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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!


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  • Nov 9 2013: I think it is the result of education
    • Nov 9 2013: Who educated gorillas to have hierarchies? Who educated chimpanzees to have hierarchies? Who educated baboons to have hierarchies? Who educated Rhesus monkeys to have hierarchies? I could keep going.
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        Nov 9 2013: Just like humans animals learn about their hierarchies from their own groups with the dominate ones enforcing the process and the rest of the 'tribe' either complying or being driven out or killed while humans defame, discredit or otherwise ostracize the non-compliant. .In both groups it is invariably the bullies and the charismatic that rise to the top of their hierarchies.
        • Nov 9 2013: But who "educated" all those species to have hierarchies in the first place? Who "educated" wolves to have hierarchies IN THE FIRST PLACE? Who is the entity that "taught" them "you shall have hierarchies"? What were they like BEFORE the first hierarchy was imposed, and how was it imposed in all of these different species?
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        Nov 9 2013: I agree. And while education culture, nurture, indoctrination whatever may shape hierarchies, the global occurrence of hierarchies seems to support there being some natural impulse underlying.
        • Nov 9 2013: Hierarchy is natural, just like men being physically stronger than women (in general) is natural. It doesn't mean that men should use that physical strength to dominate or abuse women, it's just part of nature. We have a moral responsibility to not use "it's natural" as an excuse to perpetuate injustice. Thus, while the mere existence of hierarchy is biologically hard-wired, how we express that is up to us.
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        Nov 11 2013: i know that sometimes what seems simple can become very obtuse, however see above for clarity or not
        • Nov 11 2013: So, is it "God" who "educated" all these different species to have hierarchies in the first place? If hierarchy is a purely external factor, to which a species had to have been educated to adopt, what is the origin of that primal "education"? Who implemented it? Now, if you want to say "God taught them", that's not even theoretically refutable, but it's also not even theoretically scientific. "God did it." is a bit of a cop-out. But if you don't want to invoke "God", then you have to posit some sort of natural mechanism. Either it is ingrained into animal life at some level, or it is "taught", and if "taught", who "taught" it to the wolves, the humans, the gorillas, the baboons, the ants, and the bees? Where can we find this entity?

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