I have no idea where the tribal gene lies within the human genome. I cannot say if it is one gene or some combination of genes. I only know for sure that it exists.
It is responsible for our kind’s most horrific acts: genocides, holocausts, beheadings, training child homicide bombers, wars.
The ability of human beings to de-humanize another human being in the name of religion, country, ideology and to brutally destroy them–man, woman and child–reflects this dark side to human nature.
Notice how easily we are trapped by its lure. We seem to innately see ourselves in small tribal units for which we willingly sacrifice our own lives for its existence. This is manifested by the hero who does just that. Does this contradict our nature desire for survival? Actually no. There is a sense within us all–some more developed than others–that self-sacrifice for the sake of our “kin” is justified.
Its so interesting to observe the tendency to become exclusive rather than inclusive. Within Christianity, for example, there are numerous sects and denominations. Each has felt justified in separating itself off from the greater whole. The contemporary Shia, Sunni internal struggle is tragic. ISYS decimation of other Muslims can only be understood as a manifestation of this apparently self-destructive instinct.
If we seek the biological sources for this gene, we should look no further than our closest genetic relative–the chimpanzee. I saw a chilling documentary on chimp behavior. It showed an overhead video of chimps in the wild jungles, marching single file in order to surprise and destroy another tribe . When they reached the other tribe, they literally ripped them apart. No one was spared, including the elderly, females and babies.
People question how the Nazi’s carried out their horrific policies, yet tucked their own babies in bed at night and rested without remorse. They simply dehumanized their “enemy”. Any atrocity could be justified in such a manner.
It is us–we are tribal beasts. World events do not seem to offer much hope. But perhaps by becoming more aware of this dark side to our nature we can fight the tendency to be carried along by it. We have nothing to lose. It cannot get much worse than it is right now.