tales from dumbville.

Of all the reasons to kill someone, the result of a ballgame has got to be one of the dumbest and most pointless ones, right up there with the other guy calling his invisible friend by the wrong name.

Are we just hardwired for tribalism?  I mean, everywhere you look, people readily identify themselves with a tribe, and go to war with the Others.  Most of the time, that tribal warfare is stylized (like football) or virtual (like Mac-vs.-PC flamefests online), but every once in a while, someone gets so caught up in their tribal identity that blowing away someone with a  shotgun over their allegiance to a college team seems like a necessary course of action.

I swear, sometimes I can’t decide whether our species is too smart or too dumb for its own good.  I mean, we have particle colliders, and we send robots to Mars, but there’s a significant subset of our species that will revert to Neolithic skull-bashing on the most flimsy of pretexts.

15 thoughts on “tales from dumbville.

  1. wolfwalker says:

    Are we just hardwired for tribalism?

    Short answer: Yes.

    Longer answer: Thirty million years of evolution has hard-coded tribalism into the human psyche. That’s why the liberal dream of one world society, free of war and with all people acting together, is a pure fantasy. We are compelled to divide the world into Us and Them, and we’ll seize on anything we can to use as a distinguishing feature — skin color, ancestry, religion, political affiliation, geographic origin, height, weight, hair color, intelligence, anything at all.

  2. LabRat says:

    Yes. From social primates we came, social primates we remain.

  3. Paul Simer says:

    Yeah, you’re just pissed because the reality of the world is more inclined to favor us autochucker tactical ninjas rather than you wheelie-gun neanderthals.

  4. Tam says:

    Yeah, you’re just pissed because the reality of the world is more inclined to favor us autochucker tactical ninjas rather than you wheelie-gun neanderthals.

    1911 autochuckers or Glock autochuckers? You splitter!

  5. theflatwhite says:

    9mm vs. 45 ?

    (argument ends with a demonstration)

  6. ilcylic says:

    Simer, Tam, TFW, 4TW! *laughing*

  7. ilcylic says:

    Amusingly, I got me one of each. In 10mm. I’m totally the peacemaker, here. 😉

  8. Jay G. says:

    What’s the best caliber for bear? .308 or .30-06?

  9. wolfwalker says:

    Grizzly or black? Grizzly can handle a heavier recoil.

    (What, you don’t support the right to arm bears?)

  10. ChrisB says:

    Yes, we are very wired for tribalism, and it’s actually a good thing. You have a genetic reason for wanting your family to survive and prosper as opposed to someone else’s family. You will lend aid and resources to those who have a higher likelihood of reciprocating when you are in need, not surprisingly these people will be in a similar geographic area and might even be related to you.

    Extend this a bit and our tribes are starting to look like nations, so who are you going to root for when your nation is competing for limited resources with another nation?

    Many sports are ‘nicified’ war games, take football for instance, it’s obviously violent and players are shifted around on the field in various schemes to gain territory, sound familiar? Sex and violence are the yin/yang of existence, without being sufficiently good at them you eventually find yourself extinct, so any society worth it’s salt has sports which can take our primal tribalistic violent needs and channel them into a generally non-destructive venue.

    So, the occasional sports fan killing another is the price we pay for living in a mostly non-violent society where our caveman urges can’t readily be satisfied. That being the case, it’s completely possible that one of the parties involved decided to be a completely rude prick to the fan of the rival team, and wound up getting what he deserved.

  11. BlueNight says:

    Even as a Creationist, I have to agree. Four thousand years of selective breeding through war are enough to ensure the survivors are hardwired to survive.

    I have Asperger’s and no such pack survival instincts. There’s a reason I’m a statistical minority in the gene pool.

  12. Legman688 says:

    “Are we just hardwired for tribalism?”

    YES. And even the most civilized amongst us have not learned to overcome that instinct – we’ve only learned to extend that tribal identity to a larger social group (usually a nation-state).

  13. robnrun says:

    Yes. The tendency for tribalism is the same tendency that leads to the ‘us vs. them’ mindset. ‘Them’ is also ‘the other’ which is a logical component of any definition. Without a non-human ‘other’ to define us (furthermore, a non-human with equal capacity for rational thought/technological prowess/etc. in order to be a potential threat) humans will continue to define themselves against an ‘other’ selected from the human population. This ‘other’ may be defined by race, creed, language, nationality, sexuality, age, height, etc. It doesn’t have to be a negative, it may simply be an acknowledgement of difference, a checkmark in a certain column for personal identification if you will. But when combined with our tendency for tribalism and/or neolithic skull bashing of any perceived threat, it can get very nasty very fast.
    The only solution to human tribalism and a human ‘other’ would be the appearance of aliens. Which would be great fun for the sociologists amongst us, but probably not much fun for anyone else, including the aliens.

  14. Kristopher says:

    9mm vs. .45?

    Bah … rifling is just a passing fad.

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