Find Your Tribe

After reading Ishmael, the book I mentioned in another blog post, I’ve been reading another book by the author, Daniel Quinn. In this book, titled Beyond Civilization, he discusses how human beings can change society and live in a way that works better for not only the environment, but for us as well. There are so many insightful and profound things within just the first few pages. I absolutely love this author and cannot wait to read all he’s published.

In Beyond Civilization, Quinn explains how for the majority of human history, we lived in tribes. Once we broke away from that and built social hierarchies, that’s when he had our “fall from grace” so to speak. Not only have our societal systems, governments, and particularly capitalism led to the destruction of our planet, they have also created a culture of violence, apathy, drug abuse, and mental illness.

He uses circuses as a metaphor, likening them to modern day tribes. He explains that unlike big corporations like Amazon, a small circus creates an atmosphere of personal interest in the success of the group as a whole. At Amazon, the people in the warehouses most likely feel no personal attachment to the company as a whole. Nor does Jeff Bezos give a single fuck about any of his employees. Quinn explains that the members of the circus, while technically employees, work not for the money, but earn the money so that they can continue to do what they love and keep their group together.

As I was reading this explanation, I realized that I had been lucky enough to stumble into my own tribe! The job I currently have feels so much different than any I’ve had in the past. There are a lot of little things about it that contribute, but I couldn’t really put my finger on why it was so different until now.

At my small non-profit I can literally count all the employees on my fingers. While we do have an executive director, it doesn’t feel like a hierarchy. Everyone understands and respects the value and importance of each position in the organization. Thinking of this group of people I work with as my tribe makes so much sense. It feels more like a tribe than just a job. I couldn’t explain it exactly before. Explain why suddenly I don’t mind working late or going above and beyond what’s required of me. Why I desperately want to do a good job, not so I’m not fired, but so I can be an asset to my team, my friends, my tribe.

At all my old jobs, my goal was to do as little as possible without being fired. I was absolutely indignant if I had to work late or miss a break. It was painfully apparent that if I wasn’t being paid, I would not be there. At my job now, I look forward to being there. I no longer dread Sunday evenings. I am happy when I wake up to go to work. I truly feel like I am a part of something, rather than just another cog in a huge machine. I genuinely never knew it was possible to feel this way about work.

We’re conditioned to accept that for the majority of people, work is an unpleasant requirement of staying alive. It isn’t fair, it isn’t fun, but it is a necessary evil. I felt this way my whole life. And I’m sure I still would working anywhere else. What makes this job different is that it is such a small organization. We all know each other. We all care about each other. We all see the value and worth of what we do together. We are a tribe. We work to support one another and our organization, not for a paycheck.

Quinn has helped me understand that this is the way humans used to live. Things were smaller, more intimate, more meaningful. He believes we can change society so that we may all benefit from this type of system again. It is something I had never dared to dream. And while I still think humanity is too far gone at this point, I hope that he’s right. It feels so good to hope. And to experience a small piece of that life I hope everyone can have someday. I sincerely hope that you can each find a tribe of your own out there.

A Frightening Future

It seems blatantly obvious to me at this point that humanity and possibly all life on earth as we know it is coming swiftly to a close. I fully expect to see the end in my lifetime. There are just so many different ways that we are absolutely fucked.

It is so bizarre to me that I seem to be the only one anticipating the worst. Well, besides scientists. Even they probably believe that if people can just make some changes we can still get better. But when I look at the science and the projections of where we will be in just a few more decades if we continue at the rate we are now, it seems impossible that even a complete 180 by the entire world tomorrow wouldn’t be enough to change things fast enough.

I learned once in my college psychology classes that humans have a natural tendency to overestimate the likelihood of positive outcomes and underestimate the negative. This has possibly helped us move forward evolutionarily. However, it seems to be a hindrance in this situation. Everyone has seen the climate crisis coming for a long time now. Yet we rested on our laurels for far too long, assuming one day somehow it would magically be fixed. Well it hasn’t been fixed. And now we’re out of time.

I first began to feel this way after watching Cowspiracy and learning just how significant animal agriculture is when it comes to the decimation of our planet. I felt things could be changed if only the human race would transition to a vegan lifestyle. That would be a lengthy process though. It’s just moving too slowly.

Yet even other vegans underestimate the severe urgency and certain demise of this world. To be honest, I really hope that I’m wrong. As you can imagine, it’s very distressing to think this way. I have immense anxiety whenever I think about what the future holds for me. I’m terrified society will inevitably collapse and my loved ones and I will all suffer greatly. However, I have no one to talk to about these feelings and fears.

Everyone just tries to convince me it’ll be fine and I shouldn’t worry. I wish I could have a discussion about what I should do with someone who believes the same. Should I prepare? Should I just live my life as best I can and try to be happy in the meantime?

I’d love to talk to a therapist about this and hear their thoughts, but not if they are only going to think I’m a crazy conspiracy theorist who is overreacting. I’m truly at a loss about what to do. For now I just try not to think about it at all. It’s just too terrifying and overwhelming.

Does anyone else think this way? How do you cope with it if so? I’d love to find some people I am able to talk seriously about this dark future with.