photoFAQ: The Top

What is the job of HiCons?

Building, maintaining, and grooming hierarchies is the highest priority of hierarchy conservators, or HiCons, more so than the welfare of individual people or communities. HiCons are responsible and accountable for doing whatever it takes to keep the power, resources, and control with them at the top. People at the top are not accountable for the effects on lower groups.

imageWhy are HiCons clueless?

No matter where in a hierarchy, people focus on the opinions, perspectives, actions, and experiences of their level and above. As people move up in a hierarchy, the sources of "acceptable" information become fewer and more limited in scope, so perspectives become isolated and narrow.

People at the top use must use excuses, distortions, and blaming lower people to make sense of a system they must rationalize as normal and fair. They convince themselves and others that their decisions are made for the good of the whole.

Why don't HiCons understand the need for change?

Hierarchies are difficult to see from the top. "Higher" people make rules that reflect their own desires, perspectives, and needs, so they have little incentive to question the system they create.

The HiCons typically say that they deserve more because they worked harder, are more clever, or any number of other reasons to rationalize their superior position. Those who don't have what they have must be lazy, less capable, naturally flawed, or inferior.

imageWho can see hierarchies?

Hierarchies are easiest to see when viewed from lower levels. People in lower groups can't afford the luxury of ignorance about the opinions, actions, and movements of those on higher levels. To survive among and maneuver around HiCons, "lower" people learn about the ones who have control and power over the rest of us.

Why does our anger and frustration help the HiCons?

We strengthen hierarchies when we stay frustrated, angry, bewildered, burnt out, and immobilized as we wait in anticipation for HiCons to come around. We keep our focus on the higher groups, endlessly encouraging or expecting them to listen and change.

If we assume that the top of a hierarchy will one day take into account the needs of everyone involved, we are naive and are not seeing the hierarchy realistically. The hierarchy is strengthened when we, anticipating change from the top, indefinitely put off starting, joining, or supporting small or large efforts that improve situations for ourselves, our groups, or our communities.


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