our tribal origins

Tribal Origins and Ultimate Human Behavior: Us vs. Them Behavior

Tribal Origins and Ultimate Human Behavior

Tribal origins and ultimate human behavior tend to appear in many of my thoughts, especially these days in the United States. As a result, I decided to write a multi-part series exploring my thoughts on this seemingly connected human behavior. In this brief introduction to the basics of my thinking, I begin this daily series of related posts.

The tribal nature of human beings has its origins in our evolutionary history, shaped by the necessity of survival in small groups. Archaeological evidence suggests that early humans lived in close-knit bands, relying on cooperation and a shared sense of identity to secure resources and protect themselves from predators. This tribal instinct is evident in the emergence of distinct cultural groups with their own languages, customs, and rituals. In the context of the United States, the indigenous Native American tribes exemplify this tribalism, each with its own unique traditions and territories. European settlers, arriving with their own tribal affiliations, introduced a clash of cultures and values that further fueled the “us vs. them” mentality.

Evidence of this tribal behavior can be observed in historical interactions. For example, the Salem witch trials of the late 17th century in colonial Massachusetts underscore the fear and suspicion directed towards those perceived as outsiders or “them.” Accusations of witchcraft were often aimed at individuals who deviated from the norms of the dominant Puritan culture, leading to social ostracism and even executions. This episode exemplifies how tribal instincts can manifest in times of uncertainty and cultural tension, driving individuals to band together in defense of their own group identity.

Tribal Origins and Ultimate Human Behavior: Impact on Military Might and Global Conflict

The tribal origins of the “us vs. them” behavior have had far-reaching implications for the development of military power and global conflicts. As human societies expanded and encountered other tribes, competition for resources and territory escalated, necessitating the creation of defense mechanisms. In the United States, the concept of “manifest destiny” in the 19th century reflected a belief in the superiority of American culture and the perceived right to expand across the continent. This expansion was often accompanied by armed conflicts with Native American tribes, driven by the desire to assert dominance over “them” and secure resources for “us.”

Moreover, the “us vs. them” mentality has played a role in shaping foreign policy and military interventions. The idea of exporting democracy and promoting American values abroad can be traced back to the notion of a superior “us” advocating for change in perceived less developed or “heathen” societies. The Iraq War in 2003 provides a modern example of this dynamic, as the United States cited the need to bring democracy to Iraq as a justification for military action. This intervention, however, led to complex consequences and challenges in nation-building, illustrating the intricate relationship between tribal instincts, military power, and global conflict.

In Conclusion: Tribal Origins

The tribal nature of human beings, rooted in our evolutionary history, has left an indelible mark on societal dynamics and political decisions. The “us vs. them” behavior, evident in historical and contemporary interactions, has shaped the emphasis on military power and influenced armed conflicts both within and beyond national borders. By examining these tribal instincts through the lens of evidence and historical context, we gain a deeper understanding of the intricate interplay between human nature, political power, and global conflicts.


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By Politics-as-Usual

Roger is a retired Professor of language and literacy. Over the past 15 years since his retirement, Roger has kept busy with reading, writing, and creating landscape photographs. In this time of National crisis, as Fascist ideas and policies are being introduced to the American people and ignored by the Mainstream Press, he decided to stand up and be counted as a Progressive American with some ideas that should be shared with as many people who care to read and/or participate in discusssions of these issues. He doesn't ask anyone to agree with his point of view, but if entering the conversation he demands civility. No conspiracy theories, no wild accusations, no threats, no disrespect will be tolerated. Roger monitors all comments and email communication. That is the only rule for entering the conversation. One may persuade, argue for a different point of view, or toss out something that has not been discussed so long as the tone remains part of a civil discussion. Only then can we find common ground and meaningful democratic change.

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