Saturday, May 02, 2009

Denmark is flat

All paid jobs absorb and degrade the mind.
-- Aristotle

I can see the viewpoint, but I'm not sure I agree. Even though I've been self-employed for years now and loving it, before that I had several different day jobs which I was perfectly happy with. The work was not bad, it had variation, I liked my boss and colleagues, and I earned my keep and learned new skills and could forget about the work when I walked home each day.

I have a friend who loathes any kind of hierarchy. She could never be in a paid job, she tells me, it would be degrading. I really don't see why. In a couple of my paid jobs I was very friendly with my boss, and half-jokingly called him "boss" sometimes (which is not normally done in Denmark).
Maybe it's because Denmark is very flat, both geographically and socially. There is not a lot heavy hierarchy going on. Or maybe I was just lucky with my jobs, I think I was. But it seems to me that a hierarchy is not such a horrible thing if both parts are doing it willingly and know it's all just in good fun, and there's mutual respect.

It does not have to be twisted domination games. The fact is that in any operation bigger than a couple of people, there has to be a central coordination and control point, otherwise people trip over each other.


Anonymous said...

But isn't any job a "paid" job? Even if you're self-employed you're earning a wage. Aristotle was of the idle upper class. You couldn't be a philosopher in his day if you weren't. He's basically saying that if you work for a living, your mind goes to shit. "Only those of us born into a life of idleness can develop our minds." They took in money but weren't paid for what they did.

eolake said...

Interesting point, you might be right.

That explains why Paris Hilton is such a bright bulb. :-)

neeraj said...

... a hierarchy is not such a horrible thing if both parts are doing it willingly and know it's all just in good fun, and there's mutual respect.

Exactly. In my view hierarchy (as it is understood mostly today) is a "poisoned" word, like many other words. Literally/originally it comes from the old Greek words "hieros" (holy, whole) and "arche" (dominion), so it means something like "the holy dominion" or "the dominion of the whole".

And that's really not bad. In the contrary, look into nature: Wherever you look, it is ALL built in a hierarchical way, on any level. And the "dominion of the whole" leads to a high synergy of any system, which is in turn composed of many subsystems, which are in turn composed of many subsubsystems, and so on ...

Arthur Koestler has coined the term "Holon", meaning that every part of the universe has a double face:
- On the one side being a kind of individual "particle" and composed of many subsystems,
- on the other side being in turn itself a subsystem as part of a "supersystem" on the next higher level.

A very good example of a VERY complex system with a high synergy is your own body. And whenever one of your cells or a subsystem of them doesn't obey anymore the dominion of the whole, then it means cancer, disintegration, death.

The poisoning of the word "hierarchy" has happened because "the holy dominion" was misunderstood as manmade "dominion of the priests" (as middlemen between the whole and the stupid human beings). Just an egoic power trip, maybe having started with a "good" motivation.

... there has to be a central coordination ...

Yes, that's it, the dominion of the whole, sometimes crystallized in a single person of a social community. On all levels of the evolution it is there, otherwise any complex system would disintegrate very fast.

It is far from being fully understood in biology and/or medicine, how it works. You may label it as Chi, life energy, healing force, orgon, flow of the universe, cosmic intelligence, God ... whatever. Which doesn't mean that it is understood.

On the level of human behaviour it is still in development, not yet fully developped. Sometimes, e.g. totally lost in any kind of love and creativity, you can feel it as "being in the flow". In these moments "you" are no more, only your being is, and you are totally lost and complete at the same time.

Instead, what we can observe very often all over the world is some kind of "social cancer" as a result from egoistic stupidities.

The creative forces of evolution, contemporarily working on the level of human consciousness and represented now by every woman and man on the world, may heal it in some future ... at least, I hope so.

Joe Dick said...

That explains why Paris Hilton is such a bright bulb. :-)

I'd be willing to bet that the majority of the idle rich in Aristotle's time was more like Paris Hilton (or, a more palatable example, Bertie Wooster). Not that they were that idle. Socrates and Plato both did their required military service.

eolake said...

It goes to show. If you have everything handed to you, why work or develop yourself?