The first communal system ever to be put in place by the human race was the Tribe. Individuals bound by likenesses in value, origin, and goals coming together and a single unit. Through it, key social bonding practices such as rituals, rites of passages, and a sense of belonging were created not only among themselves and the tribe as a whole, but also with the physical territory that they inhabited. Through all of this, the concept of loyalty began, and within the tribe, loyalty must be absolute. With limited resources and the threat of annihilation looming just beyond the firelight’s edge, disloyalty to the tribe or betrayal was not tolerated.
Today, we sit upon an ever growing international and multicultural stage of anti-tribalism. “in-group solidarity” is now seen as unethical and racist with the idea of the “oneness of mankind” being force fed to the masses. Idea’s like universal compassion and loving impartially have been introduced in the modern age of individualism and blindly adopted even though the bedrock of human morality is built on the exact opposite.
Human’s need groups. We are drawn to them and while within them, we must exclude non members of the group in order for those groups to maintain viability. The very nature of these groups is to care less about outsiders and more for those within in an effort to increase the chances of being effective when competing with rival groups or tribes. This looked at through the lens of modernity is unethical because it allows for biases against outsiders to exist while simultaneously encouraging preferential treatment of insiders.
But is that really a bad thing? Imagine if we took better care of our own while seeking to decrease the amount of care we received from strangers and outsiders? If we left the outsiders to form their own groups in which they did the same?
Now in the past, tribes were divided by race, ethnicity, geographical origin, and religion. In today’s world, we are seeing the subconscious emergence of tribalism based on something else entirely. People genetically diverse, but unified in values and ideologies are the new tribes of the modern age. Still, the larger they become, the more they splinter off into the sub tribes of smaller numbers in order to maintain tribal purity.
The sub tribes breaking off from the larger isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though. When groups become to large and too diverse, miniature cliques and tribes within the major will naturally form to limit diversity. We can simply look at any modern city today and see that most areas, while still within the borders are divided by groups into certain neighborhoods. We as humans are drawn more to those like us than those unlike us and will naturally migrate to be closer to them in order to be a part of the tribe.
Yes, tribalism does have it’s limitations. The “us versus them” mentality can impede inter-tribal relations and cooperation so in order to overcome it, those within the tribe must all be willing to look beyond their border fires to determine what cooperation and relations will benefit the tribe. Still, that doesn’t imply that the tribe should be overtly open to outsiders or their influence.
The tribes survival will ultimately depend on it’s ability to discern useful from not and be willing to go to war against another in order to defend against the universal tolerance and acceptance that destroys tribes for the inside out.