Humans have an overriding need to belong.


For much of human history belonging to a tribe was the difference between life and death.


We are hard wired for survival. We are programmed to protect ourselves and our loved ones above all else.


Tribal behaviour is part of our DNA.


“Loyalty to your tribe is stronger than any other form of loyalty.” Unknown


“Tribalism” is a phenomenon that causes us to be loyal to people like us and distrustful of people different from us.”


The dilemma faced by societies and cultures across the globe is that our tribal programming evolved long ago in a very different world and exists today stronger than ever. To add fuel to the fire, the internet amplifies all forms of tribal behaviour.


The global reach of the internet and its anonymity allows anyone to express extreme beliefs without any form of reprisal.


Many societies are experiencing an epidemic of loneliness and people from all walks of life are desperate for connection and to feel a sense of belonging.


Once someone feels accepted into a group it is easy for them to become indoctrinated into a specific set of beliefs and to become more and more extreme in their behaviour. Their beliefs and behaviour become dominated by “Fanatical Thinking” (see My Email # 237).


American author and cultural critic Stanley Crouch repeatedly used the phrase “Tribalism is the driver of racism.” Crouch also stated that “without good leadership a tribe is just a pack of dogs.” Very strong but poignant words.


“We love to make ourselves feel more righteous by judging our neighbours – and we love even more when we can do it as a group.” Andrew Moody


Wars are an extreme display of modern tribalism.


The current war in the Middle East is the result of injustice and suffering due to long term tribalism. There is no right or wrong, good, or bad – just deep-seated distrust and hatred of the other tribe. It seems like it is a battle that is impossible to win. The strongest tribe will ultimately prevail, and the other tribe will become suppressed for a while.


“The happiness of most people is not ruined by fatal errors or major catastrophe, but by the repetition of slowly destructive little things.” Ernst Dimnet


However, tribal behaviour is not all bad. There are numerous examples of positive “soft tribalism” in our society that we all take part in and that are an integral part of modern life, such as –


  • Being a member/supporter of a particular football club.
  • Cheering + patriotism for your child’s school and their sports competitions.
  • Being a member of a worker’s union.
  • Having affiliation to a political party.
  • Having affiliation to a specific religion.
  • Being an advocate for a human rights movement.
  • Being a member of the defence force.


These forms of soft tribalism are the backbone of our community.


“The opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice, it’s conformity.” Rollo May


Thanks for reading,

Stay safe and contribute to your community.


Stay safe and remember, a good reputation is hard to build but easy to destroy.



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