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20 April 2008


Edward Vielmetti

Jim -

When I think about this, I think of a couple different kinds of tribes.

Some tribes are exclusive. You gain membership through some difficult initiation ritual, or by virtue of birth. Outsiders are shunned, or at least kept at a distance, and there are secrets within the group which are not even hinted at by others.

Other tribes are acquisitive, always looking for new members. You are recruited to the tribe, and you are expected to recruit others to the tribe. Outsiders as seen as the not yet converted, or the not yet evangelized.

Somehow these two approaches are different enough that I think they have to fit into this discussion, but I don't know how yet.

Bill Anderson

Jim, another great post. And the follow up as well.

My gut reaction to all the talk about groups is that I'm not sure that there are groups. There are collections of individuals. We can gather and discuss amongst ourselves. We can organize for action -- let's have a block party. But I think that groups are ideas we have about our rag tag collection. That is a group is a conceptual thing.

I think this is even more true of roles. Roles do not exist in the world; only in our minds. And maybe the same is true of groups. I'm not sure I can actually grok this, but it intrigues me.


Sam Rose

Edward basically said what I came here to say, except that I was going to refer to the the theories of http://clarewgraves.com, where he talks about the two different emergent value systems that come very close to matching what you, and what Ed are talking about.

Graves found that people solved problems of existence in groups by:

Sacrificing "self" to the "group" for safety (the original tribe)

Sacrificing "self" now for reward later (future generations or afterlife)

Sacrificing "self" now so that all may gain now

sacrificing "self" to groups of those who share view holistic view

I think the first and last are "tribes". The original tribes, and the "new" tribes that McLuhan said were and are now emerging.

The "Us and Them" is supposed to disappear in the last "tribe described above. But, the human mind derives HUGE value from dichotomies and duality framing. So, I think we are coupled with "Us and them" even when we have the self realization that we are doing it. We just become better at creating a subtle distinctions, many shades of gray areas. But those gray areas are rooted in a simpler "rule": "us and them". An algorithm for operating that yes, I believe some people learn to diminish or even shut off when solving problems. Yet, still persists, I believe in every human brain-mind system

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