Cover of book Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging

Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging

by: Sebastian Junger

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  • He'd been generous; what made him different was the fact that he'd taken responsibility for me!
  • Robert Frost famously wrote that home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in. The word “tribe” is far harder to define, but a start might be the people you feel compelled to share the last of your food with!
  • Humans don't mind hardship, in fact they thrive on it; what they mind is not feeling necessary. Modern society has perfected the art of making people not feel necessary.
  • But as societies tend to become more affluent they tend to require more, rather than less, time and commitment by the individual, and it's possible that many people feel that affluence and safety simply aren't a good trade for freedom.
  • The relatively relaxed pace of !Kung life - even during times of adversity-challenged long-standing ideas about that modern society created a surplus of leisure time. It created exactly the opposite: a disparate cycle of work, financial obligation, and more work. The !Kung had far fewer belongings than Westerners, but their lines were under much greater personal control.
  • A wealthy person who has never had to rely on help and resources from his community is leading a privileged life that falls way outside more than a million years of human experience. Financial independence can lead to isolation, and isolation can put people at a greatly increased risk of depression and suicide. This might be a fair trade for a generally wealthier society - but a trade it is.
  • the self determination theory, which holds that human beings need three basic things in order to be content: they need to feel competent at what they do; they need to feel authentic in their lives; and they need to feel connected to others. These values are considered ‘intrinsic&rquo; to human happiness and far outweigh 'extrinsic' values such as beauty, money, and status.
  • “In effect, humans have dragged a body with a long hominid history into an overfed, malnourished, sedentary, sunlight-deficient, sleep deprived, competitive, inequitable, and socially-isolating environment with dire consequences!” From a study in the ‘Journal of Affective Disorders’ in 2012
  • “If you want to make a society work, then you don't keep underscoring the places where you're different - you underscore your shared humanity,” she told me.“I'm appalled by how much people focus on differences. Why are you focusing on how different you are from one another, and not on the things that unite us.” — Rachel Yehuda
  • He clearly understood that belonging to society requires sacrifice, and that sacrifice gives back way more than it costs!