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Mitch SMith


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Neo-tribalism - solving the identity crisis of humanity.

More and more, I get the signal that many, if not most, of the problems we are confronted with today trace to the collapse of our identity - as individuals and communities.

My idea in this conversation is neo-tribalism.

At the base of this idea is a recognition of our evolved capacity to conduct social advantage as a survival strategy - and how we now face the critical choices that will determine if evolution got it right in the case of humans .. or if we will become no more than a fossil record for the ponderings of some other species that got it right..

I encourage readers here to review Robert Sapolsky's work on primate social organisation - it helps get a larger picture if you understand that primates are very experimental in geographical time-scale.

We, as a primate experiment, seem to have gotten out of balance since the last ice age. we have entered into many exponential dynamics that all appear to be converging in the next few decades.

Personally, I feel that it is inevitable - that we are far less in control of what happens than we would like.

That said - Have we over-reached our own capacity?
And should we now consider a partial return to what we are designed to be?

My idea asks this question:

Are we tribal by default?

And if we are - should we not respect this - to the extent that our tribal limits are recognised in everything we attempt to progress our integration in the world we participate in?

I suggest that we are tribal.

And I suggest that our tribes cannot be more than 150 productive adults plus dependants.

I suggest that the "family of man" is a deep mistake and that the real advance is, not in the unification of all humans, but the unification of human tribes.

I suggest that we should abandon the notion of all humans in harmony and get on with the job of all tribes in harmony.

Please discuss?

I have some observation which I will share in the process.


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    Oct 12 2013: What would you reply to a friend of mine, Bob, who argues we already live in such neo-tribes but, instead of the tribe being imposed on people as was custom back in the days, we get to pick who's part of it and what tribe we wish to be on? He goes on further saying the neo-tribe has fuzzy boundaries compared to the traditionnal one, and that identity is a matter of gradient nowadays. This, he supposes, makes for a more peaceable super-society where it's usually hard to label anyone on the basis of membership or adherence to anything specific but where people don't necessarily feel like termites.
    Bob has an interesting idea about society evolution. He compares the way separate organisms under some kind of pressure merged at some point to create larger, more complex ones. For quite some time we reached a balance as large agricultural religious civilizations. Today we have new pressures, not such much because of the explosion of global population but because of the technological revolution plunging us into the age of information. Bob says we're probably evolving into some kind of global social network-like society, where people form reasonnable-sized neo-tribes but are part of the global community as well.
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      Oct 12 2013: Well .. I'd agree with bob.

      Except that the lines have always been fuzzy - traditional tribes all have mechanisms of inter-migration .. even baboons .. there is strong evidence that evolution has already sorted out the genetic mixing advantage.

      I would also agree with Bob about the "fuzzy-gradient" - that the fuzzy "gradient" is the window through which inter-tribal convention can be applied to result in "the brotherhood of tribes" but that there is no need to codify what happens within the tribe - what works, works at that level. So the fuzzy gradient has a black-line in it - this line is the thing that has been forgotten.

      I would go on to say that it's not a bad idea to recognise how successful corporations have been - but that if they go across this fuzzy line, they will cause problems.

      So, in that vein, I support the modern notion of the "worker-run-enterprise" or co-op as the logical next step for tribalism AFTER the success of capitalist corporation - the next development being the formal recognition of the corporate tribe that it has responsibility for it's workers AND their dependants - including all basic needs (housing, food, health, entertainment etc) and no external payment to shareholders or other social parasites.

      Where I diverge from Bob is the assumption that network inter-dependencies will form into emergent capacity. My research suggests that any such emergence requires physical change - not just metaphysical change.

      I suggest that humanity has attempted a symbiotic merger as a result of the last ice age (which nearly finished us) - the stability of climate since has been taken as success, but it is a false success in geological timescales (those timescales that actually produce physical genetic re-code - and all subsequent emergence).

      If we are to become hyper-super-organismic hive-cells, then the root genetic change might be deliberately imposed - we can do that - we have the technology to do it .. but will we? Maybe accidentally?

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        Oct 12 2013: "My research suggests that any such emergence requires physical change - not just metaphysical change."

        Stop. Zoom in. Zoom in on that physical change thing, please. Can we have more detail on that, it looks interesting.
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          Oct 12 2013: Well .. back in the 90's I got a computer so that I could verify all the stuff I was reading.

          I kinda got side-tracked for a year or 2 doing models of erosion dynamics .. how topology adapts to ambience .. I did that for hours and hours .. mesmeric patterns so engaging at a level that made me shake my head every few days to ask WTF I was wasting all his time on??!!
          And then I read Edward De Bono's book about right/wrong in which he introduced the emergent property of networks - so I started programing that.

          Let me tell you - I hate the academy - there is no way I will ever waste that much time. So my next gig was helping a fortune100 bank to develop a system using neural processing to detect fraudulent loan applications. Got me some money .. cool.

          And then I watch al these online peole who haven't a clue what's happening under their feet and in their money .. and so I have to look at what money is . coming from a bank gives me some little head-start .. et me tell you .. negotiating a system shift to bring the zero-coupon-curve back from an investment branch to a business-deposit branch was a very tense episode!!! I was in fear of my life!!
          But I did it. Shame it wasn't in the USA .. in the process we raped-over a US GM subsidiary on the difference between the meta and the real. .. I note that the GM logo has disappeared in local media .. hey ho. As it tunrs out .. a bank is not comprised of its computer systems ;)

          I make pennywhistles now - I used to convert demographics into market predictions for mobile telephony - and you have to live what what I did.
          Now I tell you to get tribal.
          I keep in touch with the broad picture .. now and then I have to "go down the hole"
          I relate that the holes I've gone down and emerged .. some who have gone down those holes never returned - I feel bad about that - I did advise my "masters" not to command it, but they did anyway - and it was me who got the psychiatric help for their victims. On my own budget.

          Believe it or not. :)
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          Oct 12 2013: OK OK . you have asked a specific.

          You want to go down the hole.
          Now .. I am no longer in a position to fund your psychiatric remediation - so you better get it organised in advance .. and the quality of psych is far better than it was 10 years ago - and 10 times as expensive.

          Here we go.

          You have to start talking to geneticists - you have to start talking to the ones who are investigating epigenetics .. Along the way, you will have to deal with pathogenesis .. and after you come out of that still believing in humanity, you can go on .. or resign .. and that's a bad resignation with the depression that goes with it ... then you get over that and star tto deal with symbiosis .. and IA and wtf is a self anyway .. and then you come out of that understanding that god is lucifer .. and then you come out of that watching all organised religion destroying humanity, and then you come out of at seeing the big thing ..
          And then you see the need to withdraw .. or die strategically.

          All you advised was true .. and all you saved needed saving and all you missed .. got saved by others and that's the best we can do.

          And then you drop all of that .. and just live.
          That's hard.
          I'll tell you how to do it when I learn it enough to tell.
          And I will - because I want living humans within reach - it's in my interest .. and yours' to do so. And I am fine-tuned to recognise when those like me are telling me something we all need to know right now.

          All I can say is that we need our tribes - the under-pin of our assumptions about global humanity are almost 99 per-cent false . it's an expression of those we cannot save. Would if we could.
          That's the problem - those who can't come are beyond saving. and it's not a matter of conspiracy .. we will save as many as we can.

          Every one who comes out the hole is worth a hundred. By virtue of who they will save.

          it is my unending grief that a thousand go down. I could wish to prevent it . but how?
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          Oct 12 2013: Bleu is blue

          It's a colour of the rainbow.

          When yellow floods our eyes .. that's happy, but it is the blue that makes us know the yellow.

          Blue makes us cry .. yellow makes us laugh .. we cry and laugh - the more we laugh, the more we cry .. the more we cry, the more we laugh.

          Crying . as it turns out - represses our immune - and crying makes us die a lot
          Laughing .. as it turns out - fortifies our immune - and laughing makes us live a lot.

          Now tell me the crime of laughter?

          16 years ago I registered a business name "slaughterhouse" take away the snake and it's laughter-house - that's how close it all is.

          Come into the house - we laugh here and no blood is spilled that you do not bring with you.

          I have been working on this a long time.

          And we do it one-on-one .. it's slow . but that is the best - and we are worthy of nothing less.

          Look at your own life Gerald - have you done any less?

          I know you have not - and I am here to welcome you.
          In the incredibly small capacity allowed me,

          if you are strong - read Maquis de Sade - and then you will know the tribe who is ranged against us. They are fuelled by our pain - there is much of that, but it is not a fuel - it is a collapse.

          If you can stand to come out of his works .. you are as strong as me . ahh .. the pain .. and yet De Sade laid this barrier down .. 1000 to 1 with the one saving the hundred . what a risk!!
          And we are talking about psychopathic sadism!! And how TF do you deal with those who read his work and got trapped in the risk he calls us to avoid!!??

          Well I did that .. and that's hard .. takes years . that's how strong it is . to the point where libertine saints come and show you how easy it is to die at the hands of an experienced trained Ninja .. but that he refrained by virtue of "love" and professed that you would be his first male lover!!??
          How do you survive that stuff??
          It's possible - by feeling the wind right now. There is the only wisdom - tears or smiles.

          It's funny - let's laugh!
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        Oct 13 2013: Chemistry and classical physics make a lot of sense but things get crazy when you zoom in on quantum intimacy.
        Many questions, so many things... Perhaps I'll just push Bob down the hole.
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          Oct 17 2013: Sounds like Bob has already been there and come back.

          Zoom in and out .. it's a grain-size thing.

          Have you ever noticed how, when you zoom into fractals, they seem to make sense as a shape, then as you zoom-in further, the shape dissolves and re-forms?
          The fractal itself has no real granularity - it is our own perceptive system that imposes, or attempts to impose, the comprehension of "shape".
          This suggests that we compare all things to our "self". and our selves have an at-rest "grain-size" by which all things are judged.
          Then we find that our "self" is also fractal ..

          Here, I look at the transition of the individual self to the collective self of tribe.
          There is a lot of dissonance in the transition.

          The transition between the atomic and the sub-quantum looks like a phase-change.
          If there is any linear logic to it, I'd say that the sub-quantum is ruling the dynamic.
          But we are operating from a human self-granularity.

          I'm not sure if any of that makes sense . but you might see what I mean by looking at a chaos graph, such as the logistic, and zoom-in and out of a part of the chaotic bit .. you will see the fractal shape form and dissolve and reform .. the boundary of that formation and reformation, I'd suggest is due to your grain-size.
          To me, a tribe is like that .. a "harmonic" of grain-size from the personal to the collective.

          In regard to the "existing neo-tribe". I'd say yes.
          We call the most common of these "corporations".
          I don't see them as sustainable because they violate the grain-size.
          There is a very different set of dynamics when you replace gifts with money as a measure of tribal prestige.
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      Oct 12 2013: I think many people see things Bob's way.

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