...it's a spectacle. We line up to see the strange events of dancing dogs, elephants that do tricks and lions that perform strange unnatural acts, where they are dominated, rather the dominant.
And of course, in amongst the thrilling stomach churning rides, and questionable games of chance, there are fortune tellers, strong men, aerial performers, tall men on stilts, women with beards, people who are too fat or too thin, or shorter than average. Often categorized as "Carnies" -- even by themselves, as if it was a special title conferred by The Maker.
Maybe the rest of us feel awed, nervous or unnerved by the different types of people we see working at the circus. Their casualness about such a transitory life, moving from place to place, being "different" from the rest of "us", and -- being happy? When they are so obviously "outsiders"?
So, have you ever asked yourself, "How does The Carnie SEE ME?" Is my life a circus to him or her? Am IIIIII the freak?
And it makes you wonder "What the heck does normal mean anyhow?"
You see, when you get enough of a certain type of people together that act and think in a fairly similar way, you get a tribe. That means that there begins to be a "typical form of behavior, a typical mode and manner, a typical rank structure, a typical way of thinking and being and acting".
The tribe confers benefits. It gives a sense of belonging in a place that can be a cold, empty, chaotic, neutral and even destructive world -- it gives a type of order that works for that group and its members -- and it creates rules and structure (i.e., organization, hierarchy, etc).
I think in this time, there are many different types of tribes -- possibly more than in any other time in history. There are online gamers tribes, corporate tribes, Wall Street tribes, medical tribes, warrior tribes, political tribes, sex (female, male, transgender, same-sex) tribes, religious tribes, charity tribes, entrepreneur tribes, online community tribes, and I could go on probably for pages, like water color painter tribes, acrylic painter tribes, mom tribes, dad tribes, writers, travelers... And, within THOSE main types of tribes, are smaller tribes, right down to mini-tribes.
OTHER ways or tribes may threaten your tribe -- or seem to -- but here's an idea. Enjoy all the benefits of belonging to your tribe -- not only is becoming part of a tribe hard, usually requiring rituals, practices, proofs, etc.... BUT -- it means people are on your side once you're a member and will back you, assist or further your reach if you can't be somewhere, as they stand in for you, speak for you, or just look out for you and your tribe and report on any threats or opportunities.
BUT -- look for ways to enrich your tribe. In the old days, tribes inter-married, strengthening bonds. They exchanged sons and trained the son in their tribe's ways before sending him back, creating a god-son bond between the two tribes. They acknowledged each tribe was different and each had different strengths and different weaknesses.
And look at things that other tribes do that you don't understand, not as wrong or bad, but as different. Why the heck do they do that? What do they get out of it? How do they make it work? When, where or how could this be made to work for YOU and YOUR tribe? Who should you talk to about this? And do you have to "squish it" or "skew" it to make it fit and work for you all?
You could call this strategy -- you could call this good planning or good resource management -- I call it diversification of knowledge and gathering of assets. The more you know, the more you and your tribe knows how to do, and even the more you understand about other tribes, and being able to establish when or if things would be a positive, a detriment, or a true threat, is of great value to your tribe.
It is not so much US-VS-THEM necessarily. It is not what is normal, because if it's normal in someone else's tribe, it won't matter what you think about them. To them, you are the one who won't be normal. It's what you can learn from each other, if you will or get the opportunity. This is a gift each tribe can give to each other tribe.
And maybe, it is good to remember, we are not so different from our ancestors -- the tribes in Arizona deserts or Siberian wastelands or bogs in the UK. We may live in glass and steel "tents", brick "caves" or wooden "huts", but humanity still gathers in small groups of similar interests and needs. We still ally ourselves with those who have common interests or enemies. And will likely continue to do so well into the future.
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