What is a Tribe?

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What is a Tribe? 

There’s something intimate about the concept of a tribe, and I’ve been working hard on defining it.  Then I found my struggle has been to define what personal empowerment means within a tribe.  How does this blatantly selfish act of physical improvement make the planet a better place?  In other words, how do we save the world through deadlifts and tire flips?

Of course this means defining ‘tribe’ beyond our camp at Burning Man or learning how to hunt a lion with spears.

According to Wikipedia, the source of all information that kinda sorta might be true, “the term is often loosely used to refer to any non-Western or indigenous society. Many anthropologists use the term to refer to societies organized largely on the basis of kinship, especially corporate descent groups.

“In common modern understanding the word tribe means a social division within a traditional society consisting of a group of interlinked families or communities sharing a common culture and dialect.”

Unfortunately, a high school clique meets the criteria presented in this modern definition, as would separatist groups, cults and political parties (am I being redundant?), while the spear-hunting pagan archetype fits the more traditional view.


My romanticized version of the modern Tribe is an idealized community or society that recognizes and perpetuates 3 major tenets: communication, equality and sustainability.

Sadly these three goals are almost non-existent under our current leadership.  Communication, despite the overwhelming technology at out fingertips, seems to be dominated by the folks with the poorest forum and dialog abilities dominating what we read and hear.  In other words, the dumbest are the loudest. Stupid now has volume and means.  Dialectic has turned into text messaging and internet name calling.  We seem to all talk more than ever, thanks to marvelous innovations in ubiquity, yet any sort of quality filter seems to have de-evolved from our personal software.

This rant seems ironic after just proposing a tenet of equality, but, let’s face it, people aren’t equal.  This is actually proven by racism and sexism, not through actual differences in the races or genders, but because such insipid beliefs exist. It takes an idiot to believe race or gender should, by right, create a hierarchy, proving that, simply, perpetuators of this myth are morons.  In a just and intellectually equal society, such tendencies to hate a fellow person for such shallow reasons would be much harder to embrace, since any rational human being with two brain cells to rub together could logically see that neither gender nor race, in themselves, have anything to do with the quality of a human being.  But in our current condition, where, even awash in supposed ‘communication,’ it is still too easy to live in a bubble of dumb, being only influenced by like-minded chowder heads (often starting with family). It may take some serious education (REAL communication), maybe in the form of strict unconditional, judgment-free love, to eradicate deep-seated hatred based in ignorance.

So thus begins my thoughts on the modern Tribe.  Input welcome…


Our gym kitty tribe.

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  • […] Ceclilia Tom waxes philosophic about freedom, human rights and the Olympic Torch and dedicates her workout (consisting of a torch press swing) to the struggles of the Tibetan people. As a believer in the Ritual of a workout, this takes my concept of the Daily Mantra during a training session a bit further. Her example is also a shining example of how I’m starting to understand (and preach) the concept of personal empowerment as a stepping stone towards the strengthening of the Tribe, which past posts of mine have started defining as simply a more personal word for society or culture. […]

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