SR_thePangloss's photo

Check out the community annotation below. It makes a HUUUGE point. By acknowledging hooliganism and working to focus those energies in a more positive manner, leagues have largely succeeded in rooting out this destructive tribal behavior.

Of course, it’s important to remember that things never stay the same. Effective tribes require leaders who are extremely self-aware and determined at all times to shape the values of their tribe, not through coercion, but through their own passionate behavior. “Lead by example” is a useless bit of wisdom. What other way is there to lead?

This video is processing – it'll appear automatically when it's done.

Slowly but surely, this appears to be moving in the right direction, but we are still suffering from a deficit of leadership in many respects.

A few years ago, Simon Sinek asked a few simply questions:

Why is Apple so innovative? Year after year..they’re more innovative than all their competition. And yet, they’re just a computer company. They’re just like everyone else. They have the same access to the same talent, the same agencies, the same consultants, the same media. Then why is it that they seem to have something different? Why is it that Martin Luther King led the Civil Rights Movement? He wasn’t the only man who suffered in a pre-civil rights America, and he certainly wasn’t the only great orator of the day. Why him? And why is it that the Wright brothers were able to figure out controlled, powered man flight when there were certainly other teams who were better qualified, better funded..?

The Golden Circle

He came up with something called the Golden Circle (below), which states that true leaders inspire others by acting on the “why”, rather than the “how” or “what”. In other words, they are driven by passion:

Every single organization on the planet knows what they do, 100 percent. Some know how they do it…But very, very few people or organizations know why they do what they do. And by “why” I don’t mean “to make a profit.” That’s a result. It’s always a result. By “why,” I mean: What’s your purpose? What’s your cause? What’s your belief? Why does your organization exist?

This video is processing – it'll appear automatically when it's done.

Institutions are simply a tool that humans have developed to concentrate human capital, and focus it to accomplish a clear and concrete goal. Unfortunately, we have not cultivated the institutional mechanisms for change and adaptation. For example, obesity is a world-wide epidemic yet giant corporate entities like McDonald’s (nothing against Mickey D’s..) are pushing for ever increasing market control. How do we see that ending?

The advantage of tribal behavior is that (1) it focuses on the use of human passion, rather than human labor and (2) it allows for incredible organizational agility, i.e. the ability to adapt to external pressures from the environment.

Below, Seth Godin talks about the different paradigms of human accomplishment over the years — from serfdom, to wage slavery, to emotional manipulation, to…tribal behavior?

This video is processing – it'll appear automatically when it's done.

I always like to point to the insight of Nigerian storyteller Chris Abani:

In South Africa, they have a phrase called Ubuntu. Ubuntu comes out of a philosophy that says, the only way for me to be human is for you to reflect my humanity back at me.

The rise of Western institutions provided a framework which allowed for a certain degree of individualism. In the same way this individualism led to incredible achievement and innovation, it has also led to a significant level of corruption and disregard for community. When we reach a certain level of alienation from others, we begin to lose a sense of what it means to be human. Are we just a biological accident — primates who climbed out of the trees to dominate the world — or is there a deeper purpose for us to reclaim?

As Western institutions have continued to marganlize those they were meant to originally serve (stakeholders), individuals have begun rejecting these failing institutions. However, just like Western individualism, tribal behavior can lead to great accomplishment, or tragic ends.

This video is processing – it'll appear automatically when it's done.

Groups communicate their chosen identity through symbolism. In today’s world, this occurs through very specific consumption behavior, i.e. the cult of Apple. In ancient times, this was accomplished through local art and craftsmanship. For example, groups created art specific to their tribe or region. Many tribes also used unique weapons and tools.

Native American Symbols

Boa sword, Congo

This video is processing – it'll appear automatically when it's done.

In Western society, consumption is a ritual process more than any sort of utilitarian behavior. The power of this should not be underestimated. From a 2013 Harvard study on rituals and consumption:

Four experiments tested the novel hypothesis that ritualistic behavior potentiates and enhances the enjoyment of ensuing consumption—an effect found for chocolates, lemonade, and even carrots. Experiment 1 showed that ritual behaviors, compared to a no-ritual condition, made chocolate more flavorful, valuable, and deserving of behavioral savoring. Experiment 2 demonstrated that random gestures do not boost consumption like ritualistic gestures do. It further showed that a delay between a ritual and the opportunity to consume heightens enjoyment, which attests to the idea that ritual behavior stimulates goal-directed action (to consume).

This video is processing – it'll appear automatically when it's done.

In modern times, we don’t always get to do what we want to do. Fair enough. But there’s a case to be made that the further we remove ourselves from our passions, the less successful our social institutions will be.

One way we’ve done this is the pathological obsession with capital accumulation, without any reference to the costs of that accumulation. For example, the current system for CEO compensation shows very little correlation with either performance or market capitalization.

While this is a complex structural issue in corporate governance, Jenson and Meckling gave us a demonstration of what can happen when the various passions of stakeholders aren’t aligned:

In the finance literature, this view can be traced to a pioneering paper by Michael Jensen and William Meckling (1976), which demonstrated the incentives of risk-neutral top managers with less than 100% ownership of their companies to take actions that reduce firm value. To illustrate with a simple example, a manager with a 3% stake in a publicly traded company gets 100% of the benefits from consuming a dollar of perks but incurs only 3% of the costs.

This video is processing – it'll appear automatically when it's done.

Probably too deep to go into all the evolutionary factors which lead to tribal behavior, but here are a few:

  • Our limbic system (emotional center) is much older than our forebrain (rational center). As the primate brain developed, so did the primate social institutions. Nonetheless, tribal behavior is deeply embedded in us.
  • Well integrated and closely connected social groups tend to be far better off than individuals in terms of responding to external pressures. Ironically enough, social living grew out of self-preservation.
  • Over hundreds of thousands of years, natural selection weeded out those individuals who could not function well in groups. This created a sort of fundamental pool of human experience, and resulted in the human propensity and need for storytelling as well as the law of reciprocity

This video is processing – it'll appear automatically when it's done.

If you look at the first websites that started to crop up back in the early 1990’s, you’ll see a pattern:

  • Academics — The internet was created by academic institutions, so it’s not surprising they constituted most of the first web pages. More importantly, academics was one of the few institutions to maintain certain tribal behaviors from the beginning (ritualized peer-review).
  • Media — Naturally, the next wave of websites were media-oriented. IMDB, Underground Music Archive, MTV,, etc.
  • Porn — A ton of porn..clearly one of the most basic human instincts, so, no surprise here.

What’s incredible about all these websites were just how much they were driven by passion, not rational pursuits. Out of all the sites that could have been created, the first internet pioneers organized themselves around passionate investigation (science), storytelling (media), and sex (porn). These also happen to be some of the common denominators of human culture and civilization.

This video is processing – it'll appear automatically when it's done.

This is the most fundamental aspect of tribes. Outside of coercive tactics, humans naturally organize themselves based on their passions.

Modern institutions largely did away with this through market pressures and what not.

For example, the industrial revolution squeezed the small-time merchants out of business. These were folks who genuinely enjoyed carpentry, leather work, etc. but could not compete. As such, these occupational tribes were broken up and forced to travel to the nearest mill or factory in order to find pay and support their family.

This is still the case in a lot of ways, but technology has allowed those natural tribal tendencies to crop up again. RG is the perfect example of this sort of technology, and the subsequent communal space that develops.

This video is processing – it'll appear automatically when it's done.

"Politicians in Washington—especially those most loyal to ..." (Walter Crunkite – Rap vs. Ronald Reagan) | pending

Great example of style, concision, and further reading for those who are interested. Sort of a nit-picky rule, but we (NG) try to stay away from links to Wiki. Instead, see if you can link directly to one of the sources that wiki uses.

"Less money for the programs that kept the least fortunate..." (Walter Crunkite – Rap vs. Ronald Reagan) | pending

This is a bit long, but the information is great. If you feel like it wouldn’t lose anything, see if you can slim it down a bit. If not, just try not to make too many of these in a row.

"Doubtful that Reagan’s cocaine operation was expressly in..." (Walter Crunkite – Rap vs. Ronald Reagan) | pending

IMO, Reagan is the worst type of racist..the cowardly sort who doesn’t even have the testicular fortitude to come out and admit it.

"The Inuit sealer is an actual hunter. The white commercia..." (Captain Paul Watson – Inuit Allow Themselves to Be Manipulated and Exploited for Canadian Government Pro-Sealing Propaganda) | accepted

Not to be rude, but this is so far removed from reality..Not only is there regulation equipment that MUST be used, but hunters are required to administer a blink test IMMEDIATELY after any shot, to ensure the seal is clinically dead before any further preparations (skinning, etc.) The commercial practices are FAR MORE HUMANE. Inuit’s carry out none of these standard practices (though, they show great respect during the hunt).


Licensing policy requires a commercial sealer to work under an experienced sealer for two years to obtain a professional licence. Sealers are also encouraged to take a training course on proper hunting techniques, product preparation and handling. Personal use sealers must have a hunter’s capability certificate or big game licence and attend mandatory training sessions before a licence can be issued.

Sources: xxx

"It’s worse off-shore, except of course there’s none of us..." (Rex Murphy – On with the seal hunt!) | pending

The cod-fishing haul peaked in 1968 at 800,000 tonnes according to Greenpeace. On the other hand a harp seal consumes 1.2 metric tonnes of fish per year. Based on the last seal census, this comes out to about 12 million tonnes of fish per year (via Now, that 12 million tonnes isn’t all cod, obviously, but the seal hunt seems to be a vital part of preserving the ecosystem, given that these numbers are even remotely accurate..

"A new approach to match the capabilities and fill gaps th..." (President Barack Obama – Statement on Section 215 Bulk Metadata Program) | accepted

Try not to make generalizations based on your personal assessment (which I agree with, btw). Unfortunately, the numbers that are out there show only a slight majority who “do not approve of NSA surveillance.” The good news is, there’s been a fairly significant drop in approval since June. Here’s a couple surveys you might want to incorporate here:

Side note: it looks to me like the effect partisanship has on people’s perception of the NSA’s tactics can’t be overstated.

Notice the difference in how each one approaches the subject matter. Elect tells of black history, while Hov is stuck, steady talking about his story. Not knockin either one..but it says a lot either way.

"In other words: If you believe in personal freedom, you s..." (Lauren A. – Playboy Interview) | accepted


  1. One can’t be neutral on wide-scale societal issues like this. Neutrality is tacit support. I believe in freedom of speech, but I would certainly speak out against anyone directing cruel and abusive language towards others. Know what I mean?

  2. No one’s talking about shutting down anything, I’m just pointing out that we can’t go on living in this libertarian dream land where the personal freedoms of 300 mill. individuals don’t come into serious conflict at times. They do..unfortunately, that’s just reality in a society like ours.

  3. Sure, I get that. All I’m saying is that perhaps people shouldn’t jump to extremes and risk being marginalized just to pay for an overpriced degree.

One characteristic of a lot artists is a lack of concrete reflection (i.e. verbalizing their own feelings about their art.)

Whenever they get questions about “why, who, what, where” their inspiration for a specific piece came to them, they tend to give really vague and boring answers. I can understand this, cause for most artists it “just happens” so-to-speak. They have no more of an understanding about it than non-creatives. I think this can have a really negative impact on an artist’s creative production though, especially at times when they’re experiencing a creative block and don’t know how to overcome that block.

My point here is: (1) This annotation is dope as hell. For once, I felt like I actually connected with this piece on a level I wouldn’t have by just looking at it. The description of your process (“Hold My Liquor” on repeat lol) did a lot for my understanding. And (2) I wonder if explaining the source of inspiration, as well as the creative process, sort of helps the artist streamline what they do and ultimately become better at producing art.

"Now, we in medicine, I think, are baffled by this questio..." (Atul Gawande – How Do We Heal Medicine?) | pending


Very true. You have to wonder why that hasn’t been looked at whatsoever..As Dr. Gawande says, the answer from these institutions is almost always “that’s just the way it is”