Tribalism: The Sky People, The Grounders, The Occupational Therapy Practitioners.....
It has been a while since I have blogged. I am not completely sure why. I have started a post several times and lacked the motivation or inspiration to continue. It certainly is not due to a lack of material. All one has to do is read the “news,” or scan Facebook and there are dozens of topics that are worthy of comment.
I’ll admit that intellectually I have felt a little “blah.” I have grown frustrated and weary of the click bait consciousness that seems far too pervasive today. That along with the growing tribalism that seems to have invaded our politics, our social worlds and even our professional dialogues in occupational therapy has resulted in a bit of writer’s block or at least avoidance.
One of my favorite quotes that I attribute to my mentor, Gary Kielhofner on the struggle of writing is “You aren’t writing unless you are writing. Even bad writing is better than no writing.”
So today I am just tossing something up on the site (even if it is bad writing) to let you know that I am still here. This is not my best work by far, but I am sure that in no time I will be back to frequently sharing my brilliant insights into the profession of occupational therapy and the world in general…….
I have been thinking a lot about tribalism lately.
Lalia Lalami (2018), writing in the New York Times Magazine, explained the evolution of the concept of tribalism. “In its first sense, tribalism refers to the organization of people along lines of common ancestry or joint identity for the purpose of exercising political power — as the indigenous people of many parts of the world, including the Americas, have long done. But over time, as new forms of governance appeared — city-states, kingdoms and especially empires, which controlled vast colonies with different races, cultures and languages — tribalism came to be seen as crude and antiquated, a political structure that could never hope to address the challenges of large states. And now, in the modern era, the word is used almost exclusively in its second, derogatory sense, to suggest an irrational loyalty to your people.”
David Ropiek (no date) wrote on BigThink, “Tribalism is pervasive, and it controls a lot of our behavior, readily overriding reason.” Just as bad, or worst, I think that tribalism can cause us to skip over any effort at rational thought. How many times do we see a photo or Meme shared without a moment’s hesitation to consider, “Am I sharing the truth?” I don’t mean to be judgmental, I have been guilty of this in the past, and even though I am much more careful, I still fail sometimes in this and other ways.
I have been watching a Netflix series called the 100. It is a post-apocalyptic story of humans who return to earth a century after it was destroyed by a nuclear apocalypse. It is all about tribalism. The “Sky People” have to face the “Grounders” and are soon spearing each other, shooting each other with arrows and blowing each other up. It is a lengthy parable for what is happening right here on earth today (Wilken, 2017).
Yesterday I blocked a woman on Facebook. She is an occupational therapy colleague who continually voices extreme conservative views. Yesterday I just could not take reading her words anymore and blocked her. It was a momentary lapse….today I unblocked her. If I can give her tribe a second chance, maybe there is hope for the Sky People and the Grounders.
Lalami, L. (2018). Does American “Tribalism” End in a Compromise or a Fight? Online at: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/26/magazine/does-american-tribalism-end-in-a-compromise-or-a-fight.html
Ropiek, D. (No Date). Online at: https://bigthink.com/risk-reason-and-reality/how-tribalism-overrules-reason-and-makes-risky-times-more-dangerous
Wilken, S. (2017). We’re all grounders now. Humanity, tribalism and the pursuit of humanity on CW’s ‘The 100’ Online at https://www.hypable.com/the-100-season-5-unity-endgame/
9/25/2018 06:59:38 am
Hey Brent I am an OT student on my level 2 FW. I was able to listen to you speak this past year at the AOTA conference on early mobilization in the ICU. I also listened to you interject at the assembly meeting. I became a fan of you pretty quickly. Your blogs are insightful. Also, I agree, bad writing is still good writing. Thanks for being a good role model for future OTs.
Brent H Braveman
9/25/2018 08:44:47 am
Thank you Joe for the nice comment! Much appreciated!
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