Monday, March 10, 2008

Fundamental Tribes

I heard an author on NPR over the weekend talking about how 9/11 caused him to rethink his identity, and he said something that really sums it all up

"I saw the end game of tribalism -- it ends up with people flying planes into buildings."

He pointed out that our immediate response to 9/11 was tribal.. the whole "You're either with us, or against us" theme is also tribal.

I'm sick of it... it's counterproductive, and it's killing my country. My identity has many aspects, being a Citizen of the United States is only one of them. I'm a father, husband, son, brother, friend, and many more things. Thus I belong to many tribes.

I'm a photographer... with many more photos than most humans have ever taken in their entire lives... so many that I can't fit them all in my laptop. There are so many things to see, learn about, and remember... those little clicks help.

I'm a husband... and father... two roles I'd not imagined myself ever filling.... yet outrageously happy in both of them.

I'm a son and a brother, roles I've had as long as I can remember.

I'm sometimes a teacher, and always a student of the world. I've got the curiosity that Feynman and others talk about... I always want to know how and why things work the way they do.

I'm a Citizen, awakened out of my slumber by the massive failure of government on 9/11.

I'm a person, amazed by the beauty of nature, the complexity of the universe, the human soul, and the world around us every day.

I'm one of six billion souls on this world, clinging to the thin crust of rock floating on a molten pool of rock 7000 miles in diameter, breathing a wisp of air trapped here by gravity.

I'm middle aged... half way to the end of my life... so far I've been very fortunate that I've learned to appreciate my good fortune. 8)

I'm a blogger... with a few readers, and the occaisional hit... the 21st century equivalent of a diarist. You could also call me a journalist, but I don't have pretensions of objectivity.

I'm a Hoosier... but I don't know the words to the Banks of the Wabash, and I do know that pi isn't ever 3.2. ;-)

So... there are a lot of tribes I belong to... and more to join every day.

When you say I'm either with you, or against you, you're using the wrong word.

I'm with you... AND against you.

You get to choose if you want to focus on our shared identities, or to make an enemy.

Wise men seek to strengthen bonds, and not to break them.

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