We use the word “tribe” to focus our intention as we found the word “community” used for way too many groups of people, making it too big to be useful. Let’s name and identify some of these human “community” groupings as a context for “tribe.”
“Family of Choice” is a mini-community of between 5 & 15 people who have chosen each other with long-term commitment. Family is about being in relationship, how we are together, deep bonding, heart and soul. Family is consensual, everyone guides and structures the process. As peers, or equals they make decisions together for the greater good of the whole.
“Tribe” shows up as a mid-sized community of 15 & 150 people who have bonded, share values and become committed to each other. Tribe is about who we are and what we do together. Tribe has on-going bonding which adds to the sense of security and feeling of belonging. Tribe often has leader(s) who guide and structure gatherings and tasks. Because they know and trust each other, hierarchy is a simple structural tool used by the leader, chief, headman-woman chosen or enrolled by the tribe.
“Village” is a community of recognition with 150 to 15,000 people. People know each other, may or may not know each others names. They live close by in a neighborhood or small town and share schools, churches and other loosely connected civic organizations. They feel some kinship, identification and will help each other in crisis. When we’re together it feels good.
“City” is a community of proximity 15,00 to 150,000 people. They mostly do not know each other, but live within a several miles of each other in a broad metropolitan area. They may feel shared identity with a sports team or geographical uniqueness.
“State, nation and planet” exist as larger “communities” with which we sometimes feel identified, as in “I’m and Oregonian, American or Earth Citizen.
OUR BOOK: We Need Each Other is about both “family of choice” and “tribe” as noted above.