TED Conversations

This conversation is closed.

Is it part of human nature to have a hierarchy?

This question was mainly inspired by my history class. We were going over some Russian Marxists, and I thought it was interesting that even a communist regime will have a leader. This brought up the question, "Is it natural for humans to have a leader?" I thought about any organization and realized they all have a decently-defined hierarchy. I also thought about our cavemen ancestors and the sort of familial hierarchy with the father as the provider of food and safety (I haven't really studied anthropology, so tell me if I'm incorrect).

Feel free to ask clarifying questions, and I am looking forward to your responses!


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Oct 16 2013: You seem to be ignoring mothers and other women. They lead most cultures in myriad ways.
    Many cultures have very different systems of self government than despotism or rule by one "man", such as native American tribes, where there are leaders in different areas and counsels of elders.
    Women control the camps, including deciding when and where camps will be moved or placed. They also eject males who are disruptive or dangerous to children or abusive to others and provide medical care, among other things.
    One man or more might be followed as chief for war or raiding, another for inter-tribal relations, and there are usually tribal elders, men and women who are old enough to have the wisdom and experience to make tribal rules and decisions.
    This extremely simplified bit of info on tribal governance includes many cultures on the two American continents and worked well for thousands of years.
    Both men and women may be spiritual leaders and teachers. Someone who is good at making weapons or baskets will be the leader with regard to those activities if people want to follow them.
    Counsels of elders are extremely common.
    I wonder if there are subtle genetic differences between geographic regions that are reflected in governance. Like the difference between bonobos and chimpanzees.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.