The Great Awakening – Transcending Tribalism

“Now you can see today why the world is in trouble.  What is the social field today?  The social field is the planet, and there isn’t a single system of action that has to do with the planet.  They all have to do with one interest group or another.” – Joseph Campbell

There was a time in human history when tribalism was necessary for survival.  Today, tribalism is what often threatens survival.  How ironic!

I wonder who see this among the world’s leaders today?  For many who hold power, there must be fear in the notion of tribal integration…of connecting more deeply with people from away.  The entire dogma of most tribes is built upon the need to stay separated.  The power construct of the world today is dependent upon the compartmentalization of peoples into distinct groups.  Distrust of the other tribes is what perpetuates the need for your own.

It is hard to break through the barrier of tribalism when there are those who will (knowingly or unknowingly) abuse it’s existence for the advancement of their own personal power.

I wonder who sees this among the people, the average citizens of the worlds respective tribes?

A thousand years from now what will humans think of all the tribal borders and boundaries that artificially segregate the planet today?  How unnecessary, expensive and limiting will it all appear from afar?

Every time I leave the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, or the Black Hills, and drive into Wyoming I stop at the sign that tells me I am leaving one state and entering another.  The border makes me smile and laugh out loud even though I am usually alone there!

“This border is not real,” I say softly, but defiantly, with a friendly smile.  “It is an artificial construct claiming territory between governors and legislatures.”  The wind and the grass and the sun care not about this invisible line.


The myth of tribalism will someday be one of the great awakenings of human social development.  You can see the limitations and consequences of this myth at every turn.  I see it today in the history that created the Pine Ridge Reservation.

Approximately 200,000 years ago, early humans began migrating north out of Africa.  Over time, some travel further north into Europe.  Others moved east into Asia.  By boat and with the assistance of an Ice Age, the descendants of some of those who long ago traveled east moved down into the Americas.  Eventually, the descendants of some of those who migrated west began traveling by boat in search of new lands; in search of new worlds.  In 1492, the descendants of those who went east were reunited with the descendants of those who went west…both groups thinking they were meeting each other for the first time…neither group recognizing the other…neither group realizing that they all belonged to the same tribe…the human tribe.

“I stood upon the highest mountain of the world and I knew more than I saw, I understood more than I knew, because I was seeing in a sacred manner.  And what I saw were the hoops of all the nations interlocking in on great circle.” – Black Elk