Tribe: a social community linked by common culture.
The word tribe has been co-opted by wily marketing wizards. Playing on our desire for authentic connection, TRIBE monetizes social media endorsements to promote brands. There’s Tribe Dynamics, Tribe Wearables, TRIBE nutrition bars, Tribe Hummus, tribe.net to find your community and countless websites with tips on how: your VIBE attracts your tribe.
Quite to the contrary, chronic loneliness has become a modern-day health epidemic. It’s almost impossible to find any true sense of “tribe” in contemporary material life. We’re drawn to the word, but we seem to have lost its aspiring premise: to risk oneself for the common good. According to Sebastian Junger in his book Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging, to do so is outside of the cultural norm of acquisitive individualism.
Modern society doesn’t encourage closeness. It pits us against one another in a “keeping up with the Jonses” competition – valuing beauty, money, and status over integrity, kindness, and citizenship. This competition then breeds distrust, as evidenced by our country’s obsession with lawsuits! We fight to protect our turf, blind to the alienating effects of our individual prosperity.
What’s more, politicians speak with contempt accusing rivals of deliberately trying to harm the country, further eroding group unity. When our highest leaders rest satisfied with the fifty plus one, we all lose. We are living in a world that is at war with itself.
If we begin to recognize the silent struggles beneath the surface and ACT, in our daily lives and local communities, for the GOOD of the TRIBE, together we can combat the dangerous threat of social isolation and ideological separation.
A recipe for the good of the Tribe:
- Connect with self – examine what you tolerate and take time to restore your spirit. Your sense of self reflects like a mirror. Get comfortable with all that you are, accepting of your strengths and weaknesses, anchored by the things you value most in life.
- Connect with others – forge strong bonds by approaching with trust until trust is broken, give of your time, treasure, and talent, employ empathy and extreme compassion.
- Connect with purpose – focus your energies toward something productive and meaningful to you. And when possible enlist or share the experience with others!
When actively engaged in our communities or a common cause and allied arm-in-arm with one another, life has a higher purpose. We are the connective tissue of our neighborhoods, our cities, our country, and the world.
Our individual actions define our common culture; they determine whether or not we are a tribe or simply tribal.