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Territory vs. Hierarchy



The Whole Person Blog: Week Seven, Day Six, Part 2/2 - Territory vs. Hierarchy

Writings inspired by Steven Pressfield: The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles

The War of Art and Self Sabotage here

Overcoming Resistance and Why Talent Doesn't Matter here

Lessons from the Original Spartans here

Friday, February 14th, 2020


Pressfield writes:


"In the animal kingdom, individuals define themselves in one of two ways–by their rank within a hierarchy (wolf in a pack) or by their connection to a territory (a home base). This is how individuals–humans, as well as animals–achieve psychological security. They know where they stand. The world makes sense.


Of the two orientations, the hierarchy seems to be the default setting. We define ourselves, instinctively it seems, by our position within the schoolyard, the gang, the club. It's only later in life, usually after a stern education in the university of hard knocks, that we begin to explore the territorial alternative."


The ego, the insecure and unstable part of ourselves, defines itself vertically, along the y-axis. Its black-or-white mentality perceives itself as better or worst than others. The ego's transactional nature only leads to one place: death of any and all connections. For the artist to thrive and overcome Resistance, she must look within.


Rather than hierarchy, a territorial mentality is about soulfulness, relationship, and generosity. This mentality perceives reality along the horizontal plane, not superior or inferior to anyone, just lives in simple being. There's far less Resistance faced in this reality because the artist does not define herself by her work; she does it for Love and the benefit of the greater good.


"The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off of our souls." Pablo Picasso

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