How do the paradigms of “great Chain of Being” and “essentialism” color your thinking?
The “Great Chain of Being” or Scala Naturae has effected the way we have thought about our relationship to the rest of the world, to nature, for a very long time. many ealy scientists were unable to move our thinking forward because of this notion that all of nature forms a hierarchy with God and the saints and angels followed by mankind at the top of the scale and all the lowly creatures and plants and insects below us.
Share ways that you know this paradigm colors your thinking. What are some assumptions you make about life and other organisms for example that shows the impact of this view.
This paradigm of “great Chain of Being” is still very obvious where I grew up, Indiana. Multiple examples include the belief that humans are better than animals, that men are superior to women, and that God is watching over and judging us all.
Farmers do not look at their livestock as emotional beings with feelings; to the farmer those animals were just money waiting to be made. When it would rain I would make sure all our animals where dry and warm. The farm down the road did not care the horses, cows, goats, etc. would just be huddled in the middle of the field trying to keep each other warm.
My small town taught that men work and women stay home and take care of the house. This is how I thought for a very long time; until I began questioning it all. I remember realizing I wanted to do x with my life and not understanding how I could it if I was supposed to cook and clean for my husband. I eventually grew up and realized gender roles should have no part in society anymore, and that I can do and be whatever I want.
Lastly I grew up in a religious town, even though my home was nonreligious. I personally do not believe in the concept of higher beings, but I know many people who do. The people I have known very personally would put higher beings like God in a higher position than themselves, and until their death many would live their lives in love and fear of God and life after death
Essentialism colors my thinking because it labels how things are supposed to be and how people are supposed to act. Women are supposed to have certain feminine traits. Media went further by showing us what we are supposed to look like. Here is where this paradigm impacted me the most and I still sometimes struggle. I know looking like a woman on the front of a magazine is unrealistic, but sometimes I wake up look in the mirror and feel gross. My stomach is not flat enough, my makeup is not perfect, my skin is not flawless and I cannot stop these thoughts. Of course I go on a binge of looking up the newest trends in fashion and diet until I either see change or give up and accept myself again.