“When everybody is climbing to the top, nobody is on the bottom. Everybody falls. When everybody is on the bottom: everyone is on top.”
This perspective is something I believe truly belongs only to those on the bottom. For someone on the bottom, it’s probably a comforting notion, that those you might percieve as being above you should be (and might eventually be) down there with you. What might surprise people is that, honestly, I have no problem with this sort of thing anymore. I believe in higher and lower ‘castes’, I am an unapologetic elitist, but one that has no problem with people having the ability to ascend (or to fall) in the context of any given hierarchy. So I feel little real animosity, with the possible exception being for the likelihood of this crippling someones desire to move upwards when they otherwise might’ve been able to.
To me, it sucks if a person on the lower part of a given hierarchy, aspiring to more and otherwise capable of getting it, indulges in these notions. What I think someone should be doing to rise: seek to become stronger, rather than trying to be seen as stronger for the fall of those that were at the top. To ascend. Stepping on others, maybe knocking down a person here and another there along the way, is a natural part of the ascendance. But if all you seek to do is bring others down to your level, you’ll still be in the same place as you were before. At the end of the day, you’ll still be weak.
The weak can have their resentful views of the ones they see as the strong, and they can continue to stay that way. After all, for someone to be on top, and for being at the top of any hierarchy to mean anything, to have any value, there has to be people at the bottom. And it’s people that believe that the meak will inherent the earth (or other similar notions) that will usually remain at the bottom. When it comes to people wanting to become recognized as strong through weakening the strong instead of becoming stronger themselves, they have their place.
Is it your place? Mine? I’d say that depends on answers to a few key questions: what hierarchy do you even care about? Political roles, a corporate ladder, a tally of who makes the most per year? There are different kinds of power, a variety of avenues through which to influence the world, and a plethora of hierarchies relating to any one of them. You don’t have to be a high-roller with tons of cash, or the mayor of the town you live, or senator of the state in which you reside, or CEO of a nation-spanning corporation, or head of a secret service agency, unless one or more of those specific hierarchies are related and relevant to what you burn for, enjoy, and have talent with.
(Written June 24th | Notes, a prelude to thoughts expressed in Effortless Brilliance, which was posted almost a month after this particular fragment was written down.)