Saturday, December 9, 2017

Readings about tribes and tribalism — interim update:

I keep hoping to end this series and move on. But people just keep providing new fodder. So I’ll keep going.

Remember, my purpose is first to try to foster recognition of the systematic nature of the tribal form, and second to advance recognition of its evolutionary significance. From a TIMN standpoint, the tribe is the first and forever form: Societies have to get it more-or-less right in order to lay a foundation for getting the next forms more-or-less right — the institutional, market, and new network forms. Conversely, if developed societies decay and start getting those later forms wrong, then people lose faith in those later forms and revert to the tribal form.

It’s kinda that simple. And it’s happening here in America right now.

According to TIMN, America is in the throes of evolving (or trying to evolve) from a triformist (T+I+M) into a more advanced quadriformist (T+I+M+N) system. The rise of +N — its technologies, its organizational dynamics, its philosophical implications — is still in its early disruptive phases. It lies behind much of the vast loosening and questioning, both functional and dysfunctional, now besetting our aging T+I+M system. The divisive reversions to tribalism we see are one result.

The new tribalisms on both the Right and the Left, and especially on the Trumpian Right, are taking advantage of the new network technologies and organizational forms. But these new tribalisms, especially the ones on the Right, are vying mainly over T+I+M matters, such as identitarianism, government dysfunction, capitalism’s future, etc. And as befits tribalization, this is occurring in mostly divisive destructive ways. I expect this to continue and worsen; America is in big trouble.

In a sense, these new tribalisms are straining our system to come up with something new and next-generation. But because today's tribalists are so stuck in triformist (T+I+M) frameworks, they cannot and will not be able to do much that deliberately contributes to +N. Conservative Republicans, especially the tribalists among them, seem incapable of breaking out of the triformist framework — and if they could detect +N, they’d block it. Many liberal Democrats seem to sense that something new is emerging, but they can’t quite perceive that it might be +N — so they too keep floundering in fractured triformist terms.

Meanwhile, according to TIMN, the development of +N forces should lead to the creation of a new sector, distinct from the existing public (+I) and private (+M) sectors, that will provide new ways of getting things done that our government and market sectors are no longer adequate for. Best I can tell, only some left-leaning proponents of developing a commons sector are on the right track as to +N’s potential (though I think they are not going about it in the best way — a matter for a different post sometime).

An implication of the above is that I wish I could offer readings about what’s happening to/with all four TIMN forms. But as matters stand, limited coverage of the T/tribal form is about all I’m good for these days.

Next up: readings by Jack Donovan, Victor David Hanson, David Brooks, and Robert Wright, with more to follow…

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