According to Seth Godin, author of Tribes. “A tribe is any group of people, large or small, who are connected to one another, a leader, and an idea.” See his TED talk here.
But, as is the American way, when one belongs to a tribe, outside categorizations inevitably start to creep in. Labels, assumptions, classifications, restrictions. All words that don’t fit into the Highbrow Hippie vernacular. Anyone who doesn’t fit squarely into your tribe is deemed deficient in some way – so you like dogs, love to draw but don’t recycle? Sorry, not a fit. Love cross-fit workouts but aren’t vegan? What kind of new age healthy person are you?
The person who loves dogs, drawing, yoga and steak. As well as the occasional cigarette. We can’t find a perfect fit, so off we go narrowing and redefining the definition of what a Dog Loving Recycler can be, and before we know it we’ve found our Tribe. But guess what? The tribe is boring. Because everyone is EXACTLY LIKE US. How can you grow if you only surround yourself with people who think and act the same way you do? How can you grow if you don’t stay open to acknowledging other peoples ideas, thoughts and opinions? If you don’t focus on what connects us and not what pushes us apart.
In discussing the presidential election, we kept coming back to how disturbed we both were with the pervasive nastiness and disrespect. For the last 3 months all we’ve observed is hate, judgement and vitriol between the parties. Just some of the quotes on Facebook alone were enough to send us into cardiac arrest. One particular gem stated that “anyone happy about the president’s reelection lacked a formal education, no offense.” The broad sweeping generalization that half the country is uneducated? Not ok. Now don’t get it twisted, we haven’t found our ideal tribe in either of the parties – but we look for what connects us and head that way. Not with disdain for the other party, or an unwillingness to debate and discuss the issues, but with an open mind and the willingness to be wrong. You see, we belong to multiple tribes.
For us at Highbrow Hippie and those that support this blog, we hope we can forge ahead without the confinements of labels and name calling. We hope that we can all create and live our lives without the ugly cloud that is judgement. Who cares if we don’t agree on everything? That’s not the point. The point is to find what we do agree on and use that as a starting point. Because we’re pretty sure that by working together we can create something so much better than any of us can create alone. You can balance a checkbook to the penny? Perfect. We’ll use the money you saved to finally take us on that vacation. Because as much as we might like to believe it, we never really get what we want by ourselves, do we?