By Lee Hall
A Sunday schoolteacher taught me to classify people. The male and the female. In that order. Eve was created to help Adam, to serve, and, from Genesis on, to be ruled. “Yet your urge shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you.” Aged six, I couldn’t absorb the ramifications, but the words got through. And there were more. Adam and Eve noticed they were nude, and covered themselves. Nature knows no indecencies, to paraphrase Mark Twain; we invent them.
We also invent rankings. Consider the Great Chain of Being: a scale rising from rocks, to plants, to non-human animals, to ordinary humans, to kings, through the heavenly beings, God at the pinnacle. The principle of hierarchy reverberates as we study nature’s “kingdoms” – and when scholarly humans set the gold standard in ability (for example, showcasing the brilliance of parrots or apes or…
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