Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Mormonism as a tribe, Part 10: The family tribe

Tribalism is a good thing for the individual in the context of the family.

The basic building block of society is the individual within the family tribe.
Family tribalism is the way to give meaning to the individual's life. When the individual takes a wife or many wives and creates a small family unit, in essence he creates a tribe. The next building block of society then is the family, the tribal family. After that comes the next extension, institutions. After that, states and then nations.

Individual, tribal family, institutions, states, nations.

But in our society, institutions have become more powerful than the tribal family, and they usurp the traditional roles of tribalism to extend its own ends. The individual, without the help of his own tribe, then must look towards the institution for safety and meaning. But we have missed a step. We have taken away the tribal family and put in its place the institution.

Individual, institution, states, nations.

Why would this be bad? Ultimately, when that individual is with his own tribe, there is a mental safety given to that individual: he knows his place, he knows his people, and he knows his duty to the tribe. It's an animal instinct that has been ingrained into us for tens of thousands of years. Nature has found a way for the individual to be safe within the context of this reality, to fully extend as an individual, and to help himself by helping his own people. But that is gone, and in it's place is the institution.

The institution uses the tribal mentality for its own ends

But this is a horrible thing for the individual. Sooner or later, the institution will require everything from the individual in order to appease its own ends, which then becomes the annihilation of the individual for the institution. Ultimately, because there is no check on the institution's power by the power of the tribe, the institution will swallow the individual for its own gain. The family tribe is the check on the institution. The individual can give everything to and for his own tribe because in a very real way, he is the tribe, and the tribe is him. He has come from the tribe in the presence of his elders and ancestors, and he will live as part of the tribe during his present life, and someday he will procreate and strengthen the tribe by and through his progeny. But, the institution is not the tribe, and so it is not the individual.

The institution begins to use these individuals without the proper mental reciprocation. And without the family tribe, the individual becomes lost in the duties of the institution, which ultimately is no way tied to his psyche or progeny. This creates a mental disconnect with the individuals understanding of reality. There is something missing; the tribal family no longer exists in his mind, and he has become disillusioned with the institution because he has seen and felt that it will take everything from him without giving him the necessary mental safety and meaning.

The tribal mentality should only be used within the context of the family tribe

Institutions have robbed the family tribe of its traditions, rites, and rituals for its own ends. Religious institutions use this family tribalism and places itself as the new chief of the individual. And that, ultimately, will lead to the individual's death. But I can see how these rituals, rites, alters, and sacrifices make sense when the chief is a tribal father, whose devotion is warranted because his likeness is the same as the individual. In a sense, the individual is worshipping, sacrificing, and fighting for himself.


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