Politics, Corporations, Churches, Professional Sports, and many other groups make up sub-cultures within our society.
These groups have leaders, followers, and “heroes” that are naturally structured in a hierarchical manner (psychologically); this breeds a sense of power, and in many cases fame within a group. This is sometimes called Tribalism. Having a favorite sports team is a key example of this. Although it is fairly innocent to root for a specific sports team, a barrier will be present with someone that doesn’t share your favoritism.
These two individuals will have a sense that they are “enemies” merely because they don’t share that in common.
They will mutually disregard the others’ opinion of that particular sport. In today’s society, I see this as the most common, and minimally damaging, sub-cultural divide amongst individuals. However, there are many sub-cultures that have a profound impact. Political differences seem to be one of the most dangerous. Two people may have very similar views on politics, however one small difference of opinion can create such strife that it severs a connection that they may have otherwise had. How many times have you seen people arguing over a political issue that seems to escalate to a point where you think a fight is going to break out? I know people that love each other dearly, but due to some political issue they cannot even breech the subject; and often times politics in general. In such cases, one will automatically devalue the other individual for not having the same view or identity as them. People will seek their political identity within a group that more closely resembles their views. When one identifies themselves with a particular group, they tend to have a sense of pride for belonging to it. It is only natural for someone to crave that sense of belonging. We want to identify with other individuals, and seek acceptance. This desire can often times come at a cost to the individual, manifesting itself by way of conformity. When this happens, one will feel most secure when they are acknowledged by others to be a part of a certain group. This will give an individual validation. A common way of gaining validation is by clearly demonstrating your loyalty by putting down, or belittling someone from an opposing group. Another pattern of behavior that I see is for one to exert their level of knowledge over individuals, in the same group, that seem to have lesser experience or education pertaining to the group. Behavior such as this will naturally form a structure of Power that individuals within groups have over one another. Individuals will look up to, admire, and idolize others who seem to be more intelligent with whatever subject is pertinent. This is where vanity (fame) rears its ugly head. It’s very common for groups of likeminded individuals to prop up others to a status of notoriety. Business, Economics, and Politics are very dangerous to society in regards to this phenomenon. I often see groups, or individuals, blindly follow the lead of others because they are regarded as intellectually superior. Since an individual may have lost their own identity, they will not question what has already been decided by the collective group. A group’s Idol will generally feed off this energy, and seek even more. Greed is a nasty byproduct that will seep into the “leaders” of these sub-cultures, and drive their agenda. In certain areas of society where Money is used as a basis for someone’s status, or is the primary agenda, it can breed corrupt behavior. We can clearly see the effects of Greed within our society, and the class structure that it creates. Individuals that have been catapulted by others could not have gotten there without these tightly coupled individuals that make up sub-cultures. Tribalism can have dire consequences for our society, especially when it’s in a particular area that has great influence over the lives of the general public. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t find ways to identify ourselves to others. However, we should be very weary of losing our own identity in the process. If our identity is lost, then we will cling to whatever belief system that drives these groups, which in turn alienates ourselves from others. This distracts us from our own human nature, and we can lose a bit, if not all, of what it mostly means to be a human; Empathy. From what I see with the state of affairs in society, Greed has a tight grip on many powerful individuals. Don’t you want to live in a society that thrives, due to individuals being mostly caring, and loving? I believe we do now, however we may lose this battle if we’re not mindful of the potential harm of Tribalism. .
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