Today I was drawn again to the facinating theory of the Peter Principle that was published in 1969 by Laurence J. Peter to show “why things always go wrong”.
The main argument of the book is that in a hierarchy people who do an excellent job get promoted. This goes on and on until on reaches a level of hierarchical authority that one cannot handle anymore. In reality one has reached a personal level of incompetence. This is where people stick to a position because no one tends to get demoted back down into the hierarchy as a recognition of this incompetence. One can be trained or get promoted even further away from one’s competence by getting a yet higher or different position of questionable talent.
The logical and curious conclusion is that the higher up you climb the career ladder, the more incompetent you get until you get fixated at your maximum level of incompetence.
This is interesting because a career climb is always accompanied with an extra bag of money and benefits. This suggests that anyone who is money driven searches his or her utmost level of incompetence to make most of it. This would explain why bankers, government leaders and heads of strategic analyst buros would not see a credit crisis coming even if it knocked on their doors and stood right in front of their noses. It also explains that all the crises right now will simply not be solved by all those people who are in the current hierarchical positions of power. Their only possible outcome would be to install a yet higher level of incompetence above them as a career step further up showing the world the best of all incompetent.
Even though Laurence J. Peter makes his point in 1969 it was the Greek philosopher Plato who already stated in about 400BC “Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber.”
This is another of such public wisdom that finds its roots in the proof of our published reality. If by the principles of Peter and Plato incompetence and stupidity has a tendency of floating upwards in any hierarchy the negative aspects of humankind, such as greed, sex orgies, power abuse, corruption, etc will surely become exaggerated along the same line. Lust is related to the emotional disorder that matches the rational disorder of incompetence. The human personal imbalance (of any IQ, EQ, SQ, FQ, AQ) grows and people become less and less aware of their incompetence and more and more convinced of their own reality of power. They start living in their own dream world, a virtual reality that often makes them disappear into the history books as a public villain or lunatic. Always in hindsight though because we had no social media in the past. On TV and internet today we observe this all the time now. So it is curious that entire political, financial and business hierarchies are still receiving a level of authority when we know now that the utmost level of wisdom is somewhere in the crowd and certainly not with those people in the hall of operational fame.
My own law of opposites then confirms that anyone who is fired from a high up hierarchical position automatically reinstates his or her utmost level of competence. Just observe the change in personality of American presidents during office and afterwards. They invariably become missionaries of human and planetary rights providing speeches around the world on how things should be done that they did not do when in office. When in power they were humanly incompetent and when out of power they compensate. No sex scandals after the oval office either.
This has its logic too. When people do not carry the burden of a hierarchical position anymore they become human beings again. In the hierarchy they are puppets of that system in which they climb by becoming the head puppet of a puppet theater. Without all the strings attached one is totally free. One finds out all the real competences that one really has, and had to begin with, instead of the ones that one is supposed or expected to have within the system. When one “leads” the system one is in reality led by the system itself, making a person institutional leader to uphold the system not the person itself or the human world or planet. The higher up in the hierarchy the lack of freedom combines with the lack of competence making a human being into a clumsy and potentially dangerous robot.
A person who was very high up in a hierarchy shows that he or she had a lot of competences to lay off to reach that top level. When fired we then find a very powerful personality that becomes human being again with the discovery of all the original competences in tact and with total freedom to use them.
This brings us to the conclusion that people who are in hierarchical power should never be taken seriously. And by no means they should be left alone and in charge of a country, a business or any institution.
Only those people who reached their maximum level of incompetence in a hierarchy by becoming president or close thereof are fully and impressively competent again once fired or removed otherwise totally from the pyramid.
This makes the community of old hierarchical leaders the most interesting basis for the creation of my new sustainocratic multinationals without personnel and many thousands of collaborators. Interestingly I find that, despite the fact that people think the above is exaggerated and even funny, there is a component of significant truth in it. True leadership is not hierarchical yet needs maybe the step upwards towards incompetence and back down towards individual freedom to become fully aware of a complex reality and start acting accordingly.
So it is not the crowd that is wise, nor the incompetent that lead large structures. It are the ex-top-incompetent back in the crowd that make the progressive difference.