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The triumph of Individualism and the defeat of Tribalism

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The triumph of Individualism and the defeat of Tribalism

  • Sebastien Grynko
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The triumph of Individualism and the defeat of Tribalism


     For most westerners, it’s hard to even imagine a time when life was tribal. Yet small collective groups, where everybody had a role and everybody knew each other were the norm for most of our history. The identity and survival of the collective was what bonded people together.

 

Nowadays you’ll have a hard time finding those kinds of tribes in the West. We barely know our neighbours. We speculate about their lifestyles and might awkwardly start a short polite conversation when stuck together in the elevator but that’s about it.

 

There was a time where the village, the group, the collective was an extension of your family. Nowadays there is no extension of that family. Nowadays even the blood relatives within a family are also broken in many individual parts.


 


Human beings have pretty much lived in tribes and small collective groups till the discovery of agriculture. Hunter gatherers would move from place to place to find the best conditions to live and hunt depending on the climate. Agriculture have made the tribes more sedentary and from that, the birth of some of the greatest civilisations of our past.

Those civilisations, dynasties are not all bad. They have brought us amazing art, knowledge, culture and technology but they always end up corrupt from the inside. The greed and affluence make men weak and complacent, what was once a great civilisation ends collapsing into smaller parts, once more.

“A civilisation is born stoic and dies epicurean”

Will Durant

Christianity for most of the the Middle age has kept a certain sense of group and identity for a lot of people. It was just not a small tribe anymore. It was a huge group. And even though people might have lived in “big medieval cities” and there was a huge gap between the peasants and the nobility.

We could argue that there was still a certain tradition of collective, and striving for the identity of the group and the “nation”. We could say that there was still some nobility in nobility. Royalty was always at the risk of a revolution or an overthrow, manipulated from the inside, the outside or both.

 

However the slow end of the Middle age came about with two major events. The Reformation and the Renaissance. Both events have made the I so much more powerful and hereafter the WE started getting weaker and weaker.

 

The reformation and especially Calvinism has enhanced the emergence of capitalism. In his book “The protestant ethic and the spirit of capitalism. Max Weber shows that the successful and the rich tend to be protestant. For the Calvinist you are predestined to be one of the damned or of one the chosen few. However it is not something you know.

 

For them human beings live in a constant anxiety. Work needs to be a buffer against this constant state of angst. The protestant also used work has an ascetic practice for the greater glory of God. Idleness, laziness, hedonism and carnal pleasures are condemned (puritanism).

This is not a judgment made on protestants and their values. This is just an observation. Protestants lived their spirituality and relationship with God through work not through material accumulation. Christianity did not have the same concept of salvation and damnation. Work was not as important insofar as wealth was condemned. It only makes sense that the protestant were much more materially and professionally successful than their Christian contemporaries.

Basic capitalism is the search for profit through labor. It was what made protestant so successful and therefore separated from the mass. A hierarchy was born. Before there was the nobility, the knights, the clergy and the rest (peasants and tradesman). Those were categories you stayed in for the duration of your life. The reformation started changing that and the Renaissance nailed the I ethos in the coffin.

_Before the Renaissance : “man was conscious (aware) of himself only as a member of a race, people, party, family, or corporation.

Jacob Burckhardt
19th century Swiss historian

 

The Renaissance created the foundation of our modern world. During this period, the concept of the Universal Man and Individualist was born. Man who seeks posterity and legacy through his own accomplishments, through art, through scientific discoveries, through innovation, through the seeking of truth.. During those bygone times, society was progressively secularised. God took a back seat and the Individual took the lead.

Where has God gone?" he cried. "I shall tell you. We have killed him - you and I

_Nietzsche

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About the Author

Sebastien Grynko

As a meditation teacher, a fitness & and muay thai fanatic/enthusiast with a taste for entrepreneurship. He decided to create a business which can combine all his passions and inspire people all over the world by helping people physically, mentally and spiritually to find their purpose, well-being and health to thrive and contribute to this world.

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