We’re Joining the Wrong Tribes
Disclaimer: I’m an ordinary human. I am not a sociologist or psychologist. I don’t even have a college diploma. My only credentials reside in over a half-century of observation as an adult. If that’s not good enough, feel free to move on.
We all belong to tribes. Humans have assembled in tribes since the first walked erect. We did it for the common good, for safety, for food gathering and shelter building. There was strength in numbers, and there still is. Unfortunately, the united force is not used for most of the reasons just given. Today’s tribes tend to be around religions, gender, politics and other artificial constructs. We could do far more good by considering ourselves as local tribes people, looking after each other, being kind and belonging in ways that matter. Instead, we drive dangerously to get the kids to school on time, honking at anyone who doesn’t immediately take off from a stoplight at the fastest possible speed. We use phones behind the wheel knowing full well how incredibly dangerous this is to others right in front of us and on all sides. We operate in our international Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or other streams, righting the wrongs of others we’ve never met when we could be making someone’s day with a simple act of thoughtfulness, like opening a door. Beyond politeness, an actual thought for the people you come close to daily will make the world far more pleasant to live in. It will make it safer and more comfortable, even for those with far less than they need.
I would argue that local tribes would be more logical and more effective than the artificial non-geographic ones we frequent now. The idea of “localism” is still widely practiced in small towns and rural areas, but its effectiveness is limited to a small part of activities and diluted by the wider prejudices against and baseless fears of other tribes, including many who will never meet. The exposure to other cultures and people further from us than a day’s travel is one of the great benefits of the Internet. Ironically, it seems more likely to harden us rather than expand our understanding. Unfortunately, today’s communication requires immediate attention. This encourages fear-mongering in all forms of media. The cultivation of fear and anger, often based on misplaced tribalism, is a major business plan for most, if not all platforms where we gather.
There is only one solution to a problem this widespread. It lies in each of us, every individual, becoming conscious of the real world we live in, the one near us, physically. Each of us is responsible for constructing our reality as best we can, within our limits. Small gestures that show we are thinking of the random people we encounter can change the world. There is no need to list these things, they should be obvious to anyone with normal human intelligence and perception. We can start by considering the strangers around us as a part of our tribe.