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Is hierarchy an innate trait for humans?

0 votes
I was having a debate on one of my Facebook posts, and this guy argued that hierarchy is a genetic trait of humanoids.  He provided pretty compelling evidence, such as a 50 page study on human beings and pride (the link will be below).  As an Ansyn, I don't support a forced hierarchy, but this argument is by far one of the most threatening arguments against anarchism that I've seen so far.
asked Mar 27 by SmashTheState099 (120 points)
i mainly wanted to say that i don't know what this question asks....so unless STS comes back with some more discussion, i don't have much to add.

N: "That also works as a good argument against speciesism."

It can, yes. But it can also undermine those anti-speciesist arguments pertaining to 'subjects' and/or those which base themselves upon 'sentience'  too, since they inhabit the ambit of their presumed self-sufficiency more often than not."

I've been meaning to ask you about this, you kinda lost me here. Could you further explain what you were getting at? I look at anti-speciecism as just a disagreement that there is a hierarchy of certain beings, or perhaps a rejection of scientific "species" all together.
oops I appear to have been sectioned :(. this makes sad.  these people are just trying to help, but all I want is a nice long walk!!! oh hierarchy can be funny sometimes!
my room is quite nice tho, and having people around is almost always nice.  plus they let me keep my phone too!! we
mustent panic! we mustnt panic!

aaaaaaaaaaaarghhhhhhhh!!!! (Babs, chicken run, 2000)
@nihilist, pardon the delay in responding to your question. i didn't see it until now. one has the choice of neither rejecting nor affirming 'species' in any over-determined way. 'species' can work well enough occasionally, but it lends itself to over-use far outside those contexts as if we have enclosed lives within the term, lacerated them to fit the corral. 'there is nothing but the survival of the species' etc.

the notion of subjects is always a split, a binary between 'it' and that which transcends it: so often, the Object, the World, God, Nature, the Future, Progress, the Earth, etc, but it's always *subjected* to the authority of that transcendental due to its presumed 'finitude.'

as to 'sentience' i've always felt it a bit anthropocentric and contiguous with these other determinations. as i quoted above, ' mankind is indeterminate.' here both the gendered language as well as the notion of species are at work, the point being we can't even think/imagine our lives except by cutting them, deciding what we'll think/imagine in any given moment and yet speak so authoritatively on others, our relationships, and so on. hope that helps.

2 Answers

+1 vote
There are many innate traits for human beings and all forms of life. Luckily for us humans, we have over-sized brains (my judgement here), and therefore the range of behaviors that we engage in are relatively endless. Pride and shame are human emotions, and those are also vast. To talk about one particular trait as being innate begs more questions:

- what is a hierarchy?

- is there one particular trait that's more important than all the others?

- is it possible to make a distinction between "innate" and "learned"?

- how are traits acquired?

Saying that hierarchy is an innate trait implies that humans somehow need it, and under given circumstanses and within certain sociological systems I would say "yes, sometimes". However, humans also have a rich history of disliking hierarchy and rebelling against authority figures, so in that sense they constantly search for something else or alternative hierarchies.
answered Mar 27 by Nihilist (-720 points)
+1 vote
I'd suggest that we have to look at what a human being actually is, rather than accept whatever explanation seems most plausible.

Consider this... Intelligence is certainly innate, however it can be molded into whatever shape an external force decides. Take religion as a prime example. Look at the logic contained within their argument. Superficially it is quite compelling, and with acceptance, completely so. So much so, people have killed for their religion... even when told killing is a sin.

We could say, "well religion is innate", however I would say it is not religion but ignorance which is innate. Only via ignorance can any form of belief be. Only via ignorance can the logic of religion be viewed as logical, as such logic is the logic of fear.

Genetics itself is so much belief rather than fact when it comes to human action, choice, emotion, etc. To me it's a bit like a speaker which will reproduce whatever sound is played thru it, reproduction of a source. Understand the source and you understand.

Hierarchy is itself another manifestation of fear rather than an individual innate quality or trait. Only the arrogance of ignorance can establish itself as superior... and thus take pride in whatever achievement. Isn't that self evident? Look at the history of humanity, which is one of forms of knowledge/belief being replaced by others.

All in all, we have to understand what we are; not the imprinted material... the contents of our memory, but that which is our essential self. So many talk so superficially when talking of "innate", of "our nature". Our nature has been obscured, corrupted by nurture.
answered Apr 1 by edclear (510 points)
First: Happy Holiday! I love April Fool's Day.

Curious. Is so-called intelligence innate (inside) or a 'force external' (outside) to that innateness, since this force can decide? Is deciding an indicator of so-called intelligence or otherwise? Is memory situated outside the ambit of so-called intelligence, related to it, but separable? So many questions...

And by your last sentence it seems you already understand what 'our nature' is and what obscures 'it.' So: What is 'it'?

Intelligence is what it is, the ability to perceive, to understand. Memory is an aspect but very minor. However, for many centuries memory has been given total focus, overblown importance. This is a result of living in a mechanical manner, where technique is viewed as power, as a form of genius, etc.

"What is it?" No word nor combinations of words can describe our actual nature. Words are so limited, and so open to interpretation. It's a bit like being hungry, walking into a restaurant and saying; "forget the food, I'll just read the menu". No matter how many times you read the menu, your belly will never be satisfied.
"Intelligence is what it is, the ability to perceive, to understand."

is this 'innate'? it seems a bit of a stretch (an article of faith?) to say that perception and understanding are somehow separable from from percepts and that which is understood, no? inside and outside are rather arbitrary.

so, we're left with a tautology: intelligence = intelligence, except for the other stuff i decide isn't...or is it that the external force decides...? is decision an 'aspect' of intelligence? but, intelligence is 'innate' not extrinsic...but perception...anyway, my point in asking you what it is had more to do with your strong assertions having to do with what doesn't get to be included.

indeed, my belly might not be filled in reading a menu, but if the restaurant smells like a latrine, the waitstaff is oozing putrid ichor from their nose, and thus it's different than last i was there, then neither my belly nor my 'intelligence' will be satisfied. but, then again, maybe my hunger dissipated upon the stench assailing my nostrils. so, i don't see this as a useful analogy. but thanks for responding.
@edclear  i find the idea that our (good/pure) nature has been corrupted by (evil/pollutant) nurture to be far too moralistic.  nature and nurture, the natural and the the artificial, swirl together, in ways i find good and bad, and all things inbetween.  fear is feeling, and one that i cherish in many ways, because of its protecting effect, because of its perversely enjoyable manifestations, though of course this depends on the fear.

@amorfati reading your writing is like trying to gain a grip on something seemingly hard, firm, yet slippery, lubricated almost.  with each new attempt  to grasp i find purchase for a second and then immediately lose grip, doomed to repeat this motion again and again, until final understanding, intellectual climax if you will, or exhaustion consumes me.  tricky, frustrating, evidently pointless, but... in some perverse way... pleasurable... i have like no idea what you are saying more than half the time.
hello shin. a couple of things.

first, you can question me, yes? i don't mean this to come off condescendingly, it's just that i've found, more often than not, we don't question, but assert, opine and emote, at least in most discussions i'm around.

second, perhaps the way i write, and think now, seems so Strange because i'm attempting to convey that which i glimpse as most immanent, but also alien, to us due to the hallucinatory structures we live through, those transcendent structures developed in philosophy and theology, which determine/define nearly every discourse, including most discussions of 'immanence/immediacy'.

it's a practice, a performance, a posture taken which neither affirms the discourses in question nor seeks to destroy them, but if anything, to  undermine their authority over us, and pervert them in ways which do so and to think them differently and outside their codified usage. that they become occasions for play rather than scenarios of incessant competition and combat. i'm not always well practiced, admittedly :)

does this clear the mist a bit?
yes.  and some more words.

To AmorFati

Intelligence is rather simple, little kids understand far more than they can articulate for example. So words do not precede understanding, but are merely a product of such (however much confusion they cause during the process of attempts of communication).

I would suggest if you're walking along the pavement, focused on your phone, walk straight into a lamp post, you may indeed realize just what intelligence is, what knowing is. The spellbound must awake; So, when we understand no decision is necessary. Likewise, when there's understanding, interpretation and embellishment are completely absent.

So hunger is hunger, the menu is the menu, the food is the food, the experience is the experience...

To shin

Moralistic, a needless interpretation, surely? The nature of the eye is perfect vision. A grain of sand within the eye causes corruption of such perfect vision.

Now, to say sand is evil is simply an idiotic over reaction is it not?

Good and bad are just silly words used for the sole purpose of exploitation. In themselves, a corruption.

Sure fear is feeling, but from where?

sometimes i wonder if philosophy101 is a necessary prerequisite to some discussions on this site.
not to worry f@, philosophy has already pervaded all of us. but, it probably wouldn't hurt to become more acutely acquainted with one's habitat which extends outside of A101, of course. :)
i still don't even have enough of an understanding of the original question to provoke more thought for me.......but i do get some pleasure from reading the lively discussion anyway... :)
@edclear 'the nature of the eye is perfect vision'.  no.  source; the vertebrate blind spot, optical illusions, change blindness, magic etc.
my vision through my left eye has looked clearer than my right for as long as i can remember....

To shin

I was waiting for that, ha, ha. But anyway, I'm talking the perfect eye (eyes), not those corrupted by malnutrition, by mental/emotional states, etc. 

@edclear non of the (((corruptions))) i pointed out are contingent on malnutrition or emotional states.  the blindspot is a structural artifact of vertebrate eyes created by the optical nerve, optical illusions are the result of our processing of visual information.
where does such a    p e r f e c t   e y e    exist?  even aside from the structural (((defects))) of our eyes, when is our visual data not (((corrupted))) by our context, our nutrition, our emotional state?
To Shin

Well, according to my sister who is an optometrist, in the sockets of my head.

I was simply taking things all a stage further, as we do when a conversation is developing. And i'm not really into nit picking, but I shall add, anyone who understands the nature of the eye, knows its perfection, even the perfection of imperfection, the obvious limitation! Sure we could get into details of eyes; the eye of human, of tigers, of bats, of fish, of whatever. We could get into details concerning the nature of vision itself, however I'd simply say, be simple. The analogy stands firm.

Only when the mind is silent, is there no corruption.
af: ", it probably wouldn't hurt to become more acutely acquainted with one's habitat "

not sure what you mean there, in the context i brought it up. i spend many of my waking hours getting intimate with my habitat. but maybe you mean something else by "habitat"?

i have never studied philosophy, and i have barely a high school education, so much/most discourse around philosophy goes way over my head. and usually i don't even care to reach up and try to grab it. i have a hard enough time understanding many of the words used by intellectual philosophers, let alone trying to grasp the overall concept of what is being said. i have trouble with many kinds of abstract thought, at least at this point in my life.

@edclear  what counts as Noise to the mind?  how do you know when the Noise is corrupting?  when the Silence is broken?  overthinking is paralysis, loopy, but of the Noise that is fun, why call it Corruption?

@funkyanarchy  i find it hard to believe that much of importance goes over your head, but here we are.  as someone who spends at least three hours a day ranting about 'academics' and their 'witch words and black magic' for no good reason, admittedly not always in those exact terms, at least not everyday, id be interested when something i say misses you by a mile or so.  im interested in 'deepening' my communication, at least i say i am, so knowing what you are taking away from my words is at the very least very interesting to bored ol' me.

How bout this: there is no perfection. Stemming from that presumption, then at the same time, everything is perfect, has no need of perfecting. You feel me?! There is no "perfect eye" in the sense that there was nothing wrong with eyes to begin with...

i feel ya, nihilist....i prefer to get rid of words (like "perfect") altogether....

i started a list a while back of words i decided to stop using.....some i never used anyway, and others i did use, but no longer...

i don't want to know if someone's eyes "are perfect", or "not perfect"....i want them to tell me what they see...
@nihilist consider yourself felt.
f@: if my words came across in a way pompous or offensive it was not my intention. i chose the word habitat purposely because i sense that ideas, thoughts, stories make up ecosystems in their own right. it seems obvious to me these ecosystems of thought inescapably into and interweave with the more 'earthy' senses of life, so much so we seem to have little to no basis from which we derive our conceptual separation(s). thought, is energy in our ecosystem - everyday.

Philosophy, like it or not, informs our lives, the way we use language (and it uses 'us'), define words, think and use tools and technologies, the way we think our various habitats - whether its through ecological thinking or capitalism - have histories and roots which are every bit as relevant now as they were (and some remain) when they arose, were argued over, produced victims (sometimes in-the-flesh), etc.

i feel we all too often pretend these (sometimes, sometimes not) abstractions somehow aren't 'real' or relevant. i think we make a grave error in leaving philosophy to the Philosophers, repeating their errors in our ignorance, but even more importantly, taking our chosen methods, explanations, beliefs, and yes, even desires, as sufficient, like most academics. In this, as far as i'm concerned, we haven't allowed ourselves the liberation we may be if we're remain entangled in the thought-world(s) we now seek to escape. as one of my favorite thinkers put it: every World is a thought-world.

i hope this makes for less muddy waters as to where i'm coming from. Best!
edclear: "Only when the mind is silent, is there no corruption."

or perhaps there's no such differentiation between 'the perfect' and 'the corrupt' in the first place.
shin- i concur. and i almost always enjoy f@'s input.
To Shin

There was no suggestion of "Noise", merely the fact that corruption takes place via overlay of our basic nature; i.e. parents preparing their kids for the "real world". So they brutalize children thinking such worthy and necessary.

Noise would be a comparison, a dictate in the sense that perfection is an absence of whatever. Surely it is self evident that comparison is itself corruption.

To Nihilist

Perfection was used within an allegorical context, so let's consider this...

It's a nice calm day, we're sitting by a lake The water is clear, still, reflecting all around, sky, trees on the shore, mountains. Along comes a huge plane, empties its cargo of toxic yellow sludge into the centre of the lake. Suddenly the water is disturbed, bubbling excitedly, colour changing to to that of piss lager. After a few minutes, fish appear on the surface, dead.

That is all I mean by corruption, by imperfection. So it's not moralistic as someone said, not judgemental, not falsely imposing an ideal.

Language is such a barrier to understanding, language itself being of a hierarchical nature.

To AmorFati

Differentiation is absent to the clear mind. Corruption is what it is. It's like the laws of humans. The vast majority obviously think laws create order, but they do nothing of the kind, law is disorder.


the story about the lake, the plane, and the dead fish (along with your other descriptions) tells me what i need to know in that situation....

calling the clear lake "perfect" or the yellow sludge-ridden lake "corrupt" does nothing to enhance my understanding of the experience, the place, or the creatures involved....yellow sludge or clear, still water i can visualize (or imagine with other senses), as i can with swimming fish or dead fish laying on the surface...."corrupt" or "perfect" i cannot....
edclear: "Differentiation is absent to the clear mind"

i'm glad you got the gist of my post, then. although, 'the clear mind' thing is a bit sermon-y for my 'mind'...which is neither quiet nor unquiet, neither clear nor unclear, neither is nor is not.

To bornagainanarchist

Without the contamination, the fish would be as they were, perfect, in their perfect environment. Just as the lake would be perfect, clean life sustaining water. Now the lake would be perfect on a stormy day too. All perfection is, is the state of whatever as it naturally is (even in a temporal sense as obviously there is drought, there is natural environmental change, etc).

My bike is naturally perfect when there is air in the tyres, bloody useless otherwise;

Getting back to a human being, it seem rather obvious that if a child is indoctrinated from birth, that the child is indeed corrupted. The natural state of a human being is one of curiosity, of learning, of questioning, is it not?
Is the statement, "the sky is clear" when not a cloud is in sight, a sermon? Surely fact stands as only fact can stand, solid upon its grounding point.

i just have no use for the word "corrupted", whether in your lake example, or the child example.....and  "corrupted" detracts from my understanding of someone when they use it.  much like the wording of the original question here.... and like the word "fact" as well.

a sky isn't a mind. the analogy seems flat to me partly due to so much use (ex: Zen). and your so-called 'mind' is a party in this, and 'its own,' controversy, even in the paltry world of logic.

an impoverished *decisional circle* trying its hardest to over-determine. 'facts' are *made* through certain decisions ('to cut off' -decaedere) which are only ever *relatively autonomous,*  'effects' (and affects) of that which is foreclosed to thinking...and 'minds' and analogies. and no, i ain't speakin' ontology.

statements and words? idiomatic, far too often harassing/persecuting, and usually lacerating to every lived being. and yet, i refuse to say 'limiting.'

 sermon-y? yes, that's how your meal tastes. no judgement...simply the affect and a hand-ready name for it.

edclear: "All perfection is, is the state of whatever as it naturally is"

then: "My bike is naturally perfect when there is air in the tyres"

i realize that language can be a barrier to understanding. but it doesn't always have to be, and often - when clarity/understanding is an objective shared by those communicating - it is not.

your use of the words "perfect" and "natural" do not make sense to me in this context. but i don't think i want you to try clarifying, because it will only further muddy the water - which is, i'm sure we would agree, a perfectly natural state for water).
@bornagainanarchist  whilst i certainly have many problems with moralistic language, such as in the case of a corrupted/hallowed dichotomy.  never the less the poetry, the imagery, the Power of these words, the 'effect/affect' of these symbols is deep and great precisely because of the sordid history that underwrites it.  its important to understand the Effect, the power of words, but also the effect and Power in naming, of calling things that feel so deeply off, so deeply... revolting to us with words that recall.  it is a bad craftsman that blames his tools.  certainly i can understand a deep wariness and caution around these words, but i dont think writing them off is necessary or even fun.
@edclear there is a Formula for everything these days
@funkyanarchy hear here


it sort of sounds like you called me a bad craftsman blaming my tools....

i don't encourage you to write off something you find useful or fun...

but i've never used many words like "corrupt", so i haven't used them as "tools" to begin with....

because of the objective  they appear to me as vague observations by no one from nowhere and moralistic inference they come from someone telling me i should think/act/understand from vague observations by no one from nowhere....also because of their lack in describing anything i want to convey, and the words vary so greatly in what they mean from one person to another.

no need for me to use a certain tool if i don't desire to build the thing it creates, or if the word obscures my meaning. as far as words i throw away, i quite enjoy the process of using other words that convey in a more sensory, active, and personal way....and that includes "calling things that feel deeply off" to me.

i understand that your experience varies from mine.

@bornagainanarchist I'd be more inclined to say of you that you choose your tools
i would too. :)
i was only alluding to the fact that perfectionism only makes people miserable. "Good enough" and "perfect" are synonyms if those two are to be used at all.

I try to look at words overall as a process of enjoyment, they are a code transmitted between humans, and occasionally a one-way transmission between humans and animals. I enjoy the privelidge of being able to use and understand them, but i don't see them as have any greater good than a cat's meow or a dog's bark. @AmorFati: I like what you do with words and philosophy and i agree with your recent comments, but of course there is much to be said about poetic prose and clarity. There are some chains of words that I'm just not going to try and decode for the sake of lazyness and simplicity.
The way I view this is one of a basic misunderstanding of certain words. Bias creating an unnecessary obstacle?

A fact is like walking head first into a door (rather than thru the doorway), that is an objective reality. Walking into a door and saying; "what idiot put that there", is a subjective reaction of self justification.

A perfect door would open with ease, close with ease. That is a basic example of perfect. As I said with a bike. A bike with flat tyres is pretty much useless if you want to complete a 6 mile cycle.

So I'd say my use of these words are totally applicable, especially corruption. A child indoctrinated by a Muslim family, by a Christian family, by an Anarchist family, or by whatever belief a family has is corrupting the child. Surely that is obvious. A child brought up to believe whatever has their mind clouded and coloured by those very beliefs... "The world is good", "the world is evil", "the world is a mixture of good and evil", "Blah, blah, blah".

What I see going on here is blatant contradiction. "I'm calling him out". Calling anyone out is a proclamation that you know they are wrong, which is obviously a hierarchical statement. And yet here we are discussing whether hierarchy is an innate trait.

When we take things personally; "I don't agree with that", "that's not my experience", "philosopher X said otherwise", etc, we are denying ourselves the opportunity to be open, to look anew. That's why all belief corrupts. It makes us weak and wobbly. We end up hobbling thru life on unnecessary crutches.

Anyone who knows what the word corrupt means understands that is a fragmented state. So a mind corrupted is one of contradiction, confusion. Such a mind turns on itself, and upon others.
"When we take things personally; "I don't agree with that", "that's not my experience", "philosopher X said otherwise", etc, we are denying ourselves the opportunity to be open, to look anew. That's why all belief corrupts. It makes us weak and wobbly. We end up hobbling thru life on unnecessary crutches."

So if i don't agree with something then i'm denying myself the ability to be open? This reminds me of evangelical Christians who tell you to "be open to the lord", it's really code for "just believe in what we are saying without thinking about it".

I don't think your really being clear overall, you're just trying to tell us that we're being confused but then your saying very many questionable things. There's no reason to say "the lake is corrupted, it was perfect before", when you can just say "that plane dumped sludge in it, and now it's disgusting". Agreeing with you and your definitions doesn't clarify anything.

nihilist: "There are some chains of words that I'm just not going to try and decode for the sake of lazyness and simplicity."


i also do not care to encourage obfuscation through language, whether or not it is intentional. i realize "obfuscation" is a rather subjective term, and it may be that sometimes it is actually the ideas that are obfuscated to me, rather than the words per se.
To Nihilist, I'm not on about believing, quite the opposite. All I'm suggesting is, maybe we need to take another way of considering the issue rather than resting on our laurels (yes, me too).

Some seem to take offence so easily here, thinking others are trying to tell them what to do, how to think, etc. It's an impersonal internet forum, we miss so much of that which takes place in direct communication, i.e. intonation, body language, etc. Which is why we should understand the words in use. On a forum, words are all we have (unless we litter our sentences with emojis).

So what is the problem with the words?
edclear, words can clarify or obscure one's meaning....in my case, certain words obscure (like "fact" or "personally"  or "belief" to name a few), so i don't use them, nor do i wish to engage in conversation that uses them.

i have thousands of words to choose from.....so i don't use the ones that either have no meaning for me, appear to come from no one, have many different interpretations, or don't evoke the images and feelings i desire, etc.

not using these types of words, causes me to describe in more sensuous, active detail what i want to express....it allows me to more clearly say what i mean..

and i don't feel "offended" at all.

i consider my non-use of certain words a way of "taking another way to consider an issue", especially words that people use frequently that i don't.
@nihilist & f@: "There are some chains of words that I'm just not going to try and decode for the sake of lazyness and simplicity."

laziness. well, ok, all 'yours' i suppose. but 'simplicity' according to what and whom? seems fairly loaded...and complex.. to me given the plethora of discourses, cultural backgrounds, etc overlaying (con-fusing), and attempting to dominate, one another. this includes demands for the sake of 'simplicity' and 'clarity.' do these latter not presume, and form of themselves, some degree of abstract, that is transcendent, thought?

edclear: "So what is the problem with the words?"

to ask what 'the problem is' here suggests to me that you'd seek some way to valuate preceding and/or exceeding our verbiage. i don't see a problem with the words, but the way you're using them seems a bit medieval to me. perhaps i'm mistaken, but you seem to be playing the part of an apophatic, that is, you unsay what you do say (cataphatic) after you say it. this can be interesting to me in certain contexts, but i don't see it as particularly effective here. (the words i use may be just so, differently).

perhaps it isn't that words are so limited as that the Real remains infinitely effable. and in this (ostensibly) anarchist's view, the language of finitude, be it of a 'true nature' or that of 'my desire/life' (so common in anarchist discussion and of which i've partaken also at times) presupposes an opposite "infinitude"...which, of course, contradicts its very postulation. i say let's absolutely open up grammatically/verbally if we wish, as nihilist put it, 'to open ourselves,' although i'd probably use slightly different lingo.

To bornagainanarchist 

Why do these words obscure tho, that's what I don't get, as they are everyday straightforward talk. We can't bury our head in the sand. Today I had a couple at the door trying to convert me to their christian belief. So, yes, belief exists as a reality for many, who in turn attempt to draw others in too... religions, politics, sciences, etc. How can we possibly converse and convey meaning without saying "wait a minute, how about this... what is your belief other than a mental projection of a desire, which if you want to go into we can".

Some may interpret that as me being an arrogant sod, thinking I have all the answers, but I'm saying "let us go thru this".

So here I am, going thru this, as I decided to reply to someone looking for an answer, and others replied to what I said. So I just plod on, writing in my own simple way, looking at what is said by all... and having a great laugh too (not necessarily at anyone... more at how the collective corrupts).


i understand that a lot of words i don't use get used by many as everyday straightforward talk...and i also understand that most people commonly talk about their "beliefs" (i'd have to live totally isolated to not notice that)....

okay, so i don't consider that "burying my head in the sand"....far from it, i seek to understand in a much different way than "everyday talk"....one of my reasons for using different language in particular cases (probably a few hundred words out of many thousand).

i'll gladly take one or two of the words and explain why i think they obscure, why they don't have value for me (other than to discuss why i don't use them), etc.....if you feel interested enough to continue. i think i've tried to do that to some degree already with little understanding, but i'll go further if you'd like.

i also had a neighbor who recently began trying to get me into his religion....he said to me "well, everyone believes in something"...i then told him i don't use  the word"belief" as a way to describe anything that goes on in my head or life....that led to a lengthy discussion.....so, not using certain words does not cause me to shut off possibilities in relationships....if anything, it changes the the way we relate, mostly in a way i like......he pretty much stopped trying to convince me of "believing" in his religion after that, but he still engaged with me in a way that we got to know each other better.

i don't intend to convince you not to use words that i don't....i mostly want to convey that i don't use them and why, and how that has impacted my life and relationships....and i often enjoy discussing it, revealing my viewpoint, and perhaps giving others something to consider if they would like....

i don't think of you as "arrogant" , and, like you, i get some pleasure out of "going through" this conversation through writing.

To AmorFati

"Medieval", ha, that did tickle me. I am getting on in years, but not that old!

Our subject seems rather simple to me. It's like that of hierarchy itself. Without self holding a false notion that it is important, or certain aspects of our way of living as important, there can be no hierarchical structure, be they outward or inward. When people impose a context which does not exist with certain words, they form a hierarchical pedigree. All regimes do this, and for one simple reason, prestige. So we see it in religion, which began as a simple persons way of expressing their own appreciation of a mystery. We see it in politics, in the class systems they create, etc. We see it within science too, using obscure language in an attempt to dupe the masses. Every branch of human life has been twisted out of shape.

Language is very limited, and that's why we have to understand what language really means. Just like road signs, words point towards, they are not. Just like the menu is not the meal.

So yes, we have to open up, but that doesn't mean changing or rejecting the basic meaning of words. If I say duck, and we're not near a pond, you'll know to duck and dodge the brick falling off the scaffold. The figurative as well as the literal.

edclear: "So yes, we have to open up, but that doesn't mean changing or rejecting the basic meaning of words."

what 'basic meaning' does any word have? a cursory look at an etymology will show, i think, words have no basic meaning. they change with a cultures values and usage, for example. but even longevity (according to us monkeys) provides no basis fora presumed stability any more than the culture in question.

this isn't about a rejection on my part, but that like life, words change. what i do refuse, however, is their authority and the authority of discourses which gird them (including those which try and pass for Anarchy/ism). that's another story. but, you seem to believe (and desire?) a static language, no?

edclear:"If I say duck, and we're not near a pond, you'll know to duck and dodge the brick falling off the scaffold. The figurative as well as the literal."

i find thought experiments neither interesting nor persuasive. they leave out far too much in the name of 'all (other) things being equal' to make their case, usually through rendering other lives down to a sort of 'non-being'. a forgetting. so, more often than not i sense in their use an oblique authoritarianism. so many assumptions packed into so little verbiage to make an end seem so 'perfect' without the messiness of (one's/other) lives in their way.

edclear: "Language is very limited, and that's why we have to understand what language really means. Just like road signs, words point towards, they are not."

limited to, and/or by, _____?
@AmorFati: I was only saying that I can't learn everything, as much as I want to. Sometimes I have to shut off my curiousity and desire to understand things, otherwise it ends up stressing me out.


"Some seem to take offence so easily here, thinking others are trying to tell them what to do..."

I don't think disagreeing with you constitutes "getting offended", i feel like you are saying this because you are offended by the criticism of what you have said. Personally, I just don't really understand why you are so interested in absolute definitions of "perfect" and "corrupt", they're both entirely relevant to what a speaker is saying about them. I'm not keen on plato's defintion of "heaven", where everything in this reality is an imperfect shadow of something else in heaven. If some government or corporation dumped chemicals into a lake, then in their eyes their actions were likely perfect.

And obviously, anarchists will be sensitive to other people telling them what to do. If I just did what other people told me to do, then i wouldn't be acting on behalf of myself, and i think it's rather pathetic that people have been tricked into obedience to authority and an obedience to idealism. Idealism is thinking that words have some heavenly significance. Other than that, I have no issues with words! It will always be a challenge to figure out which words are best to use...
ba@: "i also had a neighbor who recently began trying to get me into his religion....he said to me "well, everyone believes in something"...i then told him i don't use  the word"belief" as a way to describe anything that goes on in my head or life...."

you should see the look i receive when 'hope' comes up, that i live, in my most vital moments, with neither hope nor a 'why,' and yet living remains enjoyable.

To bornagainanarchist

I'm just very curious as to why there is such opposition to simple words, which are in no way judgemental, and are totally applicable. So yes, to aid clarity, please do use the word corrupt as an example as to why you personally do not use it.

i definitely do not speak for ba@, but i can tell you that usually i choose NOT to use certain words - depending on context, of course - not because of any moral judgements, but because they carry too much baggage or disclarity in my mind.

a great example, discussed elsewhere here long ago, is the term "authoritarian". i do not use that word when i am talking about "expert in a particular skill", whereas many do. there is no moral judgement there, simply a desire for clarity of expression on my part. you may think that word is "totally applicable", i do not.

[now back to your regularly scheduled comments...]

To AmorFati

All words have an underlying meaning. As you said, and most will know, many of such have been corrupted over the ages, indeed can now mean the opposite of what they originally did. Anyway, take the word corrupt as an example, the basic meaning is to degrade, destroy. Taken in context, it isn't hard to know how the person is using the word and hence there need be no confusion.

It's like when some here said the word corrupt smacks of a moralistic tone, only due to their own bias getting in the way of comprehending a word which can be applied to the animate as well as the inanimate.

Language is relatively stable and for good reason, we have to use this means to communicate. If one person decides to call an apple a banana, they're going to have to waste a lot of time explaining exactly what they do mean. So yes, language is best kept fairly static.

Language isn't authoritarian in any way, that's like saying a knife is authoritarian. Language is a simple practical solution, which many give way too much emphasis, hence the corruption of mind by a certain use of such.

Language is limited by its own nature, again something most seem to have forgotten. Words are pointers at best, mis-directive so often. The limitation is that no string of words can actually convey completely ones perception, nor that of say a tree. Words can be used to explain this or that aspect, but they can never ever encompass what a tree actually is. That is the limitation of words, of language. Again it's back to the menu not being the meal... the meal not being what appears on the plate, etc, etc, etc.

I think too many on forums miss the point of a forum; a place of discussion, of dialogue. Sure we all make statements (generally very short ones at that). So we have to read between the lines a lot, and that's where simple direct words come into play.

It's a bit like the way so many groups develop their own group speak. They use everyday language, but in a twisted way. This happens in art circles, in science, in politics, etc. It's all shallow, just about identity. Give me the honesty of a simple word, an agreed meaning, any day over such hierarchical esoteric nonsense.

To Nihilist

I've not actually seen any criticism as such, I was referring to certain phrases such as "calling out". To call out usually means that someone is offended by whatever and has to take a stand, or express their point to counter act whatever. Now if there is nothing to counteract, why bother with the "calling out"?

I don't see why anyone can disagree with the meaning of words that's all. Nor can I see how anyone could possibly justify dumping toxic sludge in a lake. No one is that ignorant, are they?

I wouldn't say I'm using words in an idealistic way. I'm using them as they ought to be used, literally and figuratively. That's the beauty of words, flexibility.

Don't most just take on their own form of obedience; to themselves, become slaves to "their" ideas, "their ideals?

"Don't most just take on their own form of obedience; to themselves, become slaves to "their" ideas, "their ideals?"

i would say there's a mix of that, slavery to an economic system, slavery to institutionalized conduct, slavery to the internet...the list goes on. If I were a slave to my ideals my life might be a good deal easier, but nah I'm a slave to my habits...
"I don't see why anyone can disagree with the meaning of words that's all. Nor can I see how anyone could possibly justify dumping toxic sludge in a lake. No one is that ignorant, are they?"

i would assume from this comment you have to be trolling! I think the understanding of words is a semi-shared phenomenon, where as all adults have a shared understanding of what certain words mean, but not all of it.

Also, you couldn't see anyone justifying dumping toxic sludge into a lake?! People have justified things even worse than that.

edclear:"Language isn't authoritarian in any way, that's like saying a knife is authoritarian."

who are you responding to here? it can't be me, since i said nothing of the sort.what i did say :"what i do refuse, however, is their (words)   authority and the authority of discourses which gird them". its seems obvious i wasn't speaking of language in toto, but the authority given (and taken as given) to words-in-discourse.

i'm done conversing with you at this time. best.

To Nihilist

Trolling, never been fishing in my life. If you mean the more modern meaning, not so. When someone comes out with "words have no basic meaning", I think the obvious has to be stated. Dictionaries would not exist, teachers of language would not exist, etc. Indeed, we'd just be grunting, pointing, and generally leaping around trying to make ourselves understood. One second thoughts, maybe a shared language doesn't exist.

Yep, I know the feeble attempts at justification for all manner of issues, large and small, but they'll always be just that... attempts.

To AmorFati

"Authority"... "Authoritarian", same difference, one leading naturally to the other.

edc, after thinking about it some more, and reading your most recent comments, i don't think i have anything to add at this point that would help you to understand  any further what i've already expressed about my word choices...

different people use/don't use different words to communicate....i think we can agree on that.
Sure thing, maybe I'm just overly curious.