The Social Hierarchy Of Being And Non Being Essay

823 Words May 2nd, 2016 4 Pages
The social hierarchy in the Spanish Conquest of the being and non-being are derived from the Western Judeo-Christian concepts of the Great Chain of Being. The Western Judeo-Christian concept of the Great Chain of Being is a religious hierarchy of all matter and life. It is divided into four categories: the being, realm of being, realm of becoming, and non-being. All segments are different levels of divinity. In this religious hierarchy, God is placed at the top of the hierarchy of being, humans are placed in the realm of being, animals and plants in the realm of becoming, and non-being are minerals. These levels demonstrate the rank of power each division possesses on earth. To emphasize, this particular system is a form of social control in European government and culture. As a result, during the Spanish conquest this religious concept is eventually adopted and condensed into two categories of the being and non-being. This hegemonic system justified the violence, genocide, ethnocide, and enslavement of the indigenous population in Latin America during the colonialism.
The Great Chain of Being dehumanized indigenous people into the non-being category due to their non-European customs and inferiority. This is vividly illustrated by Bartolome de las Casas, when describing the abominable actions Spanish Conquistadors committed toward the indigenous, he describes that the, “…most damnable things in the whole of Creation is the way in which the Spanish use natives to fish for…

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