Saturday night armchair philosophy...

Premise 1: A certain percentage of any population are people who seek power for its own sake and will go to any lengths to achieve it. Call them sociopaths.

Premise 2: Positions of power attract sociopaths.

Premise 3: Because they are willing to do anything to obtain power, sociopaths enjoy a competitive advantage over non-sociopathic rivals for powerful social positions.

Conclusion 1: Power hierarchies will inevitably become dominated by the most sociopathic individuals within them.

Premise 4: Conclusion 1 applies at all levels of society (e.g. family, municipality, nation, etc.).

Premise 5: Sociopathy, cannot be fully eliminated from society.

Conclusion 2: So long as society is dominated by power hierarchies, it will also be dominated by sociopaths.

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Conclusion 3: Creating, evolving, spreading, and participating in non-hierarchical systems at all levels of society (e.g. home, workplace, government, etc.) are ways to immunize our lives and our society from sociopathic control.

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@GuerillaOntologist Sunday morning armchair critique!

I think it undermines your goal to use the word "dominate" rather than "organize". Society is not dominated by hierarchy, as much as we find the metaphor fitting. It's organized hierarchically. If you adopt this terminology, then you need not assert that non-hierarchy instead must dominate society. Domination is the enemy, right?


@GuerillaOntologist You explain hierarchy in terms of sociopaths, but this fact doesn't help you explain how it's possible to have a non-hierarchical society despite that it must contain sociopaths.

@kdsch I thought of mentioning it, but this way I get to respond rather than just rant 🙂.

I think the solutions are mainly about scale and accountability. We need to keep projects small, and focus on building large *networks*, rather than creating large projects that necessitate large hierarchies (another premise of mine is that hierarchy is also inevitable to some degree).

Secondly, accountability mechanisms that are well understood and firmly enforced (see Ostrom on commons mgmt).

@kdsch If individual projects are relatively small, the fall out from any one of them "going bad" is also relatively small.

And if accountability of individuals is placed front and center in forming those "nodes," then the likelihood of sociopathic takeover of any of those small projects is minimized as well.

Practically, this looks like cross-training (everyone learns how the books work, etc.) and good feedback and conflict resolution processes...which are all easier to do at small scales.

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