It’s been a while since GorT posted an actual blog post but in thinking about this topic, it was more than what I’d do on Twitter. ‘Puter might create a 22-tweet rant but I’m not sure I could adequately cover this in such a manner, plus I don’t really do epic rants like ‘Puter.
GorT’s been giving a lot of thought to the current state of affairs around the world and here in the United States and so much of it comes down to one thing: tribes. While this isn’t some earth-shattering revelation, I want to take it in a particular direction – specifically, I think we each belong to a number of tribes and there are people and technologies working to collapse tribes into larger ones that goes against our nature.
Let me try to explain myself. We each belong to certain tribes: our church community, our neighborhood, those we align with politically, socially, etc. We have tribes for our college and professional sports teams and other hobbies and pastimes. In the past, and still with certain communities, one will have tribes around their ethnicity (for those in certain cities, you’ll recognize the “Irish neighborhood” or the “Italian church”, etc.). To put maybe a darker spin on this – we all saw tribes in high school but just called the cliques. Well, they didn’t go away as we grew up.
The structure of the United States (a federal republic) is well suited for this. Tribes, to some degree, could co-locate and enjoy their community while being part of a bigger structure that provided overarching benefits. Our laws protecting free speech, religion, etc. granted protections for the tribes. This wasn’t (and isn’t) without flaws which result in various disagreements and even conflicts like the Civil War.
But as the 20th century progressed, the growing interconnectedness of our population largely through technological advances in transportation and communication, did two things. First, it enabled remote members of tribes to participate in tribes all across the globe. Second, it amplified conflict between tribes and made the conflict more public. Now New Yorkers started to be aware of issues, have opinions and, to put it mildly, offer recommendations for Texans. And conservatives in the midwest voiced concerns over positions by liberals in the north. And so on. And tribes began championing that every tribe should want, need, and adopt their beliefs. In the past, this has manifested itself in things like the “Catholic tribe” implementing the Spanish Inquisition. And one might argue that similar things are afoot today.
I’m not advocating that we should isolate ourselves in our tribes* and only talk with those with whom we agree or align. But there needs to be some realization that we are tribal in nature, you might not understand another tribe very well, and not everybody need be in one big tribe. Social Media, like Twitter and Facebook, enable this hyper-connectedness and I would caution that it’s not all good to be so connected.
Given that the horse has left the barn on this connectivity, I’m not sure where we go from here to address things and find some way of recognizing our tribal nature and desires while working within the hyper-connected world of today.
* There’s a reason Isla Introverta is a place…well at least a concept as far as you know
GorT is an eight-foot-tall robot from the 51ˢᵗ Century who routinely time-travels to steal expensive technology from the future and return it to the past for retroinvention. The profits from this pay all the Gormogons’ bills, including subsidizing this website. Some of the products he has introduced from the future include oven mitts, the Guinness widget, Oxy-Clean, and Dr. Pepper. Due to his immense cybernetic brain, GorT is able to produce a post in 0.023 seconds and research it in even less time. Only ’Puter spends less time on research. GorT speaks entirely in zeros and ones, but occasionally throws in a ڭ to annoy the Volgi. He is a massive proponent of science, technology, and energy development, and enjoys nothing more than taking the Czar’s more interesting scientific theories, going into the past, publishing them as his own, and then returning to take credit for them. He is the only Gormogon who is capable of doing math. Possessed of incredible strength, he understands the awesome responsibility that follows and only uses it to hurt people.