Steven Pressfield’s War

THE CITIZEN AND THE TRIBESMAN

…The human being isn’t wired to function as an individual. We’re wired tribally, to act as part of a group… We know what the clan is; how to fit into the band and the tribe. What we don’t know is how to be alone. We don’t know how to be free individuals. (Uit: “The War of Art”, van Steven Pressfield)

What exactly is the tribal mind-set?

It derives from that most ancient of social organizations, whose virtues are obedience, fidelity, warrior pride, respect for ancestors, hostility to outsiders and willingness to lay down one’s life for the cause/faith/group.

Consider the contrast between the tribesman and the citizen:

steve-pressfield-3A citizen is an autonomous individual. A citizen is free. A citizen possesses the capacity to evaluate the facts and prospects of his world and to make decisions guided by his own conscience, uncoerced by authority. A congress of citizens acting in free elections determines the political course of a democratic community.
A citizen prizes his freedom; therefore he grants it to others. He is willing to respect the rights of minorities within the community, so that his own rights will be shielded when he finds himself in the minority.

The tribesman doesn’t see it that way. Within the fixed hierarchy of the tribe, disagreement is not dissent (and thus to be tolerated) but treachery, even heresy, which must be ruthlessly expunged. The tribe exists for itself alone. It is perpetually at war with all other tribes, even of its own race and religion.
The tribesman deals in absolutes. One is either “of blood” or not. The enemy spy can infiltrate the tribal network no more than a prison guard can worm his way into the Aryan Brotherhood. The tribe recognizes its own. It expels (or beheads) the alien. The tribe cannot be negotiated with. “Good faith” applies only within the pale, never beyond.
The tribesman does not operate by a body of civil law but by a code of honor. If he receives a wrong, he does not seek redress. He wants revenge.

Perhaps the most telling difference between the citizen and the tribesman lies in their views of the Other

The citizen embraces multiplicity; to him, the melting pot produces richness and cultural diversity.
To the tribesman, the alien is not even given the dignity of being a human being; he is a gentile, an infidel, a demon.
The tribesman grants justice within the tribe. In his internal councils, empathy, humor and compassion may prevail. Outside the tribe? Forget it.

STEVEN PRESSFIELD

“The War of Art emphasizes the resolve needed to recognize and overcome the obstacles of ambition and then effectively shows how to reach the highest level of creative discipline.
Think of it as tough love . . . for yourself.The War of Art

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