Warning: This article may contain references to concepts or theories rejected by orthodox archaeology. Those people who may be offended by such language should go back to reading The Economist.
Yesterday Julie (my wife) and I were discussing the pyramids, Mayan astrology, Graham Hancock and other such nonsense. Without getting too deep in the murky waters of cryptoarchaeology, we discussed a theory of some interest to the hierarchy vs. rhizome issue:
The importance of Oral Tradition in ancient cultures may have been an intentional attempt to inhibit the advance of hierarchy.
Viz., The prohibition against writing down the Rig Veda; the prevalence of oral tradition among Nordic people despite a fully functional runic alphabet (it was taboo...); the emphasis on the memorization and oral recitation of the Quran.
Runes were sacred because the power of such symbolic representation was understood. Presumably the Rig Veda was passed on for thousands of years exclusively orally because the dangers of writing it down were understood. What was the danger of writing it down? Was this an intentional attempt to prevent the social escalation in to hierarchy, agriculture and "civilization"? Certainly a culture capable of producing the Rig Veda was already quite civilized, by some definitions. Did they have a model of a previous, much older culture that had taken this path, and that they wanted to avoid?
The oral tradition model seems to be a rhizome-creating institution. Stories will drift, change and adopt, and the absense of a singular written record ensures that there is no one right way. There is no singular power center (Pope, Patriarch, High-Priest) because everyone has general access to the lore (the masses couldn't read, but they heard the stories told over and over).