How Imagined Order is Ingrained in our Society

An imagined order is a hierarchy created by humans. An imagined order has little to do with genes and has everything to do with the criteria humans made up for this order. According to Harari, “unfortunately, complex human societies seem to require imagined hierarchies and unjust discrimination.” (Harari, 136). But why do we need imagined hierarchies to facilitate large scale cooperation? One example Harari gives us is that “they enable complete strangers to know how to treat each other without wasting the time and energy needed to become personally acquainted.” (Harari,137). Another example that came to my mind is that in society many people think they have the best ideas and think that they should be in charge but not everyone can be in charge. There must be people to do the work as well. 


I believe that imagined orders are a prerequisite for science for one simple reason. Science, in its modern form, is something that only an advanced society can achieve. If imagined orders are needed to form this society then of course they are a prerequisite for science. Additionally, science itself is an imagined order. If the definition of an imagined order is a hierarchy created by humans then how is science, not an imagined order. The most straightforward example of this is the work of Carl Linnaeus who ordered all living organisms in a hierarchy and is considered the father of taxonomy. Even when looking at other disciplines, although it may not be as straight forward, this imagined hierarchy still exists. Humans rank everything from landscapes to animals and classify them in certain ways depending on whatever imagined order they fit under. It is almost as if imagined order is so ingrained in the human culture that we do not know how to function without it. It is used to organize writing, fight wars, and even helps businesses operate efficiently. In conclusion, it is hard to imagine the human race without imagined order. 


One thought on “How Imagined Order is Ingrained in our Society

  1. Your response made me think that these imagined orders come from what societies collectively think is the best idea, although sometimes coming from a place of prestige and vanity. I think it’s interesting that you said imagined orders are a prerequisite for science simply because science is inherently part of society. I am imagining a Venn Diagram type situation where science exists within society which exists because of the concept of imagined orders. That being said, I do not always agree that science is an imagined order because these things being observed are not made up in the human mind. The way they are being described may be arbitrary, but science comes down to actual things happening in our universe.


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