September 13, 2005

More On Tribes

It appears that Elizabeth and I took away very different messages from the post about Tribes. I agree that the author might have come across as smug, and I disagree with many of his comments on modern-era politicians (e.g., George Bush et al). I believe that the message shouldn't be confused with the way it is said, but Elizabeth and I seem to take away different core messages. Here's what I took from the article.

  1. Race is not a primary determining factor in people's behavior. The best and worst of human behavior can be found in people of all races.
  2. Classification of people should not be done by race, gender, socioeconomic class, etc. It should be based on the actions of the people.
  3. The author calls these groupings of people "Tribes."
  4. Different tribes have different characteristics. Some solve their problems, some choose to blame others for their own problems. Some are independent and self-sufficient, and some are totally dependent on outside forces for their support.
  5. Membership in a Tribe is decided by the individual. You choose your own behavior, and thereby what "tribe" you belong to.
  6. Some people just go and help in the best way they can. Others (he accuses celebrities) present the image of helping, without doing a serious amount of work.
  7. The overwhelmin majority of people are not violent (at least as reflected in the assault and murder rates). A small minority are violent, even sociopathic. Some of the non-violent people choose their life paths as protectors, which is a noble calling. Many others act as protectors, even if it's not their vocation.
  8. Comparing the response of the so-called protector class in the cases of 9/11 and Katrina shows widely different behaviors, especially at the ruling level (i.e., mayors).
  9. It is important for society to have some number of protectors to keep society safe from both natural disasters and the sociopathic tribe.
All the other stuff he posted involved gross generalities (Pink vs. Grey) and self-aggrandizing examples. But the core messages I list above were ones I saw value in.

In addition to everything the author stated, I also inferred that people can generally identify who is in their tribe, although they can sometimes be wrong. People are occasionally surprised by someone they thought they knew well.

If the author was smug or self-centered, that's his problem - it doesn't detract from the message that tries to see the inner value of people instead of their surface characteristics.

Posted by Tom Nugent at September 13, 2005 09:49 AM
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