On a midmorning at the turn of the century, I sat down to examine my life using that indispensable tool of quantitative and qualitative analysis known as Microsoft Excel. I must have been between projects, and so I started tabulating how I spent my daily hours. This table is a summary:
Ablutions, meals, sleep (56 hours)
Includes commute time
TV, reading, surfing
Let me explain the columns:
- Construct. This is a classification of the main entities or activities I spent my time on.
- Priority. The relative importance I gave to each construct. Note that 1 and not 5 - I wish! - is the highest priority.
- Time. In hours. The total of 168 hours is the number of hours in a week.
- Percent. The ratio of the hours spent on a construct in relation to the weekly total.
- Comment. An explanation of the activities within a construct.
What is interesting about the exercise are the Notes to Self embedded in the spreadsheet, to wit:
1. Might add constructs of community and country.
2. If Sleep takes 33% and Work another 33%, only a third can be devoted to the others.
3. Work represents a full 49% - make that 50% - of waking hours if you include ablutions and meals.
4. The time spent on the higher priority constructs are incredibly the lowest!
The Development of a Hierarchy
In mid-2012, after clearing the Bush in the front and backyards of a property acquired for retirement, I started commenting on blog-sites and in news and social media. Yes, I started hoisting my thoughts on an unsuspecting world, leaking into cyberspace the peculiar views of a heretofore closet iconoclast. In August 2012, Joe Am published "The Foundations of Patriotism" and in a discussion between the distinction of sacrificial patriotism and pride-based patriotism, I listed, based on my spreadsheet, the constructs to which the ordinary man pays loyalty:
2. Country / Church
- Except for the Self, each ring is a parent that encompasses child rings.
- Thus Family encompasses Self, and Community encompasses Family and Self.
- Expandable. A man may have more constructs than the base model. He may belong to a social club like the Rotary Club, and this construct would normally be positioned between Family and Community. He may also have a mistress, and she, too, would be positioned (no pun intended) between Family and Community.
- Collapsible. A man may have less constructs than the base model. He may be an orphan and not have a family and moreover - poor soul! - he may not belong to a church.
- Substitutable. Within a construct, a man may direct his loyalty to a substitute or replacement. A man may change his country and the ex-mistress (God forbid!) may replace the wife.
- Integrity refers to the quality of oneness or wholeness. A man is himself and no other. A country may be an island, an archipelago or a continent.
- Identity refers to the name of a construct. A man may be called Jose; a church St Mary's Cathedral or Mormonism; a nation Japan.
- Viability refers to the ability to grow and develop normally. A baby has biological viability. A church with plausible doctrines has institutional viability. A nation with resources has economic viability.
- Substantiality refers to the nature of a construct. Some constructs are natural, that is occurring in nature, and others are unnatural or artificial.
- The first three constructs - Self, Family and Community - may be said to be natural. I have included Community because fish and birds do organize themselves into communities.
- The middle two constructs - Church and Country - are artificial and man-made.
- The last two constructs - World and God - are ideational and the last is super-natural. By World we refer less to the planet Earth and more to the different major classifications of mankind: East and West; First, Second and Third Worlds; the Two Kinds of People; and the Good, the Bad and the Ugly (kidding!).
- Growth is an extension of Viability and refers to the ability to extend in the dimension of space. A man physically grows from a baby to an adult, and a country in terms of additional territory, or even infrastructure and economic development.
- Persistency is another extension of viability and refers to the ability to extend in the dimension of time. A man also grows in age from a baby to an old man. A man has a short persistency compared to that of a country. A country may have a shorter persistency than a church.
- Porousness refers to the quality whereby the composition of a parent construct is fluid with respect to its child constructs. The composition of a community, church or country may increase by addition, with members being born or moving in; or may decrease by deletion, with members moving out or dying.
- Generally, the Direction of the feeling of loyalty is by choice, but while volitional it may also be circumstantial. A man's loyalty to a church may be strong and true but his particular attachment may arise as an accident of birth.
- The natural bias seems to be that the Intensity of a man's loyalty is directly proportional to the proximity of the object construct. What construct is closest to Self? Why, his own self! Thus a man's highest loyalty is to himself, followed closely by that to his family. I call this the Natural Upward Bias (NUB), in contrast to the Natural Downward Bias (NDB) of the Physical Hierarchy.
- The NUB starts at Self and ends at God. The progression is from something physically real to something ethereally nebulous. Moreover, the progression is also from selfullness (or selfishness) to selflessness.
I will not discuss the Physical Hierarchy (PHSH). My thoughts are still very much with the PSSH. But just as a glimpse, some of the related concerns in the bottom half of the model would be:
- Should we eat Ben, our pet pig?
- How do we humanely treat animals that we use for food?
- Should we all be vegetarians?
- Are we taking enough care of our planet to sustain future generations?
- What is the protocol for visiting extraterrestrials?
|Psychological Sustenance Hierarchy|
|Heirarchy of Loyalties|