Tribe by Sebastian Junger

This book is about belonging in a society and how our modern society does not meet the fundamental needs of a human being. We are cramped in our apartments, living alone or with your family. We are surrounded by people all the time, yet we feel alone. Compare this to how we evolved, in a big group that shared everything and everyone is a familiar face.

Because of this evolutionary mismatch people are becoming depressed and committing suicide. A number of studies has shown that suicide rates comes down during hardships and war. For instance in world war 2, during The Blitz, the Germans bombed London every day for about consecutive two months. There was reports of suicide rates going down. You would think that they would go up? Imagine waking up every day to a new flight raid on your city. The Germans thought that this would demoralise the British population. Instead it did the opposite. The population became welded together to overcome their common enemy.

A big emphasis in this book is on military veterans. How they are left out in the society and many of them actually would go back to war (!) if they could. The belonging to a group you are feeling when stationed with your comrades is hard or impossible to match in our society.

Thoughts raised by this book

  • How important social bonds are to us humans. (maintain your relationships!)
  • What is important in life?
  • How much does workplaces contribute to the belonging of a person? Something I actually thought a lot about with regards to the hype of the FIRE movement.

Worth a read?

Yes. Not a big investment, you could plow through it in a day and it raises interesting questions.

Over and out. /Emil

Written on June 2, 2019