From the top of my climbing frame, I can see for miles and miles. The vast expanse of playground stretches out in every direction, and I am the ruler of all I survey. Off to the horizon, I know I am secure in my leadership of this world, at least until someone else climbs up here and stands up. I’m a bit wary of standing up on these bars. They look a bit slippy.
I don’t think that height actually imposes any kind of hierarchical structure, and am generally opposed to hierarchical structures, particularly when they are based on arbitrariness. (Actually, I don’t know how particularly, I suspect hierarchy is bad even when strictly codified and based on ‘facts’).
But there’s a magical feeling to being high up. Looking out to the horizon and knowing that you can see that little bit further than anyone not where you are. I’ve always maintained that viewpoints are important. It’s useful to climb high, so that you can see things differently. But you mustn’t get airs of superiority, and you should probably try to see things from low down too.
I don’t want to be King of anything. I don’t want to be in charge, so much as I want to be free to be me, and to reach out. I want to be able to talk to people and collaborate on big wonderful thoughts. I want to build new worlds without kings and rascals, without castles or dirt.
Well. Only symbolically do I reject dirt. Or even rascalliness. Both have their positive places in a better world, but in the original context of hierarchy, you can see my problem.
How does one build a world without hierarchy?
It’s still about building perspectives for people. Allowing people to see things from as many different viewpoints as possible. It sounds absurd to keep on going about this, but really, it’s my primary idealistic solution a broken world. Get everyone to pay more attention. To slow down, breathe deep, and put their thoughts in the minds of others. See things from the perspective of the people you meet, before you make your reactions and statements and oppressions. De-centre your self. Remove your fixity from the equation and allow empathy and understanding to make you less of a dick.
It’s not actually easy. But it’s worth the effort. The more you allow other people to be as human as you know yourself to be, the harder it becomes to exploit, kill or otherwise harm each other. If everyone did it together. If everyone looked honestly at everyone else in the world, then the currently brutalist structures of civilisation would peacefully crumble into a fine powder, leaving room for something better.
In the mean time, we need to work hard to wake ourselves up. Reject the structures we can see to be broken, and talk to the world as if it is the same as us.
Because we are all the same. King and Rascal all.
Illustration by Rosie‘s Adam (not our regular Adam) again.