Alan Weiss’s Monday Morning Memo® – 12/06/2021
Here is the dictionary definition of “tribe”: A social division in a traditional society consisting of families or communities linked by social, economic, religious, or blood ties, with a common culture and dialect, typically having a recognized leader. One of my colleagues, Seth Godin, whose work I admire, has written extensively about “tribes.”
The term has been used colloquially and inconsistently. One study attempted to show that Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks have “tribes” of customers who, even with free coffee offers, would not go over to the other camp! I’ve actually seen people walk into a diner for breakfast carrying with them Starbucks coffee (which I find so pretentious and crass that I want to pour the coffee on their heads). Apparently, they need to bring symbols with them of their tribal affiliation.
Words can have these “magical” meanings, whereby they signify much more than they should. Such words are “punching above their weight.” And the result is, too often, inchoate beliefs.
I’ve read (and experienced) that “boomers” and “millennials” often have common beliefs and goals, and that many of the former and the latter don’t always agree with their own compadres. In other words, at the heart of it, we’re all individuals, more alike than unalike, and resistant to generic labels and filing drawers.
In common parlance, I’m among the eldest of the boomers. Some of you are, most of you are not, yet here you are taking a minute to read this missive and perhaps agree with it or at least be stimulated by it. I don’t see people in “categories” or with “labels.”
I respect you more than that.
The key thing about us is that we all belong to multiple tribes. Even if we are predisposed into dividing the world into “us” and “them,” it’s incredibly easy to manipulate us as to who is an “us” and who is a “them” at any given moment. —Robert Sapolsky
Suffering produces a recursion to the tribe, to one’s own kind. When a lot of people suffer, tribes
lose their head. —Giles Foden