Hierarchy is an order on an ascending scale in which not only are the lower elements subject to the higher ones, but in which the actions of the different elements converge towards a summit, towards a centre.
This idea of convergence is essential.
Take the case of a tree; where is its head? You will say that it is the top. No, the head of a tree is its roots through which it receives life.
In relation to human beings, a tree is upside down – its head is buried under the earth. If the branches, leaves, flowers and fruits are not connected to the roots, the tree withers and dies.
This is the image used by Jesus in the parable of the vine, ‘I am the vine and you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.’
A hierarchy also exists in man, from the feet all the way up to the brain.
The whole can be harmonious and well balanced only if all the organs cooperate and strive towards the same goal, in obedience to the one preeminent central principle, the spirit. This is the only way to achieve unity, and unity is the primary basis for life.