Monday, July 04, 2016

NEWSHOUR BOOKSHELF - "Tribe" by Sebastian Junger

"Sebastian Junger's ‘Tribe' examines loyalty, belonging and the quest for meaning" PBS NewsHour 6/29/2016


SUMMARY:  The NewsHour continues our series on great summer reads with the latest from Oscar-nominated documentarian and “Perfect Storm” author Sebastian Junger.  It's called "Tribe: On Homecoming And Belonging." It's a modern take on what we can learn from tribal societies when it comes to loyalty, belonging and the quest for meaning.  Jeffrey Brown talks to Junger.

JEFFREY BROWN (NewsHour):  Start with the definition.  What do you mean by tribe?

SEBASTIAN JUNGER, Author, “Tribe”:  The real an ancient meaning of tribe is the community that you live in that you share resources with that you would risk your life to defend.

I mean, that's the real meaning of tribe.  Of course, in modern society, that structure, that tribal structure has been lost.  That loss of tribe also costs people psychologically.

JEFFREY BROWN:  Did this grow specifically out of your work as a war reporter or…

SEBASTIAN JUNGER:  Well, there was this puzzling thing that I noticed.

A lot of the soldiers that I was with — and I was at a remote outpost called Restrepo.


SEBASTIAN JUNGER:  It was a 20-man position, everyone sleeping basically shoulder to shoulder in the dirt at first, and then in these little hooches.

And it was very intimate, very close, very connected, emotionally connected experience.  And after the deployment, which was — the deployment was hellish.  And afterward the deployment, a lot of those guys missed the combat and they didn't want to come home to America.

What is it about modern society that's so repellent even to people that are from there? And my book “Tribe” is an attempt to answer that question.

JEFFREY BROWN:  So, tribe can be any kind of community?  Does it have to be a certain size?  Does it have to be — how organized does it have to be?

SEBASTIAN JUNGER:  Well, humans lose the ability to connect emotionally with people after a certain number, right at 150.

So there is a limit to the number of people we can connect with and that we can feel capable of sacrificing ourselves for if need be.

No comments: