:::this is the way the world ends:::

“Participate if you want.”

“…when groups of people – especially males – spend much time together, some sort of hierarchy , if implicit and subtle, is pretty sure to appear. Whether we know it or not, we tend naturally to rank one another, and we signify the ranking through patterns of attention, agreement, and deference – whom we pay attention to, whom we agree with, whose jokes we laugh at, whose suggestions we take.”

From the Moral Animal by Robert Wright.

Pretty funny stuff.


  1. Ned

    Long live Slytherin. Snape rocks. Oh, and First!

  2. Shotts

    Very interesting, and true, quotation from The Moral Animal. Glad you’re reading that, as I’m quite curious about it myself. But as you know, I have just spent seven weeks reading through over 4,000 pages of Harry Potter.

    Of course, I wonder, Ned, what hierarchy exists within the Hollow Men? How do we all rank in each others’ eyes? And is the hierarchy the same for each of us? And does that hierarchy change, or has it remained the same since high school?

  3. J.E.

    Toby is still the best of us isn’t he?

  4. Ned

    I thought we had revealed how we rank each other through the sorting hat exercise; thus, the title of this post. No?

  5. Shotts

    I guess I took the Sorting Hat exercise to be more about Harry Potter than much else. And clearly it limits the possibilities merely into four. Obviously, as real, living human beings, we characterize other people, hopefully, in far more than merely four different categories.

    I guess I would say that our subtle hierarchy has been an ongoing, changing thing, since we’re talking about a period of over fifteen years. For instance, when I was in Saint Louis, Toby and I were in fairly regular contact, I visited Kansas City a number of times, and my sense of the hierarchy was, definitely, that Toby is the best of us. There were times that Peters and I were talking very regularly, talking about being emotionally crippled and so on. So I guess, to use those examples, I think the hierarchy has changed at various times. I think that’s part of the group’s strength.

    Ned, you clearly feel at the bottom of the hierarchy, given the whole Sorting Hat exercise, etc. I’m sorry if that’s the case. I don’t think that was anyone’s intention. Your place in the group and in the subtle, unspoken hierarchy is essential–you are often the instigator of conversation, spiritual thought, and art, and your passion and debate have been major factors in moving this group forward and keeping us together.

    I guess we all probably fear our own places in each other’s sense of the hierarchy of the HM, to some extent. But I take a lot of comfort in knowing, even when I lapse, even when I am probably the worst at communicating regularly (except via this blog), I feel a sense of belonging to the hierarchy, regardless of where I might stand within it, at any given moment…

Leave a Reply

© 2024 The Hollow Men

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑