Tribalism-a cure for the cancer?

Regular readers of LSS will know that the greatest fear we have in these pages is that of Tribalism. This pathological tendency of Homo sapiens to divide itself into mutually hating groups, screaming hatred and deaf to all reason. Hence the terrifying divisions over things like Brexit, Black Lives Matter, football matches and Donald Trump. In a species as well armed and emotionally fragile as this one, it could now prove very fatal very quickly indeed. It is a theme explored well by Amy Chua *and Eric Kaufman. * The psychological roots were underlined in the infamous Robbers Cave Experiment*, which quickly led to terrifying levels of violence and hatred.

Now, the website Open Democracy carries an article by Perry Walker* called Beyond Tribal Competition which for the first time suggests that ways out of this trap are possible. We won’t spoil it for you, you should read this one. But what impressed us was a list of case examples which suggest some of the methods might work. Here is a checklist of things which might, one day resolve poisonous conflict and open the way to science and learning.

1 Get groups to see that dialogue is the only possible way forward. Failing which:

1a Get a convenor whom both sides trust. In the Minnesota custody dispute this was Governor Mark Dayton. (we at LSS remember John Hume in Ireland)

2 Recognise both sides have shared interests in many things. In Chattanooga Tennessee this was clean air and water

3 Read all you can lay your hands on by Mary Parker Follet. She invented the idea of win-win. Look for the deeper needs of both parties. Your example here is Camp David in 1978. It turned out that the Israelis wanted security and the Egyptians Sovereignty.

4 Find different reasons for different groups to support the same policy. By demilitarising Sinai, the Egyptians could take the sovereignty, but the Israelis had security.

Tentative stuff. But we as intelligent people have to start somewhere. Remember how we got heliocentrism and votes for women through against the instincts of the mass of mankind? Maybe we can do the same again.

Amy Chua Political Tribes Bloomsbury 2018

Eric Kaufman Whiteshift Penguin 2018

#tribalism #maryparkerfollet #opendemocracy #conflictresolution

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