Hierarchal thought

March 28, 2006

Today I felt I had ruminated enough about the current textbook we're reading in my English 5 class to contribute to the class discussion. I spouted a bunch of ideas around that had been bouncing around my head: Jensen's semi-violent, unbalanced, philosophy of whiteness, whether or not whiteness is referring specfically to white people or to the ideology of white supremacy; the power structure of his philosophy. And then a girl (who will remain nameless as I haven't asked or been given permission to use her elegant name), said something as I was immediately thinking it. It's as if she took a spoon and scooped the idea directly out of my brain. Which isn't a bad thing, it's just somewhat exhilirating (or rather validating) to be thinking something and then here someone else say it. 

It's a concept which I have begun to notice more and more as fundamental to a lot of the problems we had been discussing in class in regards to gender, race, and economics, as well as the philosophy my father and I were discussing during our Arizona vacation. It's called hierarchy.  It's a concept which pervades so much of western ideology that it is, in large part, responsible for so many social and political dichotomies. Patriarchy, white supremacy, low vs middle vs upper class, the humility to God as a "supreme" being.. etc. And I've also begun to notice fixed versus growth mindsets as being relational to hierarchical thoughts also. For instance, it's a "fixed" mindset that people should, by nature, "know their place." But it's a growth mindset and non-hierarchal belief that people either "are equal" or should be "treated equal." It's growth because it goes against 300 years of patriarchal, heterosexist, and white supremacists ideals. 

Robert Jensen's book has way too many flaws, is way too exclusive a philosophy, and is associated with a realm of ideas which i don't think should be a part of any current philosophy (such as hate and anger). So I won't accept it, but he does nonetheless raise excellent points and questions. His conclusion probably has the most merit of his book though.

I'll edit this once I come back from the Biology of Individuality lecture.  

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One Response to “Hierarchal thought”

  1. MaggiePixel said

    “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” – another book that examines hierarchies, philosophy (and strangely enough a father and son in Arizona).

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