Tribalism Despite Social Media??

As deep as our human need for oxygen is our need to belong to some group of other humans. In this modern world the meaning of ‘belong’ seems to be changing but perhaps not enough to reduce tensions among humans.

Most of us learned as kids about evolution. We probably came from the oceans and slowly evolved, shed our tails, and learned to use our noggins to solve problems and peer into the future. Strangely, though, our ability to evolve our emotions, feelings and inner needs has lagged behind our physical evolution. We still go on killing each other, presumably to gain the other guys’ turf and/or feel safer at night.

Meanwhile, there are amazing things going on in the world, increasing connectedness among humans who live FAR apart. For example, an Uber driver the other day told me that his wife, who is very lonely in New York, speaks every day with her mother and sister in China via Skype at no cost.

WOW! Multiply that idea by 7 billion people—who in theory could do much the same thing—and you have connectivity strong enough to make all earthlings into one tribe. That idea may have to wait until Martians threaten Earth in some visible, scary way?

But, so far social media has not yet become a link among humans sufficient to satisfy humans’ basic tribal needs and instincts.

How might that become possible?

The Chinese lady in NY at least partially overcame her loneliness by speaking {and seeing on Skype} to her sister and mother. Still, her instinctive need to smell and feel their breath, their familiar skin and touch in a loving way still remains elusive—perhaps some genius may yet figure out how to do that?

Short of that, social media appears perversely to have magnified the ability to be connected while creating a greater expectation for such a feeling. Having failed to fully satisfy our need for connection, social media leaves too many people effectively worse off.

The roots of tribalism are Fear, Food, and Fondness.

Perhaps, if Facebook and Twitter etc. could address and fulfill the need for the three Fs, more disconnected people today could discover a new workable form of tribalism, which might discourage more people from continuing old fashioned tribalism in such a counterproductive way, for example, in the Middle East.

There is no question that the power of telecommunications, along with social media, are the main overpowering new elements in the world we have to evolve into.

It seems to me that, if we use our noggins the way nature intended, we may be able to turn those factors to our human advantage, sooner than later.



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