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Back to the Tribe

October 10, 2012

In today’s parlance, a tribe is a primitive form of social organization that usually formed from an extended family.

It is always viewed today as a very primitive and backward cultural stage which evolved into the present, modern, ultimate expression of social organization.

That current view is very typical of man – no matter the degree of social”advancement” – in that we naturally seem to assume that where we are currently is what evolution had been leading to for all these millions of years.

There’s nothing essentially wrong with the attitude and, rest assured, in a couple of generations the pinnacle upon which we currently reside will be relegated to yet another rung on the evolutionary ladder of that future academician.

That is, after all, human nature.

But, realistically, ego set aside, what do we really have over the ancients? I hear repeatedly that the ancients had to spend most of their time providing food and shelter for their families while we have time for more “important” matters.

Unfortunately, most the people I know are still spending the same percentage of their waking hours providing food and shelter as the ancients. And that is you as well, unless you consider the 50 or so hours at work, commuting to work, etc as having nothing to do with providing food and shelter.

So, modern man spends probably as much time as the primitives in that respect but we have one up on them: our work hours are usually spent away from our family and home that we spend so much time paying for. Yes, we have certainly advanced a long way from that family-centered social structure.

And you can bet the ancients did not need much time with therapists, counselors, or physicians for stress-related ailments.

Yes, you will say, but what about the “time-saving” devices we have today, the advances in technology; don’t those things put us one up on those primitives?

On a scientific and economic scale, it certainly does but, sociologically speaking – which we are at the moment – it doesn’t mean much. Volumes have been written about the decay of the family structure because of these advances. It may be sort of like a tree that looks very strong on the outside but has rotted entirely in its core.

And I’m not saying our world is rotten but there is enough decay on the fundamental structures that form a society or a civilization to cause a few of us to worry.

I am not advocating a return to the primitive cave-dwelling of our ancestors, but there are certain basic methods of living that should be resurrected, dusted off, and embraced anew.

Otherwise, our brave new world will go the way of certain societies in books as viewed by apocalyptic authors.

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