People will sometimes accuse me of being in love with tribalism, and I often hear them say, “If you love it so much, why don’t you just go leave everything and go to your magical island?”
Those who understand me in this way totally misunderstand what I’m saying.
The tribal lifestyle isn’t precious because it’s beautiful or lovable or because it’s “close to nature.” It isn’t even precious because it’s “the natural way for people to live.” That’s just nonsense. This is like saying that bird migration is good because it’s the natural way for birds to live, or like saying that bear hibernation is good because it’s the natural way for bears to live.
The tribal life is precious because it tested out. For three million years it worked for people. It worked for people the way nests work for birds, the way webs work for spiders, the way burrows work for moles, the way hibernation works for bears. That doesn’t make it lovable, that makes it viable.
People will also say to me, “Well, if it was so wonderful, why didn’t it last?”
The answer is that it did last—it has lasted right up to the present moment. It continues to work, but the fact that something works, doesn’t make it invulnerable. Burrows and nests and webs can all be destroyed, but that doesn’t change the fact that they work. Tribalism can be destroyed and indeed has largely been destroyed, but that doesn’t change the fact that it worked for three million years and still works today as well as it ever did.