Tribalism is in our DNA. This innate tendency to adopt the beliefs and customs of the people around us was the glue that held together small bands of nomadic hunters and gatherers.
Ancient humans with tribalism in their DNA survived in their tribe and propagated their DNA. Those without it didn’t and didn’t. It’s the natural product of human evolution.
Managing ancient humans was not like herding cats. It was more like herding herds. Stray humans didn’t last long on the savanna. Later, tribalism enabled us to coalesce into towns and cities, and to defend our resulting civilizations.
Even now, tribalism influences our relations with employers, extended families and communities. That influence is often good. When people work for the benefit of their tribe, they create focused teams that are more effective than individuals can ever be.
In short, tribalism has served us well for 99 percent of human history and in some ways it still does.
But tribalism poisons modern politics. Continue reading