Tribalism and Human Nature

Humans are tribal creatures. Our phenomenal success on this planet depended on it. Still does.

As Tribal animals, we form mutually interdependent groups, sharing matters of faith and beliefs which help with cohesiveness, meaning, and sense of belonging. We cooperate and display loyalty for the tribe we belong too. We  express altruism with readiness to assist and defend the tribe, even at our own individual peril and sacrifice. We also are capable for collective creativity. We form friendships and alliances. We form bonds and display devotion and mutuality. We rank each other and take pride for the tribe as well as personal pride  for our personal contributions; and, we are bestowed with awards in it or punishment for our transgressions. Selfishly, we as individuals as well as smaller groups we  try to cheat on the side.

All these combined with our genius, curiosity, abstract thinking, language, pondering the phenomena in nature, and discerning the laws governing nature. Then, with story telling we record and pass along knowledge for further progress. So, we leave our mark on this Earth but not always for our benefit — like messing up climate and biodiversity which among other things need to urgently be attended to.

Unfortunately there is also a dark side to Tribalism. This dark side  not only contributes to our suffering but threatens our very existence on this Earth. We compete with other tribes aggressively, and make war easily and irrationally. We exhibit racism and Xenophobia, proclaiming the other tribe and our fellow humans — who ironically are identical to us — and believing that they are bad evil and our ways and our god are  bigger and better than theirs.

Further, this dark part is easily and often aroused by unscrupulous leaders and demagogues creating situations that are very dangerous in the current realities — like the presence of the  atomic bomb and our global interdependence. We are challenged to change and modify this part of our nature or else we may create mutual calamities or even threatening our presence on this Earth as a species. Fortunately, slow progress is being made; but, not fast enough and there is often strong resistance promoted  by opportunistic scoundrel leaders.

We ought to be mindful of all that… and of all of us. Else we may manage to disappear like countless other creatures who could not adapt.


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