Friday, August 28, 2009

Making a Conversation Clear

Suppose the following scenario. Zack lives in an area where tribalism happens and Zack is identified as a "member" of a tribe by people in his society because of who his parents are or his race or his appearance (but not because he actively joined a tribe).

Now, imagine an international corporation comes in a pays another tribe to attack the tribe Zack is a "member" of and this results in the death of all of Zack's family (his wife Anette and his three kids, Tony, Richard, and Bubba). Further, as a result of this Zack "hates" the tribe that did this.

The question is "Who is wrong in this scenario?". Obviously the international corporation and the tribe that attacked Zack's tribe are wrong, right? Well, who in the attacking tribe should be held responsible for the attack? The people within the tribe that took the payoff did wrong. The people who carried out the attacks did wrong. Anybody in the attacking tribe who knew about the attacks in advance and did nothing about it did wrong (if they were in a position to do something about it). Anybody in the tribe who heard about the attacks and didn't try to bring the wrong doers to justice is wrong (if they are in a position to do something about it). Also, there may be other people in the attacking tribe that did wrong.

However, there are probably "members" of the attacking tribe that did nothing wrong. There is no way very small childen "of the attacking tribe" are responsible for the attack. Maybe the wives of the attackers didn't know anything about the attack in advance and aren't in position to do anything about it after the attack. Future generations of people in the tribe aren't responsible for the attacks either. Etc. The point is, being a member of the attacking tribe isn't enough to be wrong (unless you believe in tribalism which is wrong).

So, in light of the above, if Zack blames the attacking tribe and holds it collectively responsible for the deaths of his family, he's wrong too. He's a triablist. There are ideas in his head that he is responsible for having that are wrong and make him do wrong things.

On the other hand, Zack could be right and completely blameless if he recognizes that his society practices triablism and that tribalism is wrong. If he rejects tribalism and only holds those individuals responsible for the actions they take, he can be right.

This is what I was trying to say today at lunch.

5 comments:

Adam said...

I do miss the lunch-time conversation/arguments

James said...

it's not spelled "triablist".

Greg said...

That's a mistype instead of a misspelling. I know how to spell that word.

Greg said...

@Adam -- The work conversations are very frustrating for me lately. We seem to be talking past each other a lot. Also, there are a bunch of disagreements about how things are, what is important, etc.

I wish we could argue less and talk about different ideas more without trying to convince people of things.

Manganeez said...

Is there an anti-tribalism tribe I can join?

Yes, Greg, I went meta again!