Tribalism & Manufacturing Consent
Man is a social animal. We seek others who are like us to coexist with. Be it a tribe, a clan, a church, a club, or an extended family, we seek social interaction, comfort and support from others.
Those who seek to rule us have understood this tribal nature of humans, and use it to manufacture consent of the governed for their rule. Sometimes consent is merely the lack of dissent. If they aren’t directly in opposition, then the group must be consenting to this rule, goes the thinking. Manufactured consent is brought about in many ways, of course, one of which is to keep the populace attention on trivial matters that allow for the expression of the natural tribalism inherent in all of us.
“Bread and circuses” were the main features of the Roman Empire’s means of controlling the populace. Keep them fed (with bread) and keep them entertained (with circuses) and opposition has no breeding ground. It has been understood by those who would rule, that these two things are important to exist, if the Empire is to survive.
Today, we have sports, and Hollywood, as the circuses. Attention is diverted from pressing issues through the circuses of these trivialities. While we root for our “tribe”, our sports team, our need for tribalism is fulfilled; at least to a degree. We are part of a group who think as we do. When watching a movie, we root for the hero, as he/she is one of “us”.
Politicians have understood the tribal nature of mankind and use it to their advantage, constantly dividing us into tribes and exploiting us as they do so. Tribalism is good, as it gives us at least the appearance of safety and comfort. It is the manipulation of tribalism that can cause problems, however. False division along tribal lines can have the opposite effects we desire, isolating us, rather than giving us comfort. The diversion of our attention through the circuses can leave us vulnerable to being exploited through manipulation.
Root for the “home team”, or the “hero”, if you choose, but don’t be diverted by trivialities at the expense of your safety and comfort. Be aware that there are some who seek to manipulate you.