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As if We Live Only in a Social Hierarchy

When I watch the world around me, particularly the activity of commerce, employment, consumption, marketing, and communications media, it appears as if human life is almost exclusively the life of social relationship and position within our many social systems. Where do you rank in sexual attractiveness, in earning power, in political influence, in popularity, in celebrity? Where does a company rank, where does a country rank, who is number one, who is unfit for number one status and needs to be brought down a peg? Who is too powerful to be challenged, who can provide advantage if aligned with, who is a threat to my, their, or our rank/position, who or what is falling in rank?

If I were going to watch TV for a whole day and could watch all channels at once what percentage of the content would be related to social relationship and rank in one way or another? What percentage would be related to the human relationship to nature? What percentage would be related to human biological existence?

I bet that over 75% of the material on TV at any given time relates in some way to social relations and the dynamics of social hierarchy. The material that is focused on the natural world would be dominated by nature alone or nature as unpredictable human advisory (floods, earthquakes, fires). A very small percentage of the portrayal of nature would communicate the reality that humans are part of nature and are supported by nature continually as a base predicate of human existence, exploration of how that amazing process works would represent a tiny fraction of the small fraction of programming on TV that represents nature at all.

This kind of meta-communication expresses and reinforces the illusion that humans live in a world of social relations that is separate from the world of which humans are an inseparable constituent part. Our economic system is a powerful expression of this strange self focusing illusion. It is an aggrandizement of who we are and a weakening of our foundational strength at the same time. Ego inflation is not a stable or worthwhile investment and the bubble will eventually burst culturally, as it always does individually, with appropriately disastrous results. But in that necessary deflation there is the opportunity to learn and grow into a more mature appreciation of who we are on a cultural level, just as there is on an individual level.

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