Throughout most of human history there has been a divide between the wealthy and the poor, the elite and the lower class, those who lead and those who follow.
This seemed an inevitable continuation of our ape-ancestor’s proclivity towards hierarchies, an evolutionarily-hardwired behavior driven by our nervous systems and the neurotransmitters in our brains that determined which males and females were the “alphas” — which got first dibs at dinner and which got the best mates for reproduction.
Humanity’s bodies and brains were shaped by this basic principle of survival of the fittest: let the animals battle it out, and to the victor goes the right to pass on their genes. So naturally, over time, those who were the best at climbing the hierarchy, those whose neurology was capable of navigating a centralized system of status and rank, passed this inherent instinct to their children.
Over and over until the earth beget humans.
Unsurprisingly, as the young species we are, we are still operating on this system. Without enough time for our biology to evolve out of this practice, our governments and corporations and organizations of all kinds still fall into this same hierarchy formed in the jungle by ancestors.
But we don’t live in jungles anymore.
Instead, we’ve developed the unique ability as a species to alter our environment and our tendencies through culture and technology. By creating communities that punish violence through exile from the tribe (prison) or death, we’ve continually driven those with such genetic proclivities out of our gene pool.
Similarly, by living in less fearful conditions we have more time for creativity and innovation, and we’ve created fields of science and technology that can tell us how our animal bodies function and therefore how to tweak our meat-vessel so that we aren’t victims to useless or destructive remnants of evolution.
It’s for this reason that we are now facing a crisis; simply put: limiting power to the “alphas” of our society is no longer necessary. In fact, it’s destructive, to the point of potentially driving us into extinction.
Sure, it might have once been the case that kings and government leaders had the luxury of information that 99% of the peasants and even other members of the elite were blind to. With low literacy, books that were prohibitively expensive, and slow communication requiring in-person interaction and horse-delivered letters, it made sense that we had a chain of command, a hierarchical system that ensured information could accumulate to someone capable of making a decision while the rest of the community focused on growing food, etc.
But now we have smartphones and the internet. The average citizen is just as informed, if not more so, than many or most of our leaders. And we’re not struggling to pass on our genes anymore — if anything, we may need to stop passing them on because we’re killing the planet we call home with overpopulation — and so having a competition hierarchy for the best mates is unnecessary. Most people living under the world’s core governments also aren’t struggling to get food anymore — in fact, one of the biggest problems in America is overeating, as our obesity rate is at roughly 2/3rds, and expected to rise to 75% by 2020 — yes, 3 out of every 4 people…
Such unaddressed issues are a sign that we haven’t adapted to our newly engineered environments. We’re still operating in jungle-mode.
And our government has shown its inability to adjust in the same way, as the mere existence of Facebook and Twitter as new communication mediums have created a slew of unexpected socio-political propaganda, inciting high levels of hate crimes, civil unrest, and tension amongst the masses. Not surprisingly, the masses don’t feel represented, largely because our votes are being funneled through a broken government controlled by corrupt politicians and rich reality-tv stars. A system that moves at a crawl, living in the bureaucratic jungle-mentality of the past — like apes battling stupidly for power — when the rest of us can see right through the BS thanks to our technological prowess.
We see the failures of our government clearly now; our technology has allowed us to see their blatant incompetence and corruption, and we’re furious that even when it’s this broken it can still manage to stay so powerful and resistant to the change the majority of us are fighting for.
But we are the most adaptable animal, so luckily, there is hope — there are solutions.