A Meditation on Faith: Tribalism

Until I expand the sphere of people I know and love beyond my clan, caste, gender, race, parish, and nation…

… we are doomed to ignorance, scarcity, division, and violence.

Peace and justice are impossible in a world full of patriots and true believers.

Next Meditation: Bearing Witness

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17 thoughts on “A Meditation on Faith: Tribalism

    • Indeed, George. Unfortunately, scarcity, inequity, and unjustifiable concentrations of knowledge, wealth, opportunity, and power continue to plague us, as they always have.

      I struggle to articulate, much less know how to socialize, what an ethical, viable framework for real peace and justice might be in principle, much less practice. My inclination is that any sustainable system must be built on a foundation of secular values, informed consent, and RESPONSIBLE freedom…. not coercion.

      And so here we are… The exploiters at “the top” and the freeloaders at “the bottom” ruining it for us monkeys in the middle who are doing all the heavy lifting… too busy to do much about it other than lament.

      Any thoughts on how to address the problem without defaulting to our current systems of antagonistic politics and the shallow economic self-interest?

      Thanks and peace.

      Liked by 1 person

        • Indeed, George. It always comes back to us… and I think it both a tactical and moral error to think one can “make” the world a better place… just a recipe for burnout and disillusionment.

          And so, I try to hang my hat on the simple but profound words of wisdom from two of my heroes…
          “Be the change you want to see in the world.” – Gandhi?!
          “Let him that would move the world first move himself.” – Socrates?!

          Thanks and peace to you, my friend and friend of the world.

          Liked by 1 person

      • Any thoughts on how to address the problem without defaulting to our current systems of antagonistic politics and the shallow economic self-interest?

        When trying to accomplish anything, I think it’s valuable to learn from the example of others who have already successfully done it. In this case, look at countries which have successfully implemented socialism with democracy and kept it stable for decades — Scandinavia is the best-known example, though Germany and France might be better object lessons since, like the US, they’re bigger and less homogenous. Look at how they did it and what, if any, aspects of their experience could be applied here. Slavish imitation isn’t usually feasible, but things of value can be learned.

        One thing I do know — every effort to change a society by planning out a template in advance for how it should end up, and then trying to squeeze the society into that template, has ended in disaster, and such methods will always end in disaster. Change must happen organically, with openness to compromise and input from everyone, and with recognition that the end result is not going to look like any one group’s ideal.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Hi Guys,
    “Peace and justice are impossible in a world full of patriots and true believers.”
    Have to disagree with you on this, Frank. Anything is possible, anytime, anywhere, all you need do is figure out how–rawgod.
    Yes, this sounds simplistic, and offers little of use to most readers. But its meaning is of value, because it gives you permission to think outside the box. That is where most problems are solved, outside the box. The box you are putting yourself in here is the box of patriots and true believers. Ignore them. You know you won’t change them. Look for others like yourself, people who are frustrated with things the way there are. Befriend them, invite them to join you in making grass roots changes in your own area of imfluence. Don’t “tell” them anything, ask them to brainstorm ideas with you. Make them feel wanted. Make them feel at home. The more you brainstorm, the more you start to feed off each other. The more you feed off each other, the more trusting everyone feels, the tighter the group.
    Try not to be a leader, but have the group be the leader, not any one member of the group. Be together.
    Have a rule creation meeting. No violence, or threat thereof. Keep on point, no bringing up side issues. No infighting for power, all are equal. And so on.
    People are at their best when they feel they are important to the group. People are at their best when they feel needed. People are empowered when no one else is telling them what to do. Do not swear anyone to secrecy, that causes stress. Make them feel free to talk about a plan, or a plan the group is trying to create. Keep things simple. Have only one goal at a time. Be a role model. Be yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What IS an ethical, viable framework for real peace and justice?
    ethical–relating to moral principles
    moral–concerned with the principles of right and wrong behaviour
    viable–capable of working successfully; feasible
    framework–a basic structure underlying a system, or concept
    peace–freedom from disturbance, violence, or war
    justice–(variable, but) the process or result of using laws to fairly judge and punish crimes and criminals (I think this is what you are talking about!)
    punishment–the infliction or imposition of a penalty as retribution for an offense
    crime–an action or omission which constitutes an offence and is punishable by an authority figure

    Can there be such a framework for anything? In my opinion, one can try, but not everyone will ever agree to it. To anticipate the next word, no framework can ever be viable beyond a group of one. One is wasting their time to look for such a framework. The world, and life itself, were born in chaos. We on this world will never change that, even though it is in us to try.

    Ethics is a nice words that tries to take the morality out of judging behaviour, but really it is a word based on the religious concept of right and wrong. God said all that is in the Garden of Eden is good, but it is bad to eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. The word “good” is even rooted in the word “god.”

    Peace, real or imaginary, is a worthy pursuit, even an honourable pursuit, but unfortunately nigh on impossible in our culture, or society. Despite what I said in my last comment, peace is something that cannot be done on a piecemeal basis. Like a pregnancy, it is all peace, or no peace. As long as we have ANY dividing lines (race, religion, gender, etc.) there cannot be peace.

    Justice–Laws will never be fair to all, and punishing criminals only creates more criminals. But will you believe, the banning of laws will help people learn responsibility, and thus never become the type of people we call criminals. Think about it. It actually makes sense.

    People like to feel good, they like to feel safe. But the lines that divide prevent such feelings, and to use a word of yours from my next comment, exploiters want to keep it that way. It is to their benefit that people never join together as one. It sounds impossible, but this can be done, as long as we do not try.
    Trying, whether it be through rebellion or revolution, only creates new exploiters, and draws new dividing lines. and as I said above, there can be no peace, or justice, as long as there are dividing lines.
    So. let us get rid of the lines that divide…

    This is my opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Once again, we are violent agreement, my friend. Have no fear… My declaration that “Peace and justice are impossible in a world full of patriots and true believers.” is not one of resignation, fatalism, or nihilism… but is a call to agency and responsible freedom… a celebration of diversity, inclusion, creativity, collaboration. If you read my other writings, you will see that, if anything, I tend to err on the side of being TOO optimistic, of having too much faith in my fellow human beings, to my own detriment. That said, such optimism is a fundamental pillar of my faith and worldview… along with my radical commitment to secular values and my opposition to ignorance, obedience, and conformity is ALL forms, religious and political…. which persist in dividing us in so many insidious ways… far too numerous to mention in this box, but explored in my other essays. Thanks and peace.

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  3. Peace and justice are impossible in a world full of patriots and true believers.

    Absolute peace and justice are impossible under any conditions. Perfection is unattainable, but improvement is attainable and worth working for. The world of today is a lot more peaceful and just than the world of 200 years ago, which in turn was more peaceful and just than the world of 400 years ago, etc.

    Efforts to create utopia, however defined, usually produce bloody failures. Efforts to improve things often do actually improve things.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agreed. Things ARE getting better. WE are getting better… healthier, freer, better educated, more inclusive… as people see the folly of division… the folly of sectarianism, nationalism, sexism, racism, homo-hatred… all being relegated slowly but surely to our infancy. Still tons of work to do, of course, but it’s a great time to be alive… and to have so many opportunities to contribute going forward. Thanks and peace.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Are you familiar with the writing of Steven Pinker? He has a lot of interesting ideas and data on this, and emphasizes the importance of figuring out what factors are behind all these improvements so we can keep things moving in the right direction — another example of learning from what worked before.

        Liked by 1 person

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