Battling Tribalism and Populism

New York Times Op-Ed Columnist, David Brooks, gave a talk recently entitled “Trump and Afterwards: The Next American Culture”. He describes how America has moved from we’re all in this together to I’m free to be myself to return to tribe.

This broader cultural trend isn’t specific to America. With relatively peaceful times and the onward march of technological advancement, globalization has increased trade, immigration, and communication at a pace that has surprised and scared us. Billions are getting their first computer and coming online with low-cost mobile phones. All kind of borders are disappearing as the Internet connects the world so we can, for example, read tweets about an earthquake before the seismic wave reaches us. Bitcoin has the potential to be the Internet of Money, decentralizing finance and starting to “bank the unbanked” billions. Of course, we also get hackers, scammers, trolls, wealth disparity and reduced job security.

Brooks goes on to explain:

When society fragments and the people feel a crisis of meaning, they revert to their primal sense of meaning, which is their tribe.

We must fight the siren calls for tribalism and populism from those who seek to prey on our insecurities. Human civilization is improving in many areas, according to Steven Pinker in his latest book, Enlightenment Now. The world is trending towards open, connected, and trusted. To get us there in one piece, we must connect with others even more, not less, and perhaps with Mixed Reality — where you can switch tribes with an avatar change — we could connect in novel ways.

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