Out of Reach Otherwise – As You Were

As You Were – looking for connections between the work of Brené Brown and Daniel Quinn as I revisit them in book clubs. See the introductory post for what this is all about. In this post, I look at:

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Beyond Civilization: Humanity’s Next Great Adventure

Part Six: The New Tribal Revolution

“The important thing to see is that we were not ‘giving up’ something by being tribal. We were getting something by being tribal — something that would have been out of reach otherwise. We weren’t tribal because we were noble and altruistic; we were tribal because we were greedy and selfish.” Compare Brené’s focus on being enough as we are — that must mean not demanding that we be more noble and altruistic, and it becomes intrinsically easy to accept ourselves if we’re in a social structure in which greed and selfishness actually parlay into community and belonging.

“The tribe, in fact, is just a wonderfully efficient social organization that renders making a living easy for all — unlike civilization, which renders it easy for a privileged few and hard for the rest.” Compare Brené’s Guideposts on work and her inclination toward systems thinking — Quinn is pointing us to what would systemically foster the things her Guideposts indicate we should cultivate over the things they indicate we should let go of.

“It’s hard to know how to cope with this familiar bipolarity, which sees people as incapable of being anything but either totally selfish or totally altruistic. Like an on/off switch, they can only flop from one pole to the other. Tribal life functions in between these poles, and a tribe of totally altruistic individuals will fail as surely as a tribe of totally selfish individuals.” Compare Brené’s own focus on getting past either/or thinking to both/and.

“In hierarchical organizations, the boss is a supreme being. In tribal organizations, the boss is just another worker.” Compare Brené on power over vs. power with and on what makes for genuine leadership.

“Tribal people get more out of life.” Compare Brené on Wholehearted people and consider that tribalism may actually foster Wholeheartedness while, in civilization, Wholeheartedness remains rare and an uphill battle.

Part Seven: Beyond Civilization

“I failed to realize for a good long time that the other story was much simpler (much more ‘primitive’) than ours — and that I’d already articulated it. To my mind it’s the most beautiful story ever told.
There is no one right way for people to live.” Compare Brené’s criticisms of rigidity, conformity, etc.

“People will listen when they’re ready to listen and not before. Probably, once upon a time, you weren’t ready to listen. Let people come to it in their own time. Nagging or bullying will only alienate them.” The latter parallels Brené’s acknowledgment that shame is not an effective way to change people.

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