I don’t think humans will ever get rid of ‘Us’ Vs ‘Them’ thinking. It’s too hard to not fall back into it, no matter how hard we try. For the simple reason that there will be people who we feel similar to, and there will be people we feel different from. The like-minded will forever be ‘Us’. ‘Us’ will feel safe, familiar and accepting. While the people whose thoughts and ideals are unlike yours will feel strange, puzzling and uncomfortable at best, threatening at worse.
Of course, the lovely elizabeth speaking for Medium would rather I not use “Us Vs Them”. The polite wording for the concept is now tribes.
Wait, tribes? Really? This does not conjure up images of tight-nit-family-group warriors preparing to battle each other over land and/or resources? Just me then? Alright, tribes it is.
I was reading a response by Jewel to my feminism story, and as I was reading I had this very strong sense of ‘Us’. I felt Jewel is a like-minded person. And then I read to the end and it says she’s in Pakistan. I have a tribe member in Pakistan! How awesome is that? This sense of kinship with someone half the world away, just made my day.
And then I was astounded. I just placed a young woman from Pakistan in my tribe. ( I have no idea if I am in her tribe. For my train of thought right now that’s a bit of an aside though) But my next door neighbors are not in my tribe. I know them, we’re friendly and all, but I never felt the sense of ‘Us’ with them. And then I started thinking, the tribes we feel these days, are starting to be less and less about region, culture, or religion. The traditional glue of tribes is starting to dissolve. Tribes are undergoing significant, global shifts. And the glue pasting new tribes together, really is a meeting of minds.
Guys, this is huge. This might be the biggest change to civilization we have seen since a group decided to make permanent tents near riverbeds and start trading with other people that passed by.
If you are really honest about it, for generations we had no clue about the people living outside of a certain radius. How big this radius was, depended on how much traveling you could do. We relied on government officials and journalists to tell us what we should think about people outside of that radius. A sense of ‘otherness’ was maintained for us for a long time. I don’t want to make the claim this artificial ‘otherness’ was done on purpose. Some will tell you it was. I’m not sure it’s all that important whether it was deliberate, or unconscious; it happened. And with this artificial ‘otherness’ came a artificial ‘sameness’, too. The tribe of the people of a country got indoctrinated with things like flags, anthems, patriotism and competitions of national sport teams to try to be the best of the world.
A lot of this artificial ‘Sameness’ is fun. Fireworks! Cook outs! Day off from work! Dressing up in certain colors or patterns! Singing songs! A sense of superiority! Underneath all that though, we started feeling more and more isolated in what was supposed to be our tribe. Anxiety and depression got to be a real problem. There’s no sense of belonging in the tribe anymore.
At the same time, social media came up and removed the need for official explanation of the people outside of the national tribes, because every person can communicate with very other person directly. Resulting in people half the world away feeling like they are more part of your tribe than the people living next to you.
Change is always scary, and the people who for some reason can’t or won’t meet with minds all over the world, are scared half to death. They notice the national tribes failing, as well. To them, the tribes are still defined by borders. It looks to me like they are trying to save their tribes by reinforcing those borders, just to make it clear to everyone: “inside the borders is our tribe, outside of the borders is not our tribe.” While an ever growing group is pushing back. “Just because I happen to be inside your borders, doesn’t make me part of your tribe, or you part of mine.”
The border based tribe people are probably going to fight for a decade or two more, before the mind based tribe people are in the majority. I can’t say if that’s going to be better, or worse. It’s going to be different. One thing I can say: until the change is complete, we are going to see a lot more unrest in society.