Hierarchy of ideas

Submitted by admin on Fri, 09/02/2016 - 21:32

Hierarchies are widespread (though this is often denied). To try and give an idea of what I mean by this, I will give a 'scientific' example, where I have guessed at 7 levels :-

  1. those who fully understand quantum theory and its faults and problems
  2. those who fully understand quantum theory
  3. those who partially understand quantum theory
  4. those who understand lasers (which are derived from quantum theory)
  5. those who understand CD players (which use lasers)
  6. those who use CD players, and who accept quantum theory as truth
  7. those who use CD players, and who have no idea of quantum theory at all

The human population can be divided into a "quantum hierarchy" on this basis - many other hierarchies are possible of this type - hierarchies of wellness, physical fitness, wealth, , perhaps even of wisdom. In each case, there is a "highest" group who have a very deep understanding, knowledge or ability, and a lowest group who have never even conceived of the ability, and most of the population on all of the points in between. None of these hierarchise is particularly "better" than any of the others, or, at least, I am not going ot waste my time and yours over this.

Perhapos we can say that there is a general pattern of "hierarchies of understanding". and that we can "place" ourselves and each other in a fair way at our own levels in each hierarchy.

Quantum theory then is a reality to the Insiders, the scientists and technologists who use it and who can consciously design and create quantum devices such as lasers (and thus CD players), but it is a myth to the Outsiders who use the devices (such as the CD player) without necessarily even knowing it is based on a quantum device. Quantum theory quantum theory is a typical paradigm of this stage of modern science, but as science advances, it may be refined or even superseded as its shortcomings as a theory are discovered.

In a similar but different way, when we look at the State and how it is administered, then we find Elites at the highest level who (we hope) have a sophisticated understanding of govenment, and how to administer the Country, and (we hope)  that this ability is normal and natural to them, and that this is the most efficient and effective way of administering the State, by "Insiders".

  • In their own opinions, the elite members all have the highest motives and the best of intentions, and they are chosen for their high ability levels.
  • However to Outsiders, they might either seem like indispensible great leaders, or as corrupt and cynical conspiracies using scarce resources for themselves and their associates, and using nepotism and old-school tie networks to do favours for each other.
  • Hopefully this is also a hierarchy of understanding !

Myths and Elites

I have just described our modern views of elites, but the elites found in mythology are all archaic or primitive from a political viewpoint - there are warrior kings, elders, gods, priests, and peer groups (lodges, royal councils). The ideals and stereotypes found in modern political systems seem to be mostly 'pagan' (witch/spin doctors, politicians with "power", the rostrum and autocue) and there are some attempts to use manifestos as 'great books'.

However, I do not want to 'force' any of these myths or elites into an unsuitable pattern. This is why I am suggesting the above 'hierarchy of understanding'.

On the basis of these levels of hierarchy above, a possible reason for this lack of links may be that

  • we understand myths at (say) level 2 or 3 of the hierarchy of understanding (myths are really quite well understood, even if intuitively - any good storyteller can do it !)
  • however, we only understand elites, politics and nation states at (say) level 4 or 5 of that hierarchy of understanding

We may just be operating our myths at a higher level of sophistication than we operate our countries (?!!)