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  •  problem is, tribalism is built into our brains (6+ / 0-)

    To me, it's pretty clear that all of the "us vs them", or tribalism,  problems that exist in societies are caused by innate tendencies that all humans have to prioritize preferences based on similarity to oneself. Evolutionarily this makes sense because it causes us to help our relatives more (who we share genes with), and it allows group cohesiveness, which is a powerful social survival tool for small communities. However, in modern developed society, in terms of the problems we face (climate change, economic inequality, etc) the "group" is becoming the entire species, and dividing ourselves by race or ethnic/cultural differences is creating huge problems.

    I don't know how we can get past such a basic behavioral tendency, except to recognize that it exists, understand the implications, and consciously fight it at every level. Every level: including within ourselves, regardless of our race, gender, political affiliation,  etc.

    "Tell the truth and run." -- Yugoslav proverb

    by quill on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 09:25:40 AM PST

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    •  My statement on "built into our brains" (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      corvo, quill, lotlizard

      is in this diary here.  What distinguishes human brains is their versatility -- but human versatility is developed in concert with environmental stimuli, and so (with a hat tip to Jason W. Moore) human beings are largely the product of successive society/ nature pairings.  So, no, I don't think tribalism is built into human nature -- but it's been with us a long time because of our shared Earthly context...

      "Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible." -- Frank Zappa

      by Cassiodorus on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 09:48:52 AM PST

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      •  certainly (5+ / 0-)

        I'll have to read your links later, but I'll say this:  humans are perhaps the most behaviorally flexible big-brained organism, and it seems that we have replaced much of our instinctive programming with learned culture. However, I also think we are still driven by a lot of "old brain" impulses and emotions that are maladaptive for our highly social modern life. In fact I think one function of culture (or at least some cultures) is to train people to override our ever-present selfish/tribal instincts so that we can live in higher concentrations of people than we were evolved to handle "naturally". Don't underestimate the power of the reptile perched at the back of your mind to insinuate itself into your thoughts and actions.

        "Tell the truth and run." -- Yugoslav proverb

        by quill on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 10:51:53 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

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