I understand someone why we like hierarchical social structures today. They are present across virtually all cultures and we've used them for a very long time.
However, it appears we also gravitate toward organizing things in hierarchies as well, not just people. When we study topics, we draw diagrams of hierarchies. When we write textbooks, we subdivide information into ranges of topics and them smaller ranges, and then the individual concepts themselves. We put our paperwork in folders, in filing cabinets, which are arranged in shelves, which are arranged in rows of shelves, and so on...
Recently we've spent more time exploring other structures like networks with nodes, but our default still seems to be hierarchies.
It's not just organizations and governments that we organize this way, but also information. Why is this?
Regarding the utility of hierarchies in organization information, binary search trees in computer science allow finding indexed information very quickly (Adamchik, 2009). However it is common knowledge that we have been organizing information hierarchically long before the advent of computer science. So did we realize this intuitively?
Perhaps this predisposition bleeds over in some way from social hierarchies? Could our other predisposition to see human intention in inanimate objects have led us to use the same structure for information (Coolidge, 2016)?
Adamchik, V. S. (2009) Binary Trees. Retrieved from: https://www.cs.cmu.edu/~adamchik/15-121/lectures/Trees/trees.html
Coolidge, F. L. (2016). Why People See Faces When There Are None: Pareidolia. Psychology Today. Retrieved from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/how-think-neandertal/201608/why-people-see-faces-when-there-are-none-pareidolia