We live in a world where we all aspire to be #1! The best in our category: our line of work, best looking, most successful, the most wonderful person that ever lived. Popular and sought after! That’s what matters!
I’m here to tell you that no, that is not a worthy goal. None of it is, not at all. We are here to support and provide for our tribe, meaning our family, neighborhood, friends and church. We, personally, are just a cog, a part of what makes us what and who we are. Small potatoes…
In traditional societies, that is hunter gatherer, paleolithic or early neolithic agricultural tribes and villages, there are only a few things that really matter. That we are an asset to our communities is the most important, by far. Think of humans as being like a pack animal, since we really are that- a tribal animal! We are not ‘solo animals’, in fact very few animals are!
Even sharks hunt in packs, or ‘schools’. The individual is not that important; cooperation in hunting is key. Cats are an exception, as are bears especially. They are loners, as are skunks and moles. Humans are very, very different, and evolution has made us so for good reason.
A solitary human is basically worthless. Not a hero, by any means, if he is motivated by self aggrandizement and selfish goals of any sort, all for him or herself: that individual is banished. In the ancient world, this means simply death. No human animal is able to survive by him or herself; and, if they did manage to do so for awhile- it meant nothing, it was meaningless.
Because we are the pack. No more, and no less; without our tribe, or pack, we are inconsequential, not really relevant at all! If our actions and motivations are not approved of by the tribe, we are nothing. We are here to reproduce, to have a family, and benefit our extended family and tribe. Individually, we are recognized- but only insofar as we benefit the tribe about us!
Amongst traditional societies, an individual universally identifies their happiest moment as similar to: “When I killed a large animal, and fed the whole tribe!” Or “I found a spot loaded with tubers and nutritious greens that helped our tribe survive a hard winter.”
No one cares about how many followers you have on Facebook, or how much money you made last year and kept all to yourself. No one in your tribe. That is absolutely meaningless, and actually bad if you kept it all to yourself: that is the same as if you killed a caribou, hid it, and then kept it all to yourself, deep in a hole in the ground, while your tribespeople starved. You think they wouldn’t notice your fat belly, while their children cried for want of food?
You would be banished, and rightfully so. You are not an asset to the tribe, no matter how great of a hunter or gatherer you are- you are a curse. You are self-centered, and nothing can be worse in a creature of the pack, or the tribe. I would go so far as to call you evil.
This also works in reverse: let’s say you are a lazy tribal member, someone who “does not pull their weight.” You hang back when the fighting starts with a rival tribe, and only charges when the battle is already won. Or you continually do not find and kill game, but are foremost in front when the communal feast begins about the cook fire.
Maybe you have black fur in the wolf pack, and you accuse the lighter wolves of having “light privilege” in fur color, and demand special privileges based on your black fur…
In traditional, evolutionary