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Status, Evolution, and Human Nature


As we move into a new year, I’d like to post something that I feel has fundamental importance. I hope you can take the time to read it carefully.


Status is generally defined as a person’s condition, position, or standing relative to that of others.

Please read that definition again and consider this:

Status automatically creates division and conflict.

Status forces us to think in terms of position, hierarchy, and dominance, and can’t possibly do otherwise; it is built solely upon our standing relative to others.

In other words, status is a poison. It causes us to think of others as adversaries and to compulsively compare positions.

To be very blunt about it, status is a primate model of seeing other beings. But it’s even worse than that: Not only does status poison our inter-relationships, it poisons our self-image. After all, it requires us to think of ourselves as above or below every other person.

Here are the two central problems with status:

  1. Status is plainly irrational. We are massively complex beings, at the same time better and worse than the next person in a dozen ways.
  2. Status forces us to see each other as adversarial. Status seeds hate, malice, and war.


Status stands before us as an evolutionary hurdle. If humanity is to rise as a species, it absolutely must transcend status. Until we do, humans will continue to think primate thoughts, and human history will remain centered on conflict.

Status is a continuous, pervasive, and internalized culture of man versus man. And most human minds do hold this as a central concept. How many people like to see themselves as richer, prettier, taller, or more powerful than others? By so thinking, they build the foundations of envy, abuse, and violence.

Our present world is dominated by status-based structures. Whether kingdom, democracy, theocracy, or whatever, status-based structures set one man or group of men above all others. These people of a “higher” position-relative-to-others collect the production of the “lower” people, issue edicts they are forced to obey, and punish those who do not.

In other words, the ruling systems of the present world are incarnations of status… they are “status made flesh,” to paraphrase a famous scripture. This is a primary reason why the world is perpetually at war. The very model on which our society is built sets man against man and group against group, automatically and unavoidably.

Human Nature

Status is not “us.” It may be something we’ve been trained in for dozens of generations; it may be something that has influenced us all our lives; but it is not “us.” It is, rather, a dirty and old habit.

Individual humans tend to transcend status fairly well when they exert effort on it. They usually learn, for example, to drop the concept among people they love. And therein lies the proof that it is not truly “us.” We are better than status.

The truth is that humans can and do demonstrate non-oppositional thinking and living. And in this we see that human nature has been sold short.

Humans, even while immersed in the poisonous and persistent mindscape of status, still demonstrate love and charity.

That fact speaks extremely well of us. Human nature is better than we thought it was.

It’s time to start stripping status from our minds and lives.

Paul Rosenberg

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