Disasters create united societies, the dilemma is, how can we be united without calamity?

It’s a very short but quick read book by Sebastian Junger, TRIBE. The cover flap introduction was, for me, a little deceiving because it made reference to how difficult it is for service men/women to reintergrate back into society after service. What the book is really about is the human experience and how we as a ‘modern’ society have become ‘sick’ (my word) because we no longer need nor appreciate each other the way humans do when part of a small ‘tribe’ or culture (or in service together and their lives depend on relying on each other – even if they don’t like each other). I don’t have the book right in front of me so I won’t be writing any quotes here but Mr. Junger’s book is so appropriate for our current times and makes so much (common) sense that I think EVERYONE should read it.

One example of how people pull together and work together regardless of socio-economic standing or race or religion, etc., is when there is a human-created or natural disaster. Mr. Junger also noted the well documented facts that mental illnesses including depression, suicide,  & schizophrenia not only don’t get worse during disaster but the conditions and incidences actually improve during this time. People rise to the occasion, per se, when they are NEEDED, when they feel that they are contributing to their society as a whole. Once the acute phase of a disaster is over, for example when relief comes for those suffering from a flood or earthquake, then ‘modern’ society returns and everyone goes back to living independent of each other with their previous discriminations and biases.

Everyone goes back to being sick.


Mr. Junger’s premise, small societies of people such as when humans lived in tribal cultures (btw: there still exists in far reaches, away from modern man small tribes of people) who work less and are happier than those of us living within our ‘first world’ because every one person matters to the whole, everyone contributes what they can, everyone shares what they have, everyone takes care of each other. There is no ‘boss’, or hoarder, or out-cast (if someone does something egregious such as stealing or trying to establish a pecking order with themselves at the top, they are punished and depending on the ‘crime’ it might be death or banishment). We have a lot to appreciate and be thankful for in our modern world, unfortunately we are no longer appreciative of and thankful for each other.

The dilemma: if we are more inclusive and without prejudices, if we share and help each other during calamity, how do we recreate that kind of behavior without disaster? Can we?

Daily Prompt: dilemma


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