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Tribe—By Sebastian Junger

My notes

Not to be confused with Tribes by Seth Godin.

This was a quick read. A deep dive into Native Americans, war, and PTSD. There are many cases of people going from western civilization to tribal organization. Even when entering as captives, many people prefer to stay there. There aren’t many cases citing the other transition, going from Native American tribalism to western individualism.

My skepticism of statistics kicks in. What if people that come into western individualism aren’t noticed, because all the individuals are more focused on themselves, and are more intrigued by the narrative of defecting, and why?

For all our wealth, we are less happy. People undergoing war times seem to have a more human connection and more captivating experience. For all the promises of peace, it seems that humans are better suited for war.

Another aside: in this book and many I’ve read this year, there seems to be an appeal to biological evolution, and that things are the way they are because of our best adaptations for survival. What I don’t get about this argument, is that it can’t really leave room for empathy with the soldier that has a hard time returning home. If you believe in survival of the fittest, you must be willing to accept this next progression that we let the warriors die in misery, while the wealthy live in luxury? I don’t think that’s what is happening. I don’t like the idea of destroying empathy. But it feels like the appeals to evolution often don’t concede that their desire for empathy could be stifling the progress of the species?

This was a good book. It disarmed fears of mass hysteria if I should ever encounter a man made or natural disaster in my life. Our worst fears are crisis, but all the data points to crisis driving humans together. And what we all need is other people.


Sebastian Junger