Tuesday, October 25, 2005


This is a repeat of a post from my original blog which died and is now slowly being reborn.
I am a tribe, part of a tribe and someone who needs freedom from tribalism.

I am a tribe of one because I can only speak, or try to speak, what is true for me. When I try to speak for others or give them advice on how they should behave I cease to be who I am and try to become a leader, teacher or priest. This is dangerous for me. Several visits to institutions and countless vain arguments have taught me at long last that I have no particular talent for, or interest in shaping the lives of others. If I do influence others these days it is due to a remnant of ego that I cannot shake. I am trying to get better. Please excuse me when I relapse.

In a way, this blog site thing is a relapse. Ego certainly is involved in releasing my thoughts into the vastness of the electromagnetic sphere – sending out a virtual “message in a bottle”. My only excuse is that writing is one of the things that I must do every day as a prophylactic measure against my return to the hospital. I have chosen to put these writings (drawings, photographs, etc.) on the internet because some friends say they like them. I like writing. My friends like reading what I write. Perhaps we are codependent! Maybe we need therapy!

I am part of a tribe or many tribes depending on your point of view. I am member of the tribe of animate beings. I am warm blooded and have an endoskeleton. I am a mammal. I am a human being. I am an inhabitant of earth, in the Milky Way galaxy, etc. I am white. I was raised Southern Baptist. I have attended university. On and on, the number of tribes seems to be infinite. This should be a beautiful thing and it is except that each tribe seems to want me to hate or, at a minimum dislike, all the others.

I appreciate the value of tribal loyalty. If I had not had loyal tribe members in my past I would not be here. A solo human on the plains of the Serengeti would have had trouble staying out of reach of the lions. When my ancestors roamed the earth in little groups they formed tribes to stay alive. They killed members of other tribes in order to survive, and let’s face it - often for greed and the pure pleasure of exercising the power of life and death over another.

The system evidently worked fairly well for small groups. If we didn’t like our tribe or we ran into a tribe too powerful for our tribe there was always the option of running away. There was always another place where there were no other tribes – at least of the human variety.

I no longer have that option. If 9/11 taught me anything it was this – I am part of one global tribe whether I like it or not. I must learn to accept you and your differences. I must make some attempt at treating you with love and kindness or I will become extinct. When I drive my SUV at 70 on the interstate I must be aware that I am angering those who do not have SUVs or even highways. It used to be that the “have nots” were fairly powerless and far, far away. Now with the internet, airplanes and telecommunications the “have nots” are my next door neighbors. Also, as 9/11 showed, the “have nots” now have the capability to reach anywhere they wish. If I bomb them, they can bomb me right back. If I hit them in the face, I am in fact hitting myself.

At times I long for the good old days. Days like in the westerns where the good guys wore white hats, the evil doers wore black hats. In my dreams, life was simpler then. But it was also much harder. They had no SUVs.

What to do? Returning to the good old days is not possible without giving up many of the comforts I have grown used to - comforts that others eye jealously. When someone in a stone hut, without indoor plumbing, watches television they see the wide difference between my world and theirs. An ad for an air freshner does not play will to the stone hut crowd. Guess I will have to look for ways to help them get their own Fabreeze, or better yet learn how to get along without Frabreeze, drive at 55 rather than 70 and save a little more of the Earth’s resources for other members of my tribe. I hope that I am successful.

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