Beyond Civilization-New Tribal Revoution-Humanity’s Next Great Adventure — Written 07/06/2013

“In the past 50 years, anthropologists have greatly revised the understanding of the tribe. Franz Boas removed the idea of unilineal cultural evolution from the realm of serious anthropological research as too simplistic, allowing tribes to be studied in their own right, rather than stepping stones to civilization or “living fossils”. Anthropologists such as Richard Borshay Lee and Marshall Sahlins began publishing studies that showed tribal life as an easy, safe life, the opposite of the traditional theoretical supposition. In the title to his book, Sahlins referred to these tribal cultures as “the Original Affluent Society,” not for their material wealth, but for their combination of leisure and lack of want.This work is for the progression of humanity and the enlightenment of ourselves, such as that advocated by John Zerzan or Daniel Quinn. These philosophers have led to new tribalists pursuing what Daniel Quinn dubbed the “New Tribal Revolution”. The new tribalists use the term “tribalism” not in its widely thought of derogatory sense, but to refer to what they see as the defining characteristics of tribal life: namely, an open, egalitarian, classless and cooperative community. New tribalists insist that this is, in fact, the natural state of humanity, and proven by two million years of human evolution.

The answer depends on each person’s preferences as well as on the particular tribes that are used as a point of reference – because tribal life itself is not the same for all tribes; the environment where a tribe lives has an especially important influence.”

Daniel Quinn coined the term “new tribalism,” which appears in Providence, My Ishmael, and, finally, in the most detail, in Beyond Civilization. He often discusses the proliferation of this new tribalism in terms of a New Tribal Revolution, analogous to the Industrial Revolution in that it refers to a gradual, sociocultural period of change as opposed to a single, violent, political uprising.New tribalists believe that the tribe fulfills an important, stabilizing role in human life, and that the dissolution of tribalism with the spread of civilization has come to threaten the very survival of the species. New tribalists seek to mimic indigenous peoples by organizing their own “tribes” based on underlying principles gleaned from ethnology and anthropologicalfieldwork.

Quinn argues that our civilization is not working, and if we are to find a way of life that does work, we should draw our basic principles from human societies that are working. Quinn points to indigenous peoples and tribal societies as such examples, and advocates a social revolution—the New Tribal Revolution—to reform society using principles gleaned from the operation of such cultures.

An important expression of this movement is the trend towards modern eco-villages. Ecoregional Democracy and peace movement advocates are also often new tribalists as well, as the groups share common ideals.

In an open letter to the Occupy protesters, Quinn described the Occupy movement as the “New Tribal Revolution”.”


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