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I'm not sure about you, but when I was a child I became friends with people because they were nice, funny or interesting and could bond with someone quickly, holding hands in the playground, giggling uncontrollably for no real reason, begging for sleepovers so we could whisper in the dark.
I didn't become friends with someone because they were well connected and could hob knob with me adequately so that I could reach the next level in my social climb toward power.
But in high school, social dynamics shift, and our innocence begins to fade and clicks form, social circles become defined, identities take on angular, hard shapes and we begin to shut people out if we feel they "don't belong." Adolescence is cruel but our cultural values and can reinforce and solidify this cruelty in a pattern of thinking for life which sets people up for failure, shuts out and shuts down many talented and wonderful people, leaving them socially isolated, self-loathing, or just plain depressed.
A return to tribal values would benefit us. While we are an industrialized nation ever seeking our monetary compensation, there is still a part of us that longs for community, shared values, bonding, ritual and the freedom to express our true natures with our fellow humans.
In tribal living, ancient customs are carried over, revered, respected, embellished and recreated. The knowledge that community is a thriving, living entity and that in order for the tribe to survive everyone must cooperate and work together is ever present in the minds of the tribal members. Living not just for the moment or the day, but the tomorrows of their grandchildren, native peoples in all parts of the world participate in a very real and profound exploration of the meaning of their lives and the poetry that it truly can be.
By cutting ourselves off from nature in industrialized countries we are also cutting ourselves off from each other. Money to buy the latest electronic gadget becomes more important than kindness toward your elders or, if you are an adult, reaching down and mentoring a young person.
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