The future I begin to describe in The Doorkeeper’s Secrets is based on a culture that meets everyone’s needs. I’ve been suggesting that Maslow’s categorizing of human need into five groups can serve as a foundation for such a future.
In addition to what we need to live as a biological entity, and enough safety to venture into the world, we need to know a bit about who we are. Last time we talked about understanding ourselves by remembering who we are related to: family. This third level has to do with social relationships or as some of us would say – the need to belong somewhere.
I can’t do much about my DNA or my family’s history (of course I can choose whether to be limited by those or not), but other relationships provide a bit more choice. We hear a lot these days about tribes. The purist would likely say “tribe” refers to historic groups often with biological and geographic connections.
It is interesting to note that the word tribe may have its root in the Latin tri meaning three. That could refer to the original three “tribes” in ancient Rome, or it could merely mean where you have three or more you have a tribe. The latter is more consistent with the term is often used today.
We want to “belong” somewhere so we “join” tribes. In most cases, “joining” and leaving a tribe is rather easy, and no one is likely to hold us to a standard of purity.
I was born and raised in the United States, so I am part of that tribe. Previous generations did the immigrating for me, so I don’t even have to pass a test to be a citizen. I grew up in the south, so I am part of the southern US tribe, but I was not required to adopt all the stereotypes of “a Southerner.”
I chose a College, Graduate School and profession – which put me in more tribes. There were requirements to get into and graduate from those institutions but now (50 years later) they are grateful when I send a check to the Alumni Fund. My profession requires continuing education, and adherence to ethical standards, as do most.
People claim participation in tribes based on political affiliation, support of particular social causes (sustainability, clean environment, gun control, health care for all to list a few current ones) or loyalty to particular ball team, diet plan, automaker, or celebrity. That’s before we even mention religious, ethnic, or value-based perspectives (avocations and volunteer groups). Then there is the whole issue of age. If we identify as a __something, someone else “knows what we are going through, because they are there, or recently have been.”
In other words, there are lots of tribes we can claim, or that might want to “count us” as part of their “base.” But we can take the parts we want from most of those tribal groups. Just because I support my local police does not mean I support excessive force, militarized actions, or abuse of police power on anyone.
So, we want to belong, but we also want our individuality – the freedom to think and act independently and the right to change our minds when we learn new stuff.
There is one more type of relationship: mating. We’ll take up that one next time.