Tribalism is a thing that we all do. It is as simple as a preference for the comfort of friends or your favorite sports team. I don’t watch sports, but I can tell you if someone put on a football game I would feel emotionally upset if the team I wanted to win ended up losing. That doesn’t make logical sense, but it is something that is definitely true.
We belong to multiple tribes. Generally, the tribes we belong to have to be compatible with our group of friends. If we are part of a tribe that people we know would reject strongly, it results in either a strained relationship or something hidden.
Varied beliefs and views are definitely going to be present within a tribe. The in-group has to define an out-group though. For instance, I could not be an active part of a polyamory community while also part of a religious community that believed sex should wait for marriage while defining marriage as between one man and one woman. Well, I could be a part of both, they just really could not know about each other’s existence in my life.
We are self sorting into tribes that cannot accept dissent from outside groups on many topics. Even though we are a part of multiple tribes, we are becoming a part of the same multiple tribes.
Trouble for Me
I tend to develop individual friendships with people. I am uncaring what tribes they are a part of. The thing that matters for me is if they bring value to my life and that I seem to be bringing value to their life.
This is a challenge. I had become a part of the tribe that many people in my city are a member of. You can call it the blue tribe that is made up of the kind of person who voted for Obama. It goes beyond politics, but you can imagine all the sub-tribes that one would belong to be admitted to this in-group.
I am not someone who bows to authority. The blue tribe used to be anti authority. Now that it has become the authority in a rather undisputed fashion, I can’t be a part of it. It is trying to tell everyone what to do.
What to Do
I am not by myself. I have friends and family where those relationships transcend tribe. These are people I can sit and chat with for hours on end and be perfectly happy on both ends.
There is no cohesive unity between these people besides me liking all of their company.
My question becomes if my moderate stance is becoming a corrupting influence there. I am a part of no tribe, and when they bring up their tribal commitments, I tend to disagree in a way they had not heard and most likely have no response for.
Am I making people’s lives harder by not being a part of a tribe? Is that a good thing? The result I am seeing may be different in the long term and short term.
Tribalism Going Forward
I am wondering if I should find a tribe and join it. The amount of work it takes me to maintain social connections is quite a bit more than I would like.
I am getting to know more people locally. Should I forget the arguments I know against the things they hold dear and become a member of their tribe?
I think not. The question is if I continue to almost fit in with them but pull the group slightly away from the world-wide tribe that they are a member of with their consumption of media.