Rachel said:

“Hey, Steve.


I know you are juggling a multitude of commitments, so I take no offense if you are unable to fulfill this request.


Having said that, if you have time and the subject is aligned with your own larger goals, might you be willing to post something about *why* tribalism is a natural part of the human experience?


Because right now, I am filled with rage and despair at America Firsters who have done nothing to earn the gift of citizenship but who seem to think that they are somehow entitled to special consideration due to pure luck of the draw — and my rage is killing me and cutting me off from being able to see their humanity.”



No problem.


  1. THEIR actions do not directly influence YOUR perceptions.   You buried the lead: “my rage is killing me”.   That is accurate.  YOUR rage.  Which is fear.   What is the first rule?   TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF.   Deal with the fear, which presents as rage, and then keeps you from seeing their humanity.  Fair enough?   THE GOAL IS JOY, WE NEED TO CONNECT WITH OTHERS TO ACHIEVE THAT, FEAR BLOCKS THE PERCEPTION.  Cool?  So the first step is to take care of your fear.   Two suggestions: The Five Minute Miracle and the Morning Ritual.  The 5MM is the simplest: every three hours (or every hour if you’re in trouble!) stand up if possible (you can do it seated, but standing is better) shake yourself out, put a big silly grin on your face, think of something positive in your life that you are grateful for, and belly breathe low and slow for 60 seconds.
  2. If you are in REAL trouble, every hour for five minutes will kick rage’s ass: you CANNOT feel gratitude and fear at the same time.
  3. And now we can deal with the conceptual peace.   NOT UNTIL YOU’VE CHANGED YOUR STATE, THOUGH.  NO KIDDING.
  4. Why Tribalism?  Because it is a survival trait, almost as strong as the urge to breathe.   It kept our ancestors alive.  Not much less central than knowing who YOUR mommy and YOUR daddy are…and by the way, Mommy is the prettiest, Daddy is the smartest and strongest IN THE WORLD, right?  That’s how little kids think, because their parents are magical beings who produce goods and services out of thin air.  Kids have no freaking idea what money is or how its made.
  5. So it starts with the “I”, expands to the “family” and goes from there to “village”,   or “tribe.”  The core mythology of every people on the planet I know of is that God made them first and loves them best.  (there are at least one exception, but that’s another matter).  Got it?   A newborn needs to know who “I” is: where they are and where the outside world begins. A child needs to expand this to the “we” of family: who will protect me?  Who is mine?  And we expand outward to schools and cities and states and nations.  All predictable. I don’t know of a National Anthem that implies there is ANYONE better than that country.  Do you?
  6. So…Americans proud of America are just like any other people being proud of their country.  No difference.
  7. All organisms develop a membrane separating “them” from “the outside”.  Without it, life cannot exist.  The ego separates “us” from “not-us.”  Selfishness is not a problem: it is an answer to: how will an immature organism survive?  The only “problem” comes when we fail to mature, to expand our definition of “self” to include others.  Worse, when we dehumanize others, and fail to see that they have the same right to make themselves central that we have.  “I’m the center of the universe…and so is everyone else.”   I know of plenty of awake, adult human beings who are also patriots, and love their families, and want to keep the majority of their resources for what they see as “theirs”.   In fact, I’ve never met a human being who did not prioritize…with a couple of exceptions WHO WERE DYSFUNCTIONAL AND INSANE.
  8. So there you have it…a balancing act between expanding and limiting expansion.  “Too open” and “too closed.”  The healthy people will be in the middle of that spectrum, but will disagree on how much “openness” and in what arenas.   But the end points?  Those who are totally closed or totally open? They are sad human beings, really.   I would say that the DYSFUNCTION on the Right circles around being too closed. And the DYSFUNCTION on the Left circles around being too open.


The challenge, as always, is balance.  If YOU cannot  stay balanced, you have an object lesson on why others cannot, why the mass of humanity cannot, and never has, shed this tendency.


Fix the person in the mirror FIRST, and you’ll see that it is just survival, just fear.   And the answer is love. Oh, and not letting people fuck with you or your family, of course.   I mean, how DARE they?






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