Humans cannot avoid hierarchy and structure; do you agree?

Use this forum to discuss the October 2022 Philosophy Book of the Month, Mary Jane Whiteley Coggeshall, Hicksite Quaker, Iowa/National Suffragette And Her Speeches by John N. (Jake) Ferris
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Re: Humans cannot avoid hierarchy and structure; do you agree?

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heracleitos wrote: October 16th, 2022, 8:39 pm Yes, not everybody can be the boss.

Furthermore, some part of the law is not just a matter of self-respect but of law enforcement, if only to front-run the angry mob, and prevent it from tearing the flesh of suspected criminals to pieces. Civilization requires us to inspect the matter of culpability before a court and during an adversarial process.

Therefore, law enforcement necessarily has authority over the rowdy mob. That alone already creates hierarchy in society.
I think law enforcing authorities do not belong into any hierarchy. They should remain outside and independent of hierarchies. Otherwise the legal system and law enforcements will not be fair for all, because at some point even the law enforcing authorities can found themselves in a lower level of a hierarchy.
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Re: Humans cannot avoid hierarchy and structure; do you agree?

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Centeot wrote: October 17th, 2022, 12:36 am Yes, with every human being unique, there will always be differences in power which will inevitably lead to a social hierarchy of some variety.
Humans are unique and there will be differences between humans, I agree. But why should this has something to do with power? Why should knowing something should give the ability to someone to rule over someone who does not have that ability?
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Re: Humans cannot avoid hierarchy and structure; do you agree?

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stevie wrote: October 17th, 2022, 12:48 am
Sushan wrote: October 16th, 2022, 11:31 am People who believe in being their own masters could not remain for long without following someone. Does this mean that humans are bound to follow either things or people? Can't we avoid hierarchies and structures?
The basic principle of evolution is aggregation of parts to build a whole in an ordered way. So the arising of hierarchies and structures does not depend on human will.
The way you have told is how the societal evolution has occurred. The history suggests that it is the most successful way for societal evolution. But it may not be the best way when the interests of all human beings are taken into consideration. Anyway, forming hierarchies and ruling over the lower levels of the hierarchical structures have become the practice.
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Re: Humans cannot avoid hierarchy and structure; do you agree?

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LuckyR wrote: October 17th, 2022, 5:46 am It is an error to assume that it is everyone's preference to climb heirarchies. Thus the competitive are drawn to climb the heirarchy and those who dislike responsibility and/or confrontation are drawn away from climbing the heirarchy. So these various forces naturally create stratification within groups.
I agree that not all of people love to (or want to) climb up the hierarchies. And even out of those who try to climb not all are succeeded. So there we get the first group of those who are unsatisfied. Then the people who do not climb up the ladder find themselves at the lower levels of hierarchies. So they become the subjects of the people of upper levels. Not all among this group are satisfied with what they get by being at the lower levels. So this is the second group of unsatisfied people.
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Re: Humans cannot avoid hierarchy and structure; do you agree?

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Sushan wrote: October 23rd, 2022, 5:44 am But in today's world it is not either simple or free.
If, for example, rice, wheat, or potatoes were free, people would quickly discover that it is cheaper to burn food to heat the house than coal or gas. So, at that point, we would not just eat these things as food, but also burn it to heat our houses. The farmers would almost surely not be able to grow enough of the stuff. So, there would be shortages.Hence, soon, there would not be enough food to eat.
Sushan wrote: October 23rd, 2022, 5:44 am So why should we keep these hierarchical structures instead of people just treating others equally and helping each other?
It takes more effort to become a brain surgeon than a McDonald's cashier. Why would anybody do the effort to figure out the intricacies of brain surgery, if he could make the same amount of money by flipping hamburgers? So, that would soon lead to a shortage of brain surgeons and a surplus of cashiers.

But then again, I actually like that kind of ridiculously utopian worlds, because they quickly become incredibly corrupt, and then people like myself always find new ways to exploit the mess in order to make heaps of money.

For example, nowadays you have two peso-to-dollar currency exchange rates in Argentina, the official one and then unofficial one. All you need to do, in order to make heaps of money, is to find ways to buy lots of dollars at the cheap official rate and then sell them at the much more expensive unofficial one. Lather, rinse, repeat. Before Venezuela completely imploded, it must also have been quite easy to make lots of money from their utopian bull.s.hit. All of the utopia nonsense does impoverish the general population, though. But then again, I don't care because it is exactly these people who were clamouring for that. So, let them have it!
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Re: Humans cannot avoid hierarchy and structure; do you agree?

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Pattern-chaser wrote: October 17th, 2022, 8:11 am
Sushan wrote: October 16th, 2022, 11:31 am This topic is about the October 2022 Philosophy Book of the Month, Mary Jane Whiteley Coggeshall, Hicksite Quaker, Iowa/National Suffragette And Her Speeches by John N. (Jake) Ferris



Mary Jane Whiteley Coggeshall was a Quaker. And it seems like her religious beliefs had a great impact on her thoughts on women's right to vote.

Quakers believe in equality. They do not follow hierarchies, and some even do not go after the God or Jesus. They are their own masters and they believe that each of them can feel the God within themselves. But there are several groups of Quakers that follow various founder Quakers of their groups. Hicksite Quakers are one of such groups.

People who believe in being their own masters could not remain for long without following someone. Does this mean that humans are bound to follow either things or people?
Can't we avoid hierarchies and structures?
Humans are a social species. Families, tribes, societies, and so forth, are social "hierarchies" or "structures". So I think the answer to your question must be that yes, we can avoid such things in theory, but only by fundamentally changing our basic nature (in a way that is quite likely impossible), and becoming a non-social species.
Humans are social species in general. But not all humans are social species. Some intentionally avoid inter-human relationships, and some have fallen into that status due to various reasons. But not all of these people have either lost their natural existence or seized of being human. So, I think it is in human nature, the ability to choose whether to become social or not.
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Re: Humans cannot avoid hierarchy and structure; do you agree?

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heracleitos wrote: October 23rd, 2022, 6:04 am
Sushan wrote: October 23rd, 2022, 5:44 am But in today's world it is not either simple or free.
If, for example, rice, wheat, or potatoes were free, people would quickly discover that it is cheaper to burn food to heat the house than coal or gas. So, at that point, we would not just eat these things as food, but also burn it to heat our houses. The farmers would almost surely not be able to grow enough of the stuff. So, there would be shortages.Hence, soon, there would not be enough food to eat.
Sushan wrote: October 23rd, 2022, 5:44 am So why should we keep these hierarchical structures instead of people just treating others equally and helping each other?
It takes more effort to become a brain surgeon than a McDonald's cashier. Why would anybody do the effort to figure out the intricacies of brain surgery, if he could make the same amount of money by flipping hamburgers? So, that would soon lead to a shortage of brain surgeons and a surplus of cashiers.

But then again, I actually like that kind of ridiculously utopian worlds, because they quickly become incredibly corrupt, and then people like myself always find new ways to exploit the mess in order to make heaps of money.

For example, nowadays you have two peso-to-dollar currency exchange rates in Argentina, the official one and then unofficial one. All you need to do, in order to make heaps of money, is to find ways to buy lots of dollars at the cheap official rate and then sell them at the much more expensive unofficial one. Lather, rinse, repeat. Before Venezuela completely imploded, it must also have been quite easy to make lots of money from their utopian bull.s.hit. All of the utopia nonsense does impoverish the general population, though. But then again, I don't care because it is exactly these people who were clamouring for that. So, let them have it!
I do not think having a monetary value is the only reason that keeps people from burning food to heat their homes. So, even food was there for free, it would not have used for such purposes. But, yes, I agree that in such a scenario farmers will find no reason to do farming as they get no gain other than making their own foods.

Yes, if the social status and financial status of everyone was equal, then no one will try to go for difficult professions. Yet, people always ask for a fair society and fair wages. Why is this controversiality?
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Re: Humans cannot avoid hierarchy and structure; do you agree?

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heracleitos wrote: October 17th, 2022, 8:49 pm Cattle or elephants lives in herds. Wolves live in packs. Humans are members of a gang, and are fundamentally, gangsters.

All these types of groups always have a leader, a boss, i.e. a matriarch (such as elephants) or a patriarch (such as humans).

The boss of a gang of humans is the mafia boss, i.e. "da man". At the very least, he deals with conflict resolution between his gangsters.
I think bosses in the animal world and human world are quite different. Animal leaders usually do not have selfish agendas and they act for the betterment of their groups (among the apes this is seen differently as the male head tries to kill male offsprings just to maintain his sexual superiority). But human bosses always have selfish agendas and they act along them.
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Re: Humans cannot avoid hierarchy and structure; do you agree?

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stevie wrote: October 18th, 2022, 1:53 pm
Pattern-chaser wrote: October 17th, 2022, 8:14 am
stevie wrote: October 17th, 2022, 12:48 am The basic principle of evolution is aggregation of parts to build a whole in an ordered way. So the arising of hierarchies and structures does not depend on human will.
I'm not at all sure that "aggregation" is a "basic principle of evolution", but your point stands nonetheless, and is an interesting one. 👍
I am not sure either but just reported what appeared to me. That atoms aggregate with atoms through chemical reactions to result in a whole appeared to me. That the whole of molecules are aggregates of atoms appeared to me. That the whole of organisms and tissues are aggreagates of molecules appeared to me. That wholes built by aggregations disintegrate again driven by thermodynamics just to be build again through aggregations with slightly different features appeared to me. Thus the aggregation of parts to build a whole appeared to be the basic principle of evolution.
But there are differences to this basic principle which seems as the basis of everything. When carbon was subjected to heat and pressure within volcanoes it turned into diamonds without no disintegrating or re-aggregating. What happened was a simple change of the structure. So there are different basics in the evolution, and this might be found in other areas as well
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Re: Humans cannot avoid hierarchy and structure; do you agree?

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Sculptor1 wrote: October 20th, 2022, 7:33 am "civlisiation" has provided for the most structures and hierarchies and have been dysfunctional in many examples. But from an anthropological perspective it's worth saying that for most of human history hierarchy and structure have been wholly contingent on practice and immediate performance with very little consideration for the concepts of "office", and hereditary or subclan privilege.
Strategies for leadership are thought to have been contingent on specific task delegated to experts or the strongest or most respected individuals. These relationships are fluid and subject to immediate change. Many such structures were horizontal rather than vertical.
What we have seen through most of the history are kings and kingdoms, which had vertical hierarchies. But many of them lasted for ages and succeeded with the vertical hierarchical structures. Maybe the reason behind the success was delegating the tasks to the real experts. But I am not sure whether the relationships were fluid as these rulers and kingdoms were quite traditional and loyal to their structures.
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Re: Humans cannot avoid hierarchy and structure; do you agree?

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Sculptor1 wrote: October 20th, 2022, 7:35 am
heracleitos wrote: October 17th, 2022, 8:49 pm Cattle or elephants lives in herds. Wolves live in packs. Humans are members of a gang, and are fundamentally, gangsters.

All these types of groups always have a leader, a boss, i.e. a matriarch (such as elephants) or a patriarch (such as humans).

The boss of a gang of humans is the mafia boss, i.e. "da man". At the very least, he deals with conflict resolution between his gangsters.
There is a difference between a leader and a boss.
Bosses thrive where there are other structures such as enemies, police, or governments to buck against.

But good leaders do not have to boss; they lead.
I would like to add to your idea. I think we see more bosses than leaders among humans, and the vice versa among the animals. So the animals succeed as groups while human bosses succeed at the expense of their groups.
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Re: Humans cannot avoid hierarchy and structure; do you agree?

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heracleitos wrote: October 20th, 2022, 7:47 am
Sculptor1 wrote: October 20th, 2022, 7:35 am But good leaders do not have to boss; they lead.
Agreed.

Unfortunately, statistically spoken, most leaders are not particularly good. They are merely good enough not to get replaced.
The Peter Principle is an observation that the tendency in most organizational hierarchies, such as that of a corporation, is for every employee to rise in the hierarchy through promotion until they reach a level of respective incompetence.
So, the core skills of the successful manager, are:

- How to avoid getting fired
- How to get competitors fired
- How to look good
- How to make others look bad

You do not particularly need to be competent at anything else, because the Peter Principle predicts that nobody else is either.
The Peter principle states that a person who is competent at their job will earn a promotion to a position that requires different skills. If the promoted person lacks the skills required for the new role, they will be incompetent at the new level, and will not be promoted again.[1] If the person is competent in the new role, they will be promoted again and will continue to be promoted until reaching a level at which they are incompetent. Being incompetent, the individual will not qualify for promotion again, and so will remain stuck at this final placement or Peter's plateau.
Wikipidea

Peter principle says why people stuck at different levels of hierarchies. But people have found ways to go around this principle by just making others look bad. So the companies (and bosses) are compelled to promote even the incompetent 'good-looking' (or else smart and cunning) ones.
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Re: Humans cannot avoid hierarchy and structure; do you agree?

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Sculptor1 wrote: October 20th, 2022, 8:44 am
heracleitos wrote: October 20th, 2022, 7:47 am
Sculptor1 wrote: October 20th, 2022, 7:35 am But good leaders do not have to boss; they lead.
Agreed.

Unfortunately, statistically spoken, most leaders are not particularly good. They are merely good enough not to get replaced.
The Peter Principle is an observation that the tendency in most organizational hierarchies, such as that of a corporation, is for every employee to rise in the hierarchy through promotion until they reach a level of respective incompetence.
So, the core skills of the successful manager, are:

- How to avoid getting fired
- How to get competitors fired
- How to look good
- How to make others look bad

You do not particularly need to be competent at anything else, because the Peter Principle predicts that nobody else is either.
INdeed. But given the thread title can we avoid... I think we can. depending on the scope of control. SUb groups and small scale societies all work better with horizontal hierarchies. You will probably be part of a club or group where a small scale group will resist any kind of bossing, but allows temporary leadership for some activities.
Take a look at my post above from an anthropological perspective. It's a numbers game.
But, then why these groups remain small in size? Is it because horizontal hierarchies are applicable only to small groups? Or is it because large structures remain stable only with strong leaders and vertical hierarchies?
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Re: Humans cannot avoid hierarchy and structure; do you agree?

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Sushan wrote: October 23rd, 2022, 5:44 am
Sculptor1 wrote: October 16th, 2022, 5:45 pm Any two people will form hierarchies in capability and expertise. And so they should.
The trick is to realise that expertise in one area might give you authority in that area, it should not give you power over the other person who may well have expertise in another areas.

The most successful hunter/gatherer societies express this dynamic with horizontal structures, and zonal and modal powers. Specialisms are encouraged.
As societies have grown in size the greedy and power hungry have managed to push their power across generations so that hereditary power has been formed. This is a mistake, but avoidable.
Quite true about hereditary powers. It is wrong (can be right when the right person is in the place even though he/she came to that position with heredity) and should be avoided.

People can always consult specialists in various fields. But in today's world it is not either simple or free. So why should we keep these hierarchical structures instead of people just treating others equally and helping each other?
I do not think we should at all.
But even in the absence of hereditary titles; the problem remains.
Look at the sort of unbridled power of Trump, bestowed not by merit but by wealth, to be passed on to his idiot children in short shrift to prolong the agony of an American under siege from lunacy.
How do we introduce value and merit to the ranks of power when money seems to be the chief means of currency for that power.
Trump is just one example of emergent dynasties, though there are so many that have persisted for generations.

I would introduce massive death duties to break that power, and gift taxes too.
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Re: Humans cannot avoid hierarchy and structure; do you agree?

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Sushan wrote: October 23rd, 2022, 7:03 am
Sculptor1 wrote: October 20th, 2022, 8:44 am
heracleitos wrote: October 20th, 2022, 7:47 am
Sculptor1 wrote: October 20th, 2022, 7:35 am But good leaders do not have to boss; they lead.
Agreed.

Unfortunately, statistically spoken, most leaders are not particularly good. They are merely good enough not to get replaced.
The Peter Principle is an observation that the tendency in most organizational hierarchies, such as that of a corporation, is for every employee to rise in the hierarchy through promotion until they reach a level of respective incompetence.
So, the core skills of the successful manager, are:

- How to avoid getting fired
- How to get competitors fired
- How to look good
- How to make others look bad

You do not particularly need to be competent at anything else, because the Peter Principle predicts that nobody else is either.
INdeed. But given the thread title can we avoid... I think we can. depending on the scope of control. SUb groups and small scale societies all work better with horizontal hierarchies. You will probably be part of a club or group where a small scale group will resist any kind of bossing, but allows temporary leadership for some activities.
Take a look at my post above from an anthropological perspective. It's a numbers game.
But, then why these groups remain small in size? Is it because horizontal hierarchies are applicable only to small groups? Or is it because large structures remain stable only with strong leaders and vertical hierarchies?
There are basic group dynamics and limits to social size in subsistence strategies that have not yet evolved money.
Money enables wealth and therefore power to reach across generations. When money is invented, so too is poverty and dependency.
Further specialisations occur such as a priesthood and an army which are both used to control the slaves and other workers and the whole sorry situation we call "civilisation" is born..
Then the limits to group size and the personalities of social dynamics change. In civilisations up to the 20thC is was easy to portray the king and lords as super human, ruling by divine grace and the social distance between pleb and patrician could be easily maintained, by the myths of leadership.
Some of this tendency to subservience can still be clearly seen as people queue up for a glimpse of the body of the Queen. But not even Americans are free of this tendency and worship abstracts such as "Uncle Sam" or other patriotic symbolism, which can be mobilised by flag huggers like Trump..
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