This link is to an editorial by E.O.Wilson on "Tribalism, Groupism, Globalism".  and references Wilson's book "The Social Conquest of Earth".

He starts, "People must have a tribe. It gives them a name, adding to their own and social meaning in a chaotic world. It makes the environment less disorienting and dangerous."  In fact, he goes much further, describing how humans have neuronal "hard wiring" in our brains, that brings about almost instantaneous prejudgment of people who are not within the same "tribe".  That tribe can be racial, ethnic, or other more arbitrary categorization.

The Social Conquest of Earth by E.O. Wilson.

This is from the Amazon summary:   The benefits of cooperation and cohesion in allowing groups to out-compete other groups eventually allowed group-level selection to add a layer of tribalist sentiment to the members of our species (which tribalist sentiment draws from us a deep attachment to our in-groups, and a corresponding mistrust and contempt for members of out-groups). This tribalist sentiment eventually set the stage for the development of the first religions. The cooperative and tribalist sentiments that evolved during this time ultimately explains why our psyches are torn between selflessness and selfishness, virtue and vice. (On the topic of group-level selection, it turns out that this theory has been out of favour in the scientific community for over 40 years, and a big part of Wilson's purpose here is to resurrect the theory, and reestablish its credibility.)

This concept appeals to my own thoughts regarding group loyalty and identification.  I've seen in many times in life, whether the "tribe" was religious grouping, ethnicity, work group in the corporation, or certain gender-identified cliques. The "us/them" dichotomy seems like a universal human trait. 

I have not read this book.  Will add to kindle account.  My sit-down reading capacity is broken.  I may have to listen using text-to-speech.  Different topic, but at least it gets me reading more.

Tags: ethnocentrism, groupism, racism, tribalism, tribe, us/them

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Replies to This Discussion

That was good. I really want to read that book. I guess groupism isn't avoidable,and isn't all bad. I try to stand up for LGBT rights all over the world, not because I know these people, but because they are part of my group. So there are positive aspects to it too. However, I think the problem is that people are so convinced that their group is the only virtuous, correct, valuable, blessed, intelligent, etc., group there is. 

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