Junger is correct to draw attention to the major faultlines in affluent societies, including the dismantling of a sense of community. These elevated risk factors are present even if the veteran had never experienced the terrors of combat. Violence within these communities was rife, and not only directed against enemy tribes.
Tribal society has been exerting an almost gravitational pull on Westerners for hundreds of years, and the reason lies deep in our evolutionary past as a communal species. It is written by Sebastian Junger , a prize-winning author, war journalist, and maker of two outstanding documentaries on the conflict in Afghanistan. In many circumstances people are willing to sacrifice themselves for total strangers. Near the beginning of Tribe, Junger asks: Please read this book. In specific examples like the Blitz of daily bombing of London by the Luftwaffe, the Bosnia civil war, or Nova Scotian miners of Springhill trapped underground, all sense of class and racial distinctions disappear, and a special form of teamwork emerges that expands upon our tribal nature. In other words, servicemen who were abused as children, came from dysfunctional families, or experienced the death of a loved one are significantly more at risk of developing traumatic disorders. In many countries, desperate poverty leads to devastating civil wars. The evolution of social behavior is a speculative enterprise, and the diagnosis of the fundamental ills of our present society on the basis of poorly founded inferences about the biology of human nature needs either a more humble outlook or a more systematic construction of argument. It explains the irony that-for many veterans as well as civilians-war feels better than peace, adversity can turn out to be a blessing, and disasters are sometimes remembered more fondly than weddings or tropical vacations. Time and again when disasters like earthquakes occur the vast majority of people relinquish all sense of selfishness and pitch in to help. The chief problem is that Junger is nostalgic for a world that never existed — at least not for most people. When we are in pain we have narcotics that dull it out of existence, and when we are depressed we have pills that change the chemistry of our brains. A growing proportion of people are suffering from clinical depression, anxiety and chronic loneliness. Police and wardens were crucial to maintaining order and breaking up fights that erupted on a regular basis. Not surprisingly, then, in his new book, Junger is particularly insightful when he is discussing combat soldiers and the difficulties they experience when returning from war zones. Gwynne, New York Times bestselling author of Empire of the Summer Moon Tribe by Sebastian Junger We have a strong instinct to belong to small groups defined by clear purpose and understanding--"tribes. Abject poverty does not necessarily make for harmonious living. For many these ideas may come across as fresh and accessible. In specific examples like the Blitz of daily bombing of London by Junger has an appealing message. Being loved and giving love are fundamental to human happiness and health. That humans have evolved a high order of altruism associated with our tribal social nature which leads us to be willing to take great risks to save another member of the tribe. It is also an exaggeration to say Native Americans did not abscond to white settlements. On Homecoming and Belonging is a strange book. Native females served as indentured servants. We understand an enormous amount about the universe, from subatomic particles to our own bodies to galaxy clusters, and we use that knowledge to make life even better and easier for ourselves.
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