Posts tagged ancient culture
What Totem Poles Can Teach Us About Hierarchy at Work

On a beautiful summer day in Victoria, British Columbia, I had a realization while standing in front of one of the tallest totem poles in the world.

            In a totem pole, each animal is sitting on another animal’s head, whether it be an eagle, a frog, a killer whale, or a human. The position on the head is important. In every animal on the totem pole, the head is the location of the most organs of the senses: eyes, ears, nose. And it is the location of the brain.

            When we look out through the eyes, for instance, we see every animal and person as essentially “on our head,” or in our brain. The title we give the animal or person. Whether we think they are nice, mean, ferocious, happy, inviting, cute, threatening. These are all traits that come from our heads. The animal is based on (read “sits on”) our own head…

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