Intersection vs. Hierarchy

In this new world, the world of fractured and disparate identities, hierarchy has been turned to ashes, fallen to the ground and blown into the wind. Where a man’s identity used to be neatly ordered, descending from Christian, down to father and husband, to individual, now a man’s identity is unknown even to himself, often boiled down to nothing more than a capitalist occupation. Am I a son? Yes, but the nuclear family is a white supremacist construct. Am I a man? Not necessarily; gender is a spectrum. Am I American? Yes, but the nation is on stolen land, thus illegitimate. Am I an Amazon warehouse employee? Definitely; no questions asked.

No human being on earth can exist having the cornerstones of their identity attacked daily. Our identities are much like a compass, guiding us through life, helping us choose which paths to walk. In an ordered, stable hierarchy a man’s identity is set and so are his potential paths. There is no disordered intersection, but neatly ordered ascension.

In this new world, however, people’s identities aren’t set; they must be personally grasped and chosen. The hierarchy has crumbled, leaving us in a flattened, atomized plane in which no identity can claim to be paramount or supreme in any objective way. Rather than existing upon an ascending/descending mountainous dichotomy, identity now exists in a hadron collider, with one’s identities smashing into one another like invisible particles flying around at random. 

In an attempt to salvage this unsalvageable mode of being, the collective unconscious has selected the term “intersection” to describe the current state of identity. Such a term perhaps brings to mind a grid of neatly ordered city streets. Both symbolically and pragmatically this explains the above mention flattened state of identity, but not the chaotic nature or unranked, disordered identity. 

Where identities used to exist in rank order, above and below one another, there was no intersection, only a clear hierarchy. Today people’s identities are described as intersectional because they have no way of ranking them, so they bump into one another at random points. There is not one above the other, only a random confluence of lines, like a maze with no actual goal or prize. This is a sure recipe for madness because there is no end, no rhyme or reason for this collection of intersecting lines; just as there is no rhyme or reason to the intersecting lines of identity for a gay, non-binary female person of color. You can spend your time constructing such a confluence of intersecting lines if you want, but it is definitionally a pointless, fruitless exercise—there is no goal, whereas a mountain has a peak to reach. Humans need an obtainable peak, not a maze without cheese.

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