Tribalism & Altruism

I’ve observed that people have an extreme capacity for vitriol against one another. The world is divided into camps of pro-this and anti-that.


Is it genetically coded into our DNA? E.O. Wilson’s article in Newsweek makes a good case for that position ( ).

What about altruism? It, too, is instinctive ( ).

Tribalism and Altruism, two seemingly incongruent practices, yet we see examples regularly in the news. Two countries at odds with each other, tempers mounting. Suddenly disaster strikes one country and the opposing country rushes in with aid and comfort.


Tribalism provides protection for prey. Each bovine has a better chance of survival in a herd versus standing alone.

Tribalism also provides advantages to predators. Each wolf has a better chance of securing sustenance hunting in a pack rather than hunting alone.

Altruism insures continuance of the species. Male baboons risk their lives threatening a predator to protect the troop, allowing them time to escape. Wolves in a pack bring food back to members not present for the kill. This include the injured and aged.

Whether spiritual or instinctual, tribalism and altruism are gifts, to be used properly and wisely.

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