All That Binds Us – 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:

(Commissions earned on Amazon links.)

Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone

Six – Hold Hands. With Strangers.

“But the more we’re willing to seek out moments of collective joy and show up for experiences of collective pain — for real, in person, not online — the more difficult it becomes to deny our human connection, even with people we may disagree with.” Quinn talks about the value of tribal structures which inherently foster people being together through the good and the bad, while at the same time those structures avoid dehumanizing the members of other tribes and find ways to live with and even at times create alliances and mating matches with those other tribes, all the while the tribes maintain their own separate cultures in which they “disagree” about any number of things.

“Durkheim explained that collective effervescence is an experience of connection, communal emotion, and a ‘sensation of sacredness’ that happens when we are a part of something bigger than us.” Quinn talks about humans evolving with an inherent sense of the sacred in belonging to the community of life and being aware of that belonging and the sacredness of all the community’s members.

“When all that binds us is what we believe rather than who we are, changing our mind or challenging the collective ideology is risky.” Quinn’s work is very much about how Taker culture (as a whole and consequently countless of it subsets) is about certain problematic beliefs binding people together in ways that resist challenge.

“… Pinker writes, ‘In a short evolutionary time, we have changed from group-living primates skilled at reading each other’s every gesture and intention to a solitary species, each one of us preoccupied with our own screens.'” Quinn makes clear that there has been no change to the species — that the change has been one of cultural evolution, not biological evolution. We are still the same people we were, which is exactly why these changes cause us so much pain. Pinker is also generalizing about only particular aspects of today’s people when countless other people even today are not habitually solitary with their own screens. She points to something important but makes the point poorly.

“Pinker writes, ‘In fact, neglecting to keep in close contact with people who are important to you is at least as dangerous to your health as a pack-a-day cigarette habit, hypertension, or obesity.'” Affirms Quinn’s focus on the importance of relationships in tight-knit small groups, contrasting with some of the other things Brené says about the importance of feeling connected to all humans everywhere — the latter sentiment is more philosophical and in principle, the former sentiment more about actual day-to-day life in practice.

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