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TRANSCENDING THE TRIBE

It took me a while to realise just how tribal humans are. Having spent much of my time embedded in groups, they were so ubiquitous, like a fish in water, I hardly noticed. I preferred to see people as individuals in relationship to other individuals whatever groups they were party to. I failed to understand that relationship dynamics are very much informed by the tribe.

Staying outside the tribe as I do these days is problematic. In the town where I work for example I find the people generally unfriendly. I think the reason they appear this way is because their tribal mentality is so dominant. They tend only to be friendly to those they know, respectful to those they identify as their own. Although born and bred in this town I am effectively a stranger to it and don’t participate in its social life any longer. I am therefore not worthy of ordinary courtesies.

I think what I’m saying here is common to most small towns. Which is why I like the cosmopolitan atmosphere of cities where just as many people are from elsewhere and they have to try that bit harder to connect. They have to learn how to transcend the tribal instincts.

Someone recently pointed out the distinction between bridging and bonding in relationships. Bonding is tribal and typical. Bridging is about crossing a divide to make new bonds. It is more difficult and less common. It is the kind of connection that I have always preferred and still crave.

I prefer the cosmopolitan atmosphere of cities

where people have to try harder to connect