Thursday, October 13, 2011

In support of hierarchy?

Two proposals:

1. Hierarchy does not exist in the world. It's what Galileo would have called a secondary quality. An asteroid collides with a planet, its plans of indeterminate straightlineishness, if you'll allow me some Newtonianism, smashed like a fish into a rock, or something. I do not object to the actions of these players. @planet: do what you will to those asteroids. Je n'oppose pas.

2. Alternatively, but with the same basic results, the planet totally owns the asteroid. I project my humanness onto these events. Hierarchy is everywhere. Objects act with force on other objects. I call it hierarchy. I still don't oppose these hierarchies. I oppose a specific type of hierarchy among human agents.

So let me talk about human hierarchies. The world acts with force on my body, a persistent flow, in and out. It changes me and I it. This is unavoidable. I'll even call it good, since it makes me exist. I don't oppose this. A baby hits her head, changes her behavior to avoid future injury. The world shapes her body and its brain. Damn you world!? No. It just is.

I come across an article on the internet, the words change my brain, which then changes the world as I act on those ideas. In and out, or just flux and porosity... Some ideas appear better to me than others. Better, as in hierarchy. Again, I do not oppose hierarchy, per se. Every choice I make, every action involves hierarchy. Accepting one thing while rejecting another is an establishment of hierarchy. I will not reject this part of me. I will not reject my agency. I am not fundamentally a paradox, not on this count anyway.

Some ideas cause more harm than good. I support these ideas, insofaras I can identify them. Evolution is good. Evolution is hierarchy. May the best ideas win. Long live hierarchy. Reject those ideas of mine you disagree with, I implore you. Or improve upon them.

(Now all of this is idealistic. If you praise me, I will like you more. If you criticize me, I might just cry.)

At the same time, I oppose hierarchies imposed by agents via force. By definition, this includes all institutional hierarchies, though I also oppose the use of brute force by agents in the vast majority of cases. Because these hierarchies cause more harm than good, in sum, because this harm is felt by entities that feel pain and I empathize with their pain, and because hierarchy is fake, as Montag might say, and as I (briefly) argued in proposal #1 above.