PolyTribalism

Humans love tribes. Hunter gatherers sparked the trend… now tribes exist in endless forms. Some we’re born into, others we choose. Tribes (theoretically) support us and represent something we care about. Tribes are critical to our identity formation. Simple tribes are easier than ever to create these days thanks to the internet. Name any hobby, brand, interest, product, or skill - there’s likely an online community or reddit thread to match. Hell, the yogurt I had this morning encouraged me to join “the conversation” via their Facebook community (tribe). Exhilarating stuff...


But the tribal buffet wasn’t always so….excessive. Historically, humans belonged to just a few dominant tribes. The options were limited, but their influence was pervasive. Family, religion and local community were cornerstones. Throw in an alumni University and long term employer and you’ve pretty well rounded it out for average back-in-the-day Joe. Compared to present, loyalty to each tribe rolled deep back then. Commitment was steady. Functions to serve and support tribe communities were abundant and expected. Connection came easy. Sure, I’m wildly generalizing, but it’s hard not to envy simpler times, right?


Returning to the present, it’s clear that we’ve become increasingly “polytribal”. Although attractive on paper, I fear that poly tribalism is ultimately detrimental to our personal and global wellbeing. Internet chat rooms don’t substitute local town halls. Sunday spin class doesn’t replace Sunday mass. Involvement as a passive observer in many casually rotating tribes doesn’t match the benefit of dedicated participation in a few mainstays. I think you get my point… and maybe we both recognize today’s crazy patchwork of polytribal affiliation as a root cause of escalating loneliness problems in the West. Life just feels….scattered.


So what’s the solution? Personally, I crave continuity from the tribes of my life. I’m ready to share in a dynamic long-view purpose. I want to commit to an altruistic cause, and contribute to something bigger than myself. I’m eager to formally join a movement towards a better global future… and I won’t settle for a tribe that relies on party lines, ancient doctrine, or historic tradition to set a unified course to do so. It’s with the members of this new unifying tribe that I want to bond, discuss challenges, volunteer, expand perspective, travel, fundraise, and celebrate progress. This is a dynamic tribe I’d stand proudly for. This is the collective we'll build together.

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