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Book details
  • SubGenre:History & Theory
  • Language:English
  • Pages:322
  • Paperback ISBN:9780990534082

The Tribal Instinct and the Yearning to Belong

by Anthony T. Cluff

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In a departure from his first book dealing with a personal search for meaning, and his second book dealing with the journey into manhood for other boys and men, Anthony T. Cluff offers in this his third book, The Tribal Instinct and the Yearning to Belong, an eye-opening examination of an obscure and unseen force that affects us all. Its beginnings, Cluff says, can be traced back to our primitive ancestors who relied on it to survive. They did so by joining with others to get what they wanted but couldn't get on their own. With keen insight and sometimes biting humor, Cluff argues that we do the same today. We don't always recognize it for what it is. Signs of this obscure and unseen force are all around us, Cluff says. We just need to know where to look. It's in the choices we make in politics, religion, the media, and sports. But it can also be found in less obvious places, such as witch hunts, outbreaks of mass hysteria, the uncertainties of postmodern thinking, our hierarchy of needs, modern consumerism, and the role that power plays in prognostications about our future well-being. It's on display in the behavior of crowds, the unfolding of mass movements, and the strong appeal of collectivism. The outcomes here have not always been to our liking, Cluff says, and he warns us against blindly going along with the crowd to fulfill the urgings of this powerful force. Cluff points to mistakes we've made in the past when we did. He says we now need to recognize and manage the demands of this powerful force if we are to survive as a species.
Why do large numbers of people meet in St. Peter's Square every year to celebrate Mass on Easter Sunday? What accounts for the controversy about the refusal of a high-profile sports figure to stand for the national anthem at each of his team's games? Why did the members of a large religious community commit suicide at the direction of their maniacal leader? How do warriors rationalize going into battle in the face of possibly being severely injured or killed? What is the role of followers and supporters in the ability of some people to engage in dangerous or life-threatening activities? Why do groups of strangers join in celebrations that can last for days when they seemingly have little in common? What accounts for people attending fashion shows, auto races, or conventions about extraterrestrial visitations? Why do members of a major religion meet in the desert sands of Arabia to encircle and pay homage to a sacred stone? What is it that celebrities do to make us believe they have special or mystical powers beyond that of normal humans? And why was Hillary Clinton only partly right when she said it takes a village to raise a child? Anthony T. Cluff provides an eye-opening examination of the common thread running through all of this in his latest book, The Tribal Instinct and the Yearning to Belong. It offers a new look at tribalism and the role it plays in our lives. We make a mistake, Cluff argues when we consider tribalism to be all bad. It's not, and it can operate in many ways to our advantage. Our primitive ancestors found that out the hard way. We need to find out the same thing today if we are to survive as a species. And Cluff cautions us against blindly going along with the crowd to fulfill the demands of this important and powerful instinct.
About the author
Anthony T. Cluff holds a Ph.D. in economics from George Washington University. He retired in 1999 after spending 40 years as a professional economist in Washington, D.C., working in the private and public sectors. At the time of his retirement, he was Executive Director of the prestigious Financial Services Roundtable, an association of senior executives from the nation's major financial institutions. Prior to that he served as Minority Staff Director on the Banking Committee of the U.S. Senate. Cluff is author of In Search of the Great White God: From Big Bang to Coba and Beyond, published by Outskirts Press in 2010. The book has been called a "soul-searching, unexpectedly humorous, and slightly cantankerous look at one man's search for meaning," which in his case had to do with his upbringing as a Mormon. It was named in 2010 as one of four finalists in the general religious category of USA Book News National Best Book Awards. Cluff is also the author of The Boy in Nebraska and the Ice Man of the Alps: The Uncertain Journey into Manhood, published by AuthorHouse in 2016. The book is a collection of stories about 32 boys and men he has known, grown up with, or would one day like to meet. Anthony (Tony) Cluff is the father of five children, the grandfather of 12, and the great grandfather of four. He lives in Lake Frederick, Virginia, with his dogs Carlos and Charlie.