Sunday, May 8, 2011

Humans are a tribal animal

It's amazing how much of human nature can be explained by the fact that we're a tribal animal. I'm not sure if we're more like a herd or a pack, or exactly what's the difference anyway. Street gangs, nationalism, sports fan mania, racism, cults, even religion to some extent can be all be explained by a group membership instinct. How supportive people are towards the welfare state is proportional to racial homogeneity. Tribal identity shows up everywhere from music and fashion to the followers of certain programming languages. The structure of governments and corporations mimic the alpha male social dynamic of the apes.

The countervailing force is individualism. And, somehow, technology plays a role in freeing us from our local community, separating us from those directly around us, even while connecting us to those farther away.

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