One of the things that mankind does differently now than we used to, and differently than all the other animals, is to belong to more than one tribe. Myself, I belong to the tribe of computer programmers, and the tribe of organized science fiction fandom, and the rather small tribe of my family. I used to belong to other tribes, tribes like Boy Scouts, and Altar Boys, and Renaissance Faire actors. You might think that I’m misusing the word tribe here, but I’m really not, I’m just being expansive with it, expansive in the way that modern life really demands.
My dictionary says that a tribe is a “social division” that consists of “families or communities linked by social, economic, religious, or blood ties” and that’s what I’m talking about. For me the emphasis is on the “social,” but I think I’ve got a kind of blood tie to all the other gay men out there, so they’re one of my tribes too. To a certain extent this multi-tribalism is made possible by technology. We need the speed of cars and other modern transportation to be able to gather together enough people so as to make a tribe based on interests, rather than geography, really work. We need that mobility to be able to intermix in different tribes rather than just have interest groups within our own local clan, our tribe of physical happenstance. And like they do for so many other things, computers and the internet really expand this capability. We can have enough of a telepresence that we don’t have to have quite as much face time to feel the ties of tribalism. We can multitask our tribalism, switching from one to the next at the speed of light.
Was this all part of God’s plan? Did he mean for us to transcend our location and bond together over the contents of our minds rather than contents of our skin? He tells me no. He tells me that like so many things it was made possible by his giving us free will, but he made no attempt to either encourage it or discourage it. So take courage in that and be your self, and when you get the chance, be your self not just alone but with other like-minded souls.