I am at odds with a really substantial number of people these days.
These people who are so certain in their beliefs: political, philosophical, moral and spiritual.
These people who expound and wax poetic on those beliefs.
These are people who claim that their god is the only true god. That their way of life is the most righteous path. That their lifestyle choices are something everyone should emulate.
The simple fact is that I have been around for 70 years. I have survived a childhood and all its dangers, an adolescence and all its angst, a marriage and children and all its challenges and two whole careers in communications and all its bullshit.
But I still do not understand the human race and all that it has become.
And maybe this is because, despite all the lessons that history should teach… despite all the horror and bloodshed of human conflict…despite all the exploitation and bigotry and racism and hatred, the human race hasn’t really changed very much at all.
My Tribe. Your Tribe….Never Our Tribe Or One Tribe
In university I studied philosophy, thinking that would be a good way to understand humanity, and perhaps someday write something significant about it.
But all that did was raise more questions than it provided answers.
Every day of my life, I look out at the world and see that people, despite education and maturity and a lot of really good qualities of character that many possess, are still, at their root, part of a tribe.
Sometimes the tribe is a religion or belief. Sometimes it’s a nationality. Sometimes it’s something as silly as a skin pigmentation.Very seldom is it about being part of a tribe called the human race.
Tribal Thinking Invites Exploitation
Manipulative people who understand this propensity in human beings find this tribalistic need an extremely easy thing to exploit.
Right now, you have a very clear examples of it working well in the Middle East and of all places, in the United States. I only use the US as an example because it’s something I have been able to observe closely over the past year and a half.
Here you have what is essentially a serial exploiter in the form of an extremely flawed megalomaniac with delusions of grandeur about becoming the President of the United States, who has observed pretty much the same things that I have about the human race.
He has then chosen to talk to one particular group of people, who just happen to be one of the largest tribes in America, the white working class.
These are not people he has anything in common with. In fact he probably sees them as genetically inferior to him in many ways. But that doesn’t matter to him. He can sell anything to anyone.
Now these people may not have thought of themselves as a tribe of any sort before this man came along and planted the thought in their heads.
But he then proceeded to hammer them. He used his rhetoric which mainly consisted of innuendo, unproven assertions, outright lies and bullying on a scale never before witnessed in the history of US politics.
And he beat them into submission with it.
He created a concrete tribe where there was only the shadow of one before. And he did it so brilliantly these poor brainwashed souls, who had no particular belief set to begin with, other than perhaps Christianity, were converted to his way of thinking, solely through the non stop exposure to this man via his campaign rallies and the news media that had become and remains to this day, completely obsessed with him and the audience he represents to their networks.
This example has been played out, in one way or another, all through history. And the only result is more tribes who believe that its ‘my way or the highway’, which of course leads to conflict, from which the inciters of all this tribalism invariably benefit.
There Is Evil In This World
My daughter, who is very bright and insightful, and I disagree on a few things. One of them is the concept of evil.
She believes that the people we call evil are simply misguided somehow, mainly as a result of having been damaged somewhere along the line and are simply expressing a form of rage.
I believe that while that may very well be true, this rage, when it causes pain and misery and death to innocent people, through the conflict they invariably incite, is a concrete form of evil.
I would like nothing more than to be a person who believes in the power of love over hate. In the power of truth over lies. In the power of courage over fear. And we certainly see evidence of that here and there.
The trouble is that we just don’t see enough. And we never have. The vast majority of deaths in the human race since the beginning of recorded history have been through tribal wars.
That in and of itself should tell us all we need to know.
People Need To Start Educating Themselves
The United States, I believe, is in for a rocky ride over the next four years as this delusional master manipulator plays out his fantasy come true.
I sincerely believe that this is a direct result of the vulnerability that ignorance that tribal thinking make possible
I don’t pretend to know what will happen in this situation and all the others around the world. Like everyone, at least those people whose tribe is the human race, I am hoping for the best but fearing the worst.
If it all goes to hell though, I promise not to write one of those “I told you so” pieces.
Although I might, because the rules have changed to point where a promise these days isn’t worth the pixels it takes to display the words.