Families Matter

Why Societal Origin and Family Structures
Are Important

The Wife and Husband


We believe that the family process is the mechanism that enforces pack principles. The pack’s (historically the extended family) job has always been to funnel tribe compatible citizens into the "society". A German pack cannot develop citizens compatible with Somalian society. And visa-versa. To the extent that this is true, it follows that the family framework is a crucial and indeed powerful component in understanding the various elements (economy, economic institutions and laws, schools, police, and social or work relationships) of any social system.

PREMISE II, section 1

The determination of where an adult male or female winds up on the spectrum that may be called “I/F“ (individuated/fused) has, at least in part, historically been determined geographically. The northern tribes of Europe have been the societies that emphasized the tribal loyalty but individualistic side of man's nature.

The eastern and southern localities on the globe have been the societies that have emphasized man's fusionist nature. His nature is obviously a balance between those two extremes.

What do we mean by the I-F (individualised/fused) component of man's nature? We can look at or approximate this dimension through various lenses.

We can describe fusionistic vs individualistic psychology, fusionist vs individualist economies, I/F governance, I/F interpersonal behavior and I/F child rearing.

Themes of an individual vs a tribal relation to God distinguishes the early Five Books of Moses from subsequent sections of The Prophets in the Babylonian and Persian Empire periods.

The economic anthropologist Alan Macfarlane has described how the hunter gatherer pack eventually became...

The subsistence farming family and

The small village pack in the larger village herd.

In both eco-historical stages, group identity dominated the makeup of the subject's "self". Effectively, at first there was no self in current western terms. Within this tradition, some societies continue to recognize and celebrate unyielding fusion with the family> clan> tribe> locality, religion, or ethnic group. These are the contemporary stand-ins for our primordial human pack-tribe.

Encyclopedia.com describes "TRIBALISM" as:

“The concept of tribalism, like that of the tribe, is difficult to define precisely, as it is closely interwoven with the context in which it is used. Tribalism may be defined as the maintenance by a tribal society of its organization, ways, and autonomy in the face of change. But tribalism may be defined differently when a tribe’s claim of identity has less to do with its primitivism or indigeneity than with its ethnic discreteness and cultural distinctiveness for gaining material or political advantages. In fact, tribalism does not exist in any objective sense—hence the problem in defining the concept.

"Early ethnographic writings offer examples of "we-feeling" among the members of a particular tribe that set it apart from neighboring tribes. Ethnographers called this tribalism and linked it to the notion of ethnocentrism, but particularly associated with tribal people. … tribalism is the manifestation of a collective group identity based on common natural impulses such as fear, desire, necessity, or ethnic distinctiveness.

"...tribalism has to be practiced; it is more than a philosophy, it is a way of life."

"… The intertribal warfare and ethnic divide in Africa is tribalism’s worst manifestation....

Wikipedia cites dramatic examples of tribal violence. What about more mundane examples? Professional Soccer fans for example. Perhaps Wiki might cite the ever-changing fashion industry tribal loyalties; e.g. long skirts or short skirts or pants worn below crack height are seen by this writer as anxiety soothers connected to identity and belonging.

“Another example of negative tribalism is the disintegration of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s into smaller competing states. The genocide of nearly one half million Tutsis by the Hutu extremists in 1994 in Rwanda and the ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s are painful commentaries on negative tribalism."

"Given both its positive and negative manifestations, tribalism is closely related to ethnic solidarity and ethno-centrism. But it is one step ahead of racism, as the conflicts of the early twenty-first century in Somalia, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Turkey, and Indonesia are between ethnic groups or tribes rather than between the races.”

Mother with Children

Please note that this and other source material do not discuss the following when defining or exampling tribalism: Europe, USA, governance, family systems, psychotherapy, macroeconomics, modern political systems. More on this later.

At the other extreme from fused tribalism, pack-centered identity is transitioned and overwhelmed by personal autonomy in societies that devalue rigid in-group loyalty in favor of independently internalized, personalized, self-selected goals and behavior. This form of tribalism manifests itself in the social science quilt of family structure, parenting, political and economic institutions and history. Economists such as Macfarlane often describe this process in England.

Individualistic tribalism is considered as an enabling forerunner of industrialization, displacing the severely limiting, group-identity characteristic of feudal, agrarian, peasant, preindustrial economies.

We know of no agrarian, preindustrial economy that favors individuation for the mass of its members.