation. Not a
      bit. Here equality is being defined as equality of opportunity of nurturing and
      implementing own discretion (to protect the dynamic pivot of multiplied
      dynamicism of the universe) while stationed in the integral hierarchy of
      competing mutable individual discretions.


      This is the story of
      the *dynamic pivot of discretionary hierarchy*.



      You may
      reply this thread upon http://in.groups.yahoo.com/group/greenlogic/%c2%a0 as well

      or consign a copy to greenlogic@...   for extended

      --- On Fri, 2/8/13, Laurie <libramoon42@...> wrote:

      From: Laurie <libramoon42@...>
      Subject: [seerseeker] Do we naturally form hierarchies?
      To: "seers and seekers" <seerseeker@yahoogroups.com>
      Date: Friday, February 8, 2013, 11:50 PM


      Do we naturally form
      This is an important
      question for anyone that wishes to live in an egalitarian society. If we
      naturally form hierarchies equality can only exist for a short time or by
      suppressing our natural instincts. And to suppress our natural instincts goes
      against one of the fundamentals of equality. Freedom!
      While reading up on
      this subject researchers and philosophers slot into two distinct interpretations
      of humans past which are based more on preconceived ideologies rather than self
      analysis. One, mainly anthropologists, see early primitive hunter gatherers as
      non-hierarchical, as equal. There was no hereditary title or god given status,
      hierarchies only developed once we formed agrarian civilisations and could
      create a surplus of food. This surplus gave those that possessed the grain
      houses power over those that did not. And soon after hereditary status temples
      and kings developed.
      Others, mainly
      political analysts and sociologists, see even hunter gatherer societies as
      hierarchical. They were patriarchies where the dominant male ruled over his
      children and females and passed on this power to his favoured son. They were
      violent gangs fighting with other tribes for territory and power, subjugating
      women and weaker males. And they see this in our closest cousins the apes, and
      even in flocks of birds and chickens, which is were the term pecking order comes
      from. To them hierarchy is natural in any social creature and observation proves
      I shall try and bring
      these two observations together for there is truth in both. I think the problem
      is partly about the definition of equality and hierarchy and about how and why
      we form groups. Not all groups that look to have an order have the detrimental
      affects of hierarchy.
      First we should look
      at why we desire equality, then why we form groups and then how hierarchies can
      occur, and lastly I’ll look at self organising systems – mobs, for to some they
      were order without hierarchy but unfortunately they display much of a
      hierarchies worst attributes.
      Why we desire
      First I should ask do
      we desire equality? I know I do. I recall when travelling, leaving the order and
      hierarchy of the most celebrated egalitarian country in the world Australia, I
      felt a great levity having freedom. For even in my home built on equality and
      the tall poppy syndrome there are many rules, expectations, and stratum to the
      ladder of achievement and self worth. To go where I wished, to treat everyone I
      met based upon how they treated me, and to be human is the greatest asset of
      human beings. To love others for being same same but different. To be good and
      find so much goodness in others. This is very equal and very lovely. I feel we
      all desire this equality. We all feel more at peace and at home without a
      hierarchy, we adore equality. If you feel different please leave a comment
      below. I could be wrong. But I shall move on with the belief that we desire
      equality because we loathe hierarchy, and there is good reason to loathe
      I have written
      extensively on why hierarchies are bad on this site so I shall just summarise
      in this piece. Those at the bottom of the hierarchy have increased levels of
      stress (cortisol levels) this makes them angry then to compensate for their lack
      of control they release endorphins which make them weak (they put on weight and
      lose confidence), sick (heart disease, decreased immune defences), conservative
      (unwilling to take chances or experiment) and stupid (decreased neurogenesis,
      and connectivity in the brain). The leaders get a testosterone kick making them
      over confident (hubris) lacking empathy (immoral) aggressive (violence and war),
      and short sighted (not literally but they can’t plan for the distant future or
      see the consequences of their actions). We end up with a group which is only
      really capable of going to war and that’s what we end up doing. Or the hierarchy
      collapses catastrophically because it becomes rigid and uninventive, completely
      incapable of adapting to a changing environment. It is the worst possible way to
      organise a society which begs the question why would we evolve to form
      hierarchies when they seem to be the worst way to sustain a group for any great
      length of time.
      Of course Rome lasted
      for centuries and was very hierarchical, as did the British empire although for
      a much shorter time, and the American empire may prove to be the shortest lived
      global empire. These hierarchical societies only staved off collapse by invading
      and absorbing other cultures and resources. Their new ideas came from the
      fluidity of expansion. A lowly clerk from England could move to Africa or
      Australia and get lands and move up the hierarchy, this devolution helped to
      prolong these empires but not indefinitely. Eventually rigamortis sets in and
      they were (are) easy pickings for the new kid on the block. And when you think
      about it America’s reign has really only been 100 years, a mere blink in
      civilised history.* China’s may be far shorter!
      Why we form
      It is generally
      accepted that we are social animals, we naturally from groups. I hate generally
      accepted ideas because once we accept an idea it closes down any analysis or
      conversation about whether the assumption is true or not. Some of us don’t like
      other people much, some like to be alone. People throughout the ages have chosen
      to live on their own, ascetic monks, nomads on the steppes and agoraphobics. But
      we do rely upon the world around us to survive, and we generally have a better
      life when in groups. And there is much evidence to show that connectivity and
      human touching makes us happy, healthy and calm. So it seems forming groups is
      good for most of us. But why do we do it? Well we can achieve more in a group
      than on our own, but most importantly we are born dependent and die dependent. A
      child must be cared for to survive, and when we are sick or old we must rely on
      others for food and care. Without others none of us would be here at all. So I
      think we have a natural (I shall discuss my problems with this word in the next
      section but for now I shall continue to use it) tendency to form groups and
      defer decision making to others. The child has no choice and the adult can
      achieve more security and success with others.
      Equality does not
      mean the same. We all have different aptitudes and physical abilities and
      knowledge. We constantly defer to others who know more than us, we defer to a
      doctor about our health, we defer to our parents on how to bring up our
      children, we defer to the strongest to protect us, we defer to the bravest to
      cross the ragging river first. We defer to meteorologist to predict the weather.
      This deference gives the other power. We also like deferring responsibility,
      sometimes we are not sure, we wander in a fog of options and cannot make up our
      mind and feel making the wrong (this is often the socially wrong) decision will
      harm us, so to defer the decision and the responsibility to another makes us
      more assured. This of course can lead to a further lack of confidence and
      inability to take responsibility for our own choices so we defer again and
      again. We become a weak follower.
      All people defer
      power to others at some point often just through laziness or disinterest. You
      don’t know what to order for dinner so you say to your girlfriend “order for me”
      and she does and your happy with it. Even if your not its her fault you got a
      lousy meal not yours. However the next time you have to make a decision she may
      feel you incapable again and make it for you. This will be the start of a
      division of power. It has moved from one situation to another. She feels
      empowered and you feel you are incapable so either follow again or fight. The
      winner will extend their power. But as a couple you are stronger because while
      she is making decisions for you you can relax and think about your finances or
      you next trip or work all of which she will benefit form. Division of decision
      making makes the group more capable. But if you defer all the time and feel
      weak, unconfident, filled with stress from being dominated you cannot plan while
      she makes decisions for you. You are only a heavy but compliant weight behind
      her choices.
      However I would not
      call deference a hierarchy, if anything it is a soft fluid hierarchy which is
      bottom up. We can choose to follow advice of those we defer to or not, we can
      choose not to defer power but to make decisions ourselves, we can choose. You
      can choose to order a different meal. And groups that work on this bottom up
      deferral system avoid the bad effects of hierarchy. The people deferring power
      don’t feel powerless rather they feel more capable because their friends,
      acquaintances and connections have made them able to do things they would not
      normally have been capable of. And those that are deferred to know that this
      position of power is fleeting because it is situation and mood based, as
      situations and moods change so does the decision maker. So the decision maker
      only gets a minor testosterone boost, enough to make them feel good but not so
      much as to make them overconfident. And often the responsibility can outweigh
      the power and the decision maker can actually become more humble, and thus
      encourage strength and confidence in the other. They wish to share. Both power
      and responsibility.
      Of course the more we
      defer to others, the more we defer to an absolute power. When we defer
      responsibility we see the decision as absolute, authority comes from the
      absolute and therefore is truth. Authority right or wrong proclaims truth and
      having the power over others makes us more absolute in our answers. We desire
      respect. As we defer to others we rely less upon our intuition, our own
      experience. We become less confident about the world we see because we no longer
      test it against our own experience. We loose confidence, we loose self will. To
      learn we must make decisions for ourselves but with reference and sometimes
      deference too others. A wise man learns from the mistakes of others, a smart man
      learns from his own mistakes, and a fool never learns… he follows the
      But these pluralistic
      (many groupings for different situations and purposes) and fluid (ever devolving
      and interacting) groups can easily form a hierarchy which is rigid and
      dangerous, but first I shall talk a bit about words and definitions because the
      word natural gives me shivers.
      The problem with
      Words are abstract
      and rigid. The definitions of words are very personal, influenced by experience
      and perception. Dictionaries like to nail words to the floor, but even their
      definitions change over time. In this sense the way we communicate is much like
      all we create, a rigid form with fluidity all around it. We want the absolute
      truth from an inexact world.
      The word natural is used to imply inevitability, and
      absolute which cannot be questioned because it is ingrained into our genetic
      code. It is who we are. So anything natural must be accepted as the expression
      that will occur with freedom. Firstly our genetic code is not fixed. Evolution
      is the changing of genetic code over generations in response to sexual selection
      and environmental suitability. Even within an individual epigenetics is showing
      the expression of our genetic code, what instructions are turned off or on, is
      influenced by our environment. So even “natural” inclinations do change in
      response to the environment and maybe even our own will.
      So if we say we were
      naturally hierarchical that doesn’t mean we still are naturally hierarchical or
      that will will remain naturally hierarchical. Or vice versa. We change, the
      world changes, things are fluid. This of course makes it very difficult to find
      security from truth. What we end up with is a string of belief based upon a web
      of evidence and self examination. We find the best truth possible for now but
      leave the door open to new information, and are willing to change our mind. I
      might say one of the worst aspects of rigid hierarchies is the inability to do
      that simple task. To change their mind.
      It seems to me people
      have a very poor understanding of equality. It does not mean all
      the same, nor does it mean we all have the same wealth, abilities or aptitudes.
      It was thought to mean that you couldn’t follow, or lead. I think now we use
      equality to mean we are not ruled. To rule is to have the right over another
      life, to be able to chose how another lives, behaves even thinks. And not to be
      questioned by those below. This is what exists in a class or caste system, most
      corporations and even democratic societies. Others make the rules on where you
      can live, how you are to build your house, what is considered smart, what will
      be rewarded with wealth, and even what you wear. This is
      How hierarchies form
      from groups
      So how does a fluid
      group that has individuals deferring to many others and has others defer to them
      form a rigid hierarchical group in which one or a few get to make decisions
      without their asking?
      Lets start with the
      most natural deferral attachment. Parents and children. Parents get to make
      pretty much all the decisions for the baby, although the baby does have some
      quite effective mechanisms to get what they need, from crying, too those big
      baby eyes that make even the harshest man love them. Even this grouping it not
      absolute! As the child grows up the parent allows the child to make more and
      more of their own decisions until they rebel usually around puberty and decide
      to devolve into new groups, usually friends. If the parent moves the early power
      they have over their child into a complete dominance this can make a very weak
      adult who can’t rebel. The parent can withhold affection, they can punish
      strictly they can manipulate to maintain power and this extends what was a group
      into a hierarchy.
      Then this replicates.
      The child will either rebel and try and form their own rigid hierarchy with them
      at the top, or they will remain weak deferring all decisions to a new leader.
      Once the parent is dead, in some cultures this hierarchy is maintained through
      ancestor worship. By deferring to a new authority figure they will create a
      dominate person who will then try to enslave more followers through physical
      strength – they have compliant followers to bash individuals into submission.
      Wealth or emotional manipulation are now more often used.
      Just being aware of a
      hierarchy and your position in it can be enough to well hubris or weakness in us
      all. See someone driving a Astin Martin and you long to be them, hate them and
      respect them all at once. Meet them and you feel small. And the driver feels the
      world and all its inhabitants are mere puppets at the end of his
      As I described before
      once the deference of power has been moved into areas outside a persons
      speciality or is demanded (or just expected) by the one in power testosterone
      and cortisol kick-in to fix the hierarchy. It becomes more rigid and more
      stratified. This tightly bonded hierarchical group makes a formidable foe for
      more fluid groups and they can and do invade and conquer other groups thus
      expanding and replicating the hierarchy. The only way to repel such a force it
      to form your own group. Fear increases, cortisol makes people less inventive and
      more likely to follow a hubristic leader. The most psychopathic amongst us move
      to the top because they do not feel the fear. War is the
      Luck could also play a part. Imagine that
      one person in a fluid group wins the lottery, or finds a wild
      orchard full of free fruit, or kills a buffalo with a lucky spear throw. We
      can’t explain why they have been blessed and not us so we think they have a
      power that we don’t. Nature adorns them with more gifts. At first we beg for
      some of the money, fruit or meat and then we start to follow what ever they do
      because if we act like them and do what they say maybe we to will be blessed. Or
      we just come to a conclusion they are better than we and to do well we should
      follow the lucky – god blessed, one. The hierarchy forms and then it narrows and
      elongates because of the physical and emotional drivers. Then it replicates for
      to gain freedom against a blessed “lucky” leader all we can do is form another
      hierarchy, or mob.
      I also think some
      people, probably a very few have a tendency to weakness – to defer all decisions
      to others, and others also very few to dominance. Some are just inclined to
      follow, and others to a self-confidence that feeds off belittling others. I’m
      sure you can see that these two types of people will find each other and form a
      connection, a very strong bind which will make them stronger than any one
      individual and from here they can expand the hierarchical group by force if
      necessary. Like a tiny cancerous cell finding the perfect host, it invades again
      and again ignoring the future for the immediate rush of power, the invaded cell
      feeds the cancer as a follower feeds a tyrant.
      So we form groups
      that defer power but maintain independence and the ability to devolve, but the
      rigid hierarchical group can easily form from these flexible connections and
      once it does it can proliferate like a cancer devouring all around. And look at
      the world around you now pretty much everywhere you look is a hierarchy. The
      cancer has subsumed the body.
      In a mob, be it a
      mosh pit, protest march, lads on a night out or TV audience (as used by French
      doco makers in a version of the Milgrim experiments and Derren Brown in his
      “Experiments”) we can feel we are not being told what to do, we are not
      deferring power but non-the-less still act as one. We become part of a
      superorganism. We actually feel more powerful, we get an adrenaline and
      testosterone boost like the leader of a hierarchy, we get power from the
      security within the group but as a few go one way we all follow. We don’t even
      know who is leading. This has been described by some lovers of Ayn Rand as a
      self organising system and they have used it as an argument against hierarchy
      and for individualism which I find odd. My mother called it peer-group
      The classic question
      against group stupidity is to ask the teenager. “If everyone else jumped off a
      cliff would you?” Of course you say no. I wouldn’t be so stupid as to follow the
      mob to death. But of course we know many do. The mosh pit keeps pushing until
      some suffocate. The protesters attack the police and get shot, the TV audience
      tortures a man to death.
      So The mob looks all
      the world like a hierarchy without a leader, where all the people get the
      testosterone boost but at the same time feel they cannot leave like a cortisol
      filled follower. And again they are dangerous, they think short term, don’t
      worry about consequences, are aggressive to outsiders, and are often
      The greatest empires
      have used this mob mentality combined with hierarchy. An army is the classic
      mob. Each soldier relies on his comrades and becomes bigger and more powerful
      from them. It counters the affects of hierarchy on the subservient foot soldier,
      they gain power from the group.
      But why do mobs form?
      Well they mostly form when a person feels under threat, and feels individually
      powerless. As teenagers go through the rebellious stage against their parental
      leader they form mobs of teenagers, these mobs can form hierarchical gangs and
      then hierarchy replicates again. To my mind mobs form in response to hierarchy
      or as a tool of hierarchy.
      There’s a classic
      experiment from the time of early silicon valley which encouraged the idea of
      self organising systems – mobs. They put a bunch of students and IT boffins in a
      cinema and on the screen they played a game of pong. The first video game where
      two opposing lines move up and down the side of the screen and a dot acting as
      the ball pings between them. They gave everyone in the cinema a controller and
      the paddle would only move if the majority agreed. Very quickly the whole cinema
      was playing as one, like two individuals thinking for themselves hundreds had
      self organised to act together to play the game.
      So what drove them to
      consensus. A single agreed goal. Hit the pong back. This didn’t require a
      meeting, or a vote, just a reaction to shared information, the movement on the
      shared screen. So who is the real leader here? The screen, the shared goal. This
      requires a narrowing of perceptions enhanced by testosterone, as they got better
      they focused more, as they focused more they acted more together, and this
      replicated. The mob acted like the hubristic leader of the
      So why do hierarchies
      and even mobs form?
      They form in response
      to external restrictions. Sanctions and manipulations of the outside world and
      our societies. We form ordered corridors on a busy street when hemmed in by
      buildings, roads and goals that carry a penalty. If we are late for work we may
      lose our job. So we self organise into all walking together on the left or on
      the right and get pissed off when others don’t follow the
      We form mobs and
      hierarchies to gain security from a changing world that does not guarantee food
      or shelter. We tighten the group when threatened by another group. And our
      biology encourages power in the leader, submission in the follower and bonding
      in the mob.
      We cannot create a
      world without some sanction or manipulation. We are born weak and dependant. We
      age and become weak and dependant once more. We are born in certain locations,
      some which offer much food and a pleasant climate others that are harsh and
      threatening. We are born with certain aptitudes and abilities which are better
      or worse than others.
      We can change though,
      and we can modify our environment decreasing the environmental and natural
      sanctions. And we have done this very well. But ruefully we have replaced them
      with human made hierarchies which replicate our fear of the natural
      We have made order to
      gain freedom, but instead of embracing freedom we have replicated sanctions and
      manipulations to maintain the hierarchy and the mob. We created these tools
      (hierarchy and mobs) to give ourselves freedom from fear, freedom from reliance,
      freedom from the unpredictability of the world that created life. But now we
      prolong these tools rather than embrace freedom. Those at the top wish to
      maintain their status so tell us if we relax for just a second the hierarchy
      will collapse and all around us the natural world will invade and you will
      perish from fear alone. The mob keeps us focused on the short term goals of
      fashion and common goals to get us the energy to fight through our cortisol
      stress from powerlessness.
      Was it so terrifying
      being a nomad? Being with nature. Was it so bad we had to create a hierarchy
      which destroys the majority to avoid it. And most importantly could a fluid
      group be more secure than a hierarchy or mob? I think so. It will definitely be
      less stressful and more humane.
      Going with the
      There is something to
      be said for going with the flow. It basically means we don’t worry about the
      unexpected but rather embrace the new. To do this we need no fear, and it
      replicates no fear. A full belly helps but many ascetics and loners I mentioned
      at the beginning,those monks in the cave got by with very little food, and very
      poor shelter, if any. What they had was a lack of fear. This allowed them to
      imagine a very distant future, a very distant world, a foreign place without
      hierarchy or mobs, without fear or plenty. They found peace.
      When we are at peace
      we don’t need hierarchy, nor the mob, but can join and leave at a whim. We can
      play dream and achieve. We can even lead, by example. And defer when we meet
      So are hierarchies
      Well sort of. They
      seem to be a beneficial short term tool to fight external threats. As is the
      mob. But really like many things that have short term gains but cause long term
      damage such as drugs, alcohol, fighting and most wonderfully hedonistic things
      they are a really crap base to build a society upon. If we have any intellect at
      all we will find a way to allow us to devolve from hierarchies once they become
      to rigid and this should allow a more fluid pluralistic system which allows us
      to defer power without losing esteem.
      David J
      * If you think the
      USA is not on the decline look to its followers. France (don’t forget it was
      France who supported the American revolution, and was its intellectual base) and
      the UK now act independently in African and middle eastern conflicts. And the EU
      is fracturing and solidifying with different power brokers, many from the Nordic
      and eastern states. Australia the compliant follower of great powers, first
      Britain then USA is now looking to China and Asia. When the followers leave the
      power is lost.
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