RESPONSE TO THE KILLING — The Tribal Gene & Revenge

In a follow-up to my prior posting regarding the killing of Bin Laden there appears to be an aspect of the response which touches on the notion of the tribal gene.

I have referred to this in prior postings.  It suggest strongly that our species acts in collective ways that might not be present if based on how an individual might act.

The classic story of the death camp official who could easily prod Jewish children into the gas chambers could be a loving and caring parent  of the same age children at home.  Those Jewish children were deemed not to be human.  He was following orders, the orders of the tribal leader–orders he fully embraced!

History is replete with examples of mob psychology, of collective killings, pogroms and genocides when propelled by the perception of being the will of the group.  War is based on the same notion–that soldiers can be trained and "brainwashed" to view the enemy as not human and therefore deserving of death.

To some extent the collective response to Bin Laden's killing reflects that concept.  As a collective, as members of a tribal unit, be it a religion, private club, or national feeling, we are different.

Our beliefs and actions are no longer are own.  In fact we may not even feel responsible for actions taken as part of the "mob".

This is all understandable.  It very likely has genetic antecedents.  Adult chimp males have been observed marching single file in the woods on quests to seek out, kill others from outside their tribe and act as a unit.

We have inherited that propensity. 

It is important to realize this aspect of ourselves.  It might help us fight an enemy combatant, but the same instinct can lead any of us  into acts genocide and ferocious acts of violence. 

 But not you?  Never!  You protest.  You are more enlightened about all of this than the others.

Let us pray you are correct.

Leave a Reply