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Forum nameOkay Activist Archives
Topic subjectThe Great Chain of Being
Topic URLhttp://board.okayplayer.com/okp.php?az=show_topic&forum=22&topic_id=2753&mesg_id=2800
2800, The Great Chain of Being
Posted by Nettrice, Fri Dec-12-03 01:38 AM
>get lumped together to form one GIANT concept?

Here's the concept:

"To put it simply, the Elizabethans believed that there was and should be a place for everything and everything was and should be in its place. Even today, in these supposedly modern times, it feels good to belong, to find your niche, your place in life, your vocation, your calling." - http://guildofstgeorge.com/chain.htm

The bottom of the chain represents the least possible perfection, which is nothingness (as opposed to evil).
Descartes, Meditations 110.4.
Spinoza, Ethics 37-38 (I.11.3d proof), 38.7 (I.11 sch)

The being at the top of the chain is utterly independent or self-sufficient or absolute.
Descartes, Meditations 104.3, 106.3.
Spinoza, Ethics 31 (I defs 1, 3, 6), 44.2 (I.17), 56.5 (I.33 sch.2).
Leibniz, Monadology 40." - http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/courses/re/chain.htm

"This is a rough-hand but modern version of The Great Chain of Being, a concept first voiced by Aristotle. It's a depiction of ladderlike steps in the supposed complexity of living things. Lesser creatures occupy the bottom rungs; the human is (well, of course!) at the very top." - http://www.santafe.edu/sfi/publications/Bulletins/bulletin-fall96/mcshea.html

I find it interesting that this one main idea or concept goes back to Artistotle and finds it way through several known philosophers and thinkers in several European countries and even to the sciences (Darwinism) and colonialism. If Black people or people of color are placed at the bottom of the chain then it would make sense that they needed to be infiltrated and maybe destroyed or subjugated.

I've been reading up on the "great chain" concept since my senior year of high school when I attempted to find the origins of racism. Back then and now it seems as if this European concept that crosses country boarders and times in history has formed the very basis of imperialism and other "isms" that we know about today.