March 26, 2018

Organic Deep Hierarchy

This is a snapshot of a model we played with as an alternative to parliamentary organizing structures like Robert’s Rules of Order. We intended it to patch the vulnerabilities of such systems, and be the kind of thing that a strong state or community organization might want to implement internally as its rules of order.

These rules are not intended to be used for wage-paying economic projects, which have much more direct power over members through wages, and thus don’t need to manage personal and political loyalty as much, and don’t need to be as voluntary. It is also not intended for criminal or terrorist organizations, which need much more emphasis on compartmentalization and counter-intelligence.

This kind of organization is more suited to:

  • A strong aristocratic party-state in which members have substantial personal owned power, and have social, political, ideological, and/or religious motivations and can’t really be fired as easily as with a wage-paying bureaucracy or company.

  • The internal organizing comittee of community organizations like a block-watch or book club or mountaineering club.

  • Citizen militias or other disaster-response organizing.

  • Fraternal orders like college fraternities, religious orders, masons, the old YMCA, self-improvement societies.

  • Serious political parties, where members are motivated idealistically and are substantially volunteers.

  • Probably other things too.

We call it Organic Deep Hierarchy. “Hierarchy” is self-explanatory. “Deep” as opposed to “flat”, meaning it is relatively fine-grained in its hierarchy. “Organic” meaning we intend it to use relatively natural instincts and modes of human social reasoning, and to be responsive to fluid social trust and loyalty.

Organic Deep Hierarchy is a concrete implementation of male-bonding hierarchical-loyalty social structure which appears to be essential to civilization. It is way of organizing groups of men to build strong social fabric and get stuff done. It is a set of constraints on subgrouping and hierarchy intended to ensure good properties with respect to scalability, flexibility, skill building, antifragility, and decision making.

Terminology and Rules:

  1. A “mannerbund” is at least three men, called “members”, committed to a common goal in some domain of operation, agreed on some organizational system, usually organized in some geographic locale for convenient in-person meeting.

  2. A mannerbund has a physical headquarters large, accessible, and discreet enough that its members can meet there and speak freely and work as needed. This need not be owned or exclusive, but is ideally. It could be a back room somewhere, or someone’s house, an impromptu outdoor headquarters in a central area, or an office, or whatever.

  3. Every member of a mannerbund chooses a “personal leader” from his mannerbund. If he won’t submit to any, or none will take him, he cannot be a member. Members cannot choose a direct or indirect subordinate as their leader. The hierarchy forms a tree rooted in the “mannerbund leader”.

  4. A leader cannot have more than five direct subordinates. Any more than that, and he needs to delegate leadership to competent subordinates. Six subordinates for example can be broken into two groups of three, each with its own leader, or only some of the subordinates could be resubordinated.

  5. Direct subordinates must obey the commands of their direct superiors within the domain of the mannerbund. To refuse, one must either leave the patch, or successfully claim that the order is out-of-domain and terminate the subordination. The command may be withdrawn by the superior if it is judged out-of-domain, in which case subordination does not have to be terminated.

  6. Organizational and decision-making meetings should be held with leader and direct subordinates, with the leader having final say in all decisions. Some meetings can be larger, including indirect subordinates, for example the direct subordinates of the direct subordinates.

  7. The set of men who are directly or indirectly subordinated to a particular leader are collectively called that leader’s “sub-mannerbund”, and he their “sub-mannerbund leader”. The set of men who directly report to a particular leader, plus that leader, are his “subordinate squad” collectively, his “squad subordinates” individually, their “superior squad” collectively, and their “squad brothers” individually. Members without subordinates are called “leaf members”. All members who are not leaf members or mannerbund leader thus have exactly one subordinate squad and exactly one superior squad.

  8. The subordination relation is subject to ongoing consent by default. Either the leader or subordinate may terminate the relationship at any time for any or no reason. Stronger binding can be arranged for if desired. Termination of the relation requires the subordinate to choose a new superior who will take him.

  9. In disputes, the judge shall be the nearest mutual superior. Opening a dispute with him over the outcome of the judgement has the effect of an appeal, bumping the case up a level. Too many needless appeals will rapidly result in expulsion. Between mannerbunds that don’t share superiors, there is no law but power and whatever law is imposed by the sovereign of the land.

  10. A single man can sit at multiple points in the hierarchy as necessary. For example, he could have two superior squads: one lead by himself representing the consensus of that squad, and another by his actual superior. Or he could participate as a subordinate in on a limited-domain project team as he has time. The mannerbund leader in particular may have this arrangement where he wants to separate his top-level co-conspirators from his strict subordinates. This is a powerful feature, like a table saw; don’t cut your fingers off.

  11. Local mannerbunds may be submannerbunds of a nonlocal mannerbund that is spread between locales. For example, a franchised fraternity has local chapters within a national structure. As per above, members of a local mannerbund may have different position in the hierarchy in the local mannerbund vs the nonlocal mannerbund. For example, men who are superiors or equals with respect to the nonlocal mannerbund may be subordinated in the local mannerbund.

This operating system builds powerfully organized groups of men who can take on complex tasks together and get them done. But this is just the skeleton. It needs domain-specific muscle to make it go.

The point of Organic Deep Hierarchy is to force a scalable rate of hierarchicalization early in the growth process. This way, the relevant skills are developed early and often among the men. Thereafter it provides a strong model for organizational decision-making and dispute resolution that lacks the failure modes of consensus and parliamentary rules of order.

This is an organizational mode focused on and engineered for the excellence of individual men, and their ability to make decisions organically and naturally, without bureaucratic quagmire.

A particular goal with respect to other rules of order and bureuacratic quagmire is that we want to formalize and structure the actual ties of loyalty and coordination which exist, and turn them towards productive purpose. Parliamentary and consensus mechanisms are notorious for factioning and gridlock as soon as there is any real stake to fight over. We believe this is a large factor in the death of effective local civic organization in our society.

If communists or whatever try to infiltrate and gain influence in this system, we want them to be naturally grouped together, organized in their own hierarchy, and dealt with through their leader, with access only to the resources their leader specifically negotiates for them. In other words, we want the usual shenanigans to be impossible.

Entryism in an organic strictly hierarchical system is certainly still possible. You don’t have to accurately report your loyalties. But it requires higher levels of discipline and stealth, and there are fewer resources lying around for the taking. Parliamentary and consensus systems are immediately pwned and taken over by well organized political parties. This happens much more rarely to well-organized political parties themselves, because they are already using a tighter organization. We aim to provide a system of tight organization with strength against these failures.

One of the key relations we wish to enable and encourage by this model is master-apprentice relations. The master-apprentice relation provides a rich environment for growth of the apprentice, in exchange for useful and trustworthy personal assistance for the master. Both are greatly benefitted.

Some thought will have to be given to how to do things like joint-stock companies, and property ownership and such, if this turned out to be the right model for the root social fabric that everyone in a society should fit into. But for now, we are aiming it only at purposeful single-domain project groups and working groups.

This is highly unpolished, with a mix of different intents. It will also need testing. We’ll do a future version at some point.

Edited and curated by Wolf Tivy

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