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Re: Tribe: CALLING HOME FROM MARS
I no longer have the book, so can't provide quotes, but in this chapter what stood out for me was Junger's belief that internal dissension will cause the tribe to splinter and to "lose" to its rivals as surely as direct competition of some type would. He says that currently our solidarity of political purpose is at an all-time low, an observation frequently made by others. He's right, I think, but the label that is often put on our fractured state is tribal behavior, separation into segments that each claim precedence. So I can't think that any return to tribalism is a very promising solution. Perhaps the ideal is as simply stated as "e pluribus unum." It may have been partly mythical that the U.S. once lived up to that motto, but to a degree it did. Of course, nothing--or few things--is either good or bad in itself, and strong unity of purpose may compel a population to roll over those in its way, as happened to the native Americans and African slaves.
Junger, though, is someone who has seen how senseless it is to make such major deals out of differences of outlook, as we do so often today, even on this forum! When existence itself is the issue at hand, how could it possibly matter that the person next to you believes that the earth is 6,000 years old or doesn't believe in God? Seen against a background of life and death, our particular pet -isms appear more clearly as the narcissism of small differences.
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Re: Tribe: CALLING HOME FROM MARS
“Calling Home From Mars” gets its title from an Apache Indian Vietnam War Elite Marine Veteran, Gregory Gomez of Texas, who regarded Vietnam as like Mars, another planet compared to the USA. Junger says ‘Contemporary America is a secular society that obviously can’t just borrow from Indian culture to heal its own psychic wounds. But the spirit of community healing and connection that forms the basis of these ceremonies is one that a modern society might draw on.’
Junger expresses admiration for the Indian values of warrior culture, such as the skin-tearing ritual of the sun dance. While Gomez had reason to hate the US government, he saw going to war as a way to experience combat.
Junger discusses how veterans were given the opportunity to speak in town hall meetings, and what a cathartic and explosive experience that unburdening was. The gulf between soldiers and civilian life creates a toxic level of contempt and social polarization, preventing shared values. Junger argues that we have double standards when it comes to assessing betrayal, condemning a deserting soldier but indifferent to massive fraud in the finance sector.
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