Tribal Connections

In “The Tribe That Discovered Trust” inadvertently I touched upon tribe dynamics and tribal relationships. The connections we form as people and the physical laws that govern them is something that is of direct interest to me. Not only does it help inform some of my work (and thinking) but it also enables me to see the touchpoints between human laws and physical laws, human behavior and the limitations imposed by physics and biology.

The reason behind this is that as the digital medium expands we invest more and more of our work into behaviors that express our humanity in this more nuanced, intentional domain. Because everything we do in the digital landscape is by design, we owe it to ourselves to be aware of the mechanisms behind it and the way these mechanisms drive our digital development.

Digital tribalism is governed by the same need for connectivity and knowledge, cooperation and comprehension that drives its non-digital counterpart. We use the digital medium to find out who we are and what we are supposed to do the same way we have used the real world to try and understand the answer to the basic question: why are we?

In this, we seek a purpose that’s bigger than us and a mission that can help us make sense of our activities. Psychologists identity mental health as a by-product of being social and connected and sociologists cite homophily as the means through which we connect and stay connected.

We look to marketing (and marketers) to help us make sense of tribalism in the hope that by understanding the small, we can get our head around the bigger issues involved.

Tribalism, we believe, is part of the problem not the solution, certainly in politics and its post-truth landscape. But that is not entirely true. For every problem we create through generally thoughtless behavior, there is a studied, intentional solution we can apply. Our brain may not be able to adapt naturally to the demands and complexities of 21st century living but it is nevertheless quite capable of helping us find the solutions we seek.

The “brave new world” we find ourselves in now demands more of us, faster than ever before. The answer to most of our questions and the solution to most of our problems can be found through collective, organized, structured activity – tribal dynamics in other words. But for that to happen we need to rethink the scale, make up and even reason behind the tribes we form.

We are changing. The world is making us change because itself it is undergoing change. Traditionally we do not handle change well. Here’s the rub, none of the things we need to do moving forward and none of the solutions we need to apply, are going to be easy or come naturally.

We are the architects of our own future. We need to truly start acting like it. We can no longer behave like children, pass on responsibility and hope that things, somehow, will work out. In taking responsibility for ourselves we also take responsibility for each other as our actions impact upon those around us. Growing up is a hard thing to do. But the days when this was a choice we could choose not to make just yet, are now behind us.

I know you’ve done the grown-up, responsible thing here. You have coffee. You have donuts. You have croissants. There is chocolate cake. There are cookies. Have an awesome Sunday, wherever you are. 

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