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Self Defense/Social glue, tribalism, balkanization


QUESTION: *This is not a self-defense question about what moves to perform in a combat situation. It is a complex question about human nature that may have an impact on self-defense. Sorry if that bugs you but I think questions about human nature are part of your area of expertise. :P*

According to you, what is the 'social glue' that binds humans together? Is it race? Culture? Religion? Language? Money? Common history? A mix of all these?

And what do we do when there is no 'social glue' to bind us together? What prevent people of different 'tribes' living in the same area from killing each other? Like it happened in the Balkans when the Yugoslavia of Josip Broz Tito collapsed and all the 'tribes' (Albanians, Bosnians, Croats, Dalmatians, Montenegrins, Serbs, Slovenians, etc.) living there fought each other in ethnic conflicts/territorial wars during the 1990s?

ANSWER: Wow you get to read a few excerpts from my new book "In The Name of Self-Defense" as background

Having said that, there's a difference between drives and instincts. Both are powerful internal motivations. But instincts don't have to be taught. (Birds don't need to be taught to fly south for winter; wasps don't need to be taught how to build a nest.)

Drives are more complicated. More flexible, but just as powerful. Cats have the drive to hunt, but they must learn how to be good hunters. The same goes for the way human drives manifest. Because you have to learn the process, drives are strongly influenced by culture, training, and experience.

Humans have a drive to connect with each other in numbers, but those numbers are not quite so big

Remember how I said humans are social primates? That we're designed to function in groups?  Well, the key point of that idea is small groups. Although we're capable of banding together in larger groups (say national, racial, religious and political lines) these artificial constructs are not as comfortable to us as being in smaller tribal groups. So we unconsciously try to reduce the size of our 'tribe.'

Anthropologist Robin Dunbar came up with the idea that humans can only maintain a small number of stable relationships. Dunbar's Number ranges between 100 and 250. The number works with tribal and small village situations. With smaller numbers, the idea is self-evident.

But, what about living among millions in a metroplex? It still applies! If you stop and think — of family, co-workers and friends you regularly interact with— those numbers aren't that far off.  You reduce those millions of others to 'background color and noise.' On one level you know they're people. But on another level, if you tried to interact with them all as people, you'd be overwhelmed.

Here is where I'm going to squirt something into Dunbar's Number. Those we interact with on a stable ongoing basis are our 'tribe' (to varying degrees). These are the people for whom we display the most empathy, sharing, help and effort. All the good things of being human we overwhelmingly direct towards our own tribe.

Outside our tribe? Not so much.

and now for something else

Welcome to the monkey brain. I also call the monkey our socio-emotional brain; it keeps a long list of social behaviors. A list of “this is what you do when this happens” and “that is what you don't do.” (The latter can be more important). Usually these do and don't do lists follow socially determined rules.

These behaviors are de rigueur and are so formalized that they become scripts. If you do something for someone, they say, “Thank you.” In return you respond, “You're welcome.” You perform this behavior without hesitation—or to be more accurate without thought.

You don't have to figure it out. It's rote. Here's the stimuli—boom—you simply follow the known script. Interaction complete. If the script is followed, everyone is satisfied—and each can go about his business.

Scripts serve as ways to socially interact with with each other and to achieve our needs. How we do it with those inside our tribe are much more complicated and involved scripts than how we do it with strangers.  And guess what? There's also scripts for dealing with other tribes -- especially if they'll blow your fucking head off if you attack them or one of their members.

Cultures can be viewed as a collection of scripts, ways of doing things, self-identifiers, etc., etc.

You asked what do we do if the 'social glue' falls apart? What if nobody follows the rules anymore?

Thing is cultures change, evolve, stagnate and fall apart all the time. The rules change all the time, so do the scripts.   It's not that this stuff ever stops, it's just that certain versions of it stop. When one set falls, others arise.

So in answer to your question is when one system stops, there's a serious case of suck before another one develops

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you for answering my bugging question. No need to write 'You're welcome'. :P I hoped I followed the right script. ;)

What I am about to write is not a criticism of your answer, but a further elaboration upon it:

'Cultures can be viewed as a collection of scripts, ways of doing things, self-identifiers, etc., etc.'

'Thing is cultures change, evolve, stagnate and fall apart all the time. The rules change all the time, so do the scripts.   It's not that this stuff ever stops, it's just that certain versions of it stop. When one set falls, others arise.'

('s_civilization_model) → For German philosopher Oswald Spengler (1880-1936), author of the 'Decline of the West' and 'the Hour of Decision', 'cultures' are not so much 'ways of functioning with other people and operating in society' but the products of the 'soul', the 'collective unconscious', the 'worldview' of a given 'tribe'. For him, human history is not linear and progressive, but cyclical and repetitive: human barbarians/savages decide to band together in order to satisfy their primary needs (food, lodging, water, etc.). Once they're satisfied, they can explore the content of their 'collective unconscious' through cultural achievements (artworks, philosophy, science, etc.). However, this content is limited and once a given 'tribe' has explored all the cultural possibilities of their 'collective unconscious', this tribe enter a period of decline and decadence before being overran and exterminated by other tribes of barbarians/savages who will then undergo the same process of satisfying their basic needs and exploring the content of their 'souls'... According to Spengler, the 'colored races' (I'm 'colored' btw) will overrun the White European world the same way the German barbarians (his ancestors) have overran the decadent Roman Empire...

For Polish historian Feliks Koneczny (1862-1949), a 'civilization' is 'how people function with others and operate in society'. 'Civilizations' are very different from one another and are destined to clash with each other. 'Civilization clash' encompasses more issues than the standard clashes of 'capitalism vs communism', 'left vs right', etc.

If you want an elaborate definition of what he meant by 'civilizations', I advise these two links:

'Civilizations at war in Europe', 2007, Maciej Giertych → (You will be bored and puzzled by the European issues, history lessons of Poland and the Catholic moralism of the author, but this short pdf is clear to understand and easy to read.)

'On the Plurality of civilizations', 1935, Feliks Koneczny → (This English translation is full of orthographic errors and is barely intelligible but it does provide interesting insights of how people thought and functioned in the early 20th century.)

'So in answer to your question is when one system stops, there's a serious case of suck before another one develops'

Now, my new question: What should I do if the scenario that happened in the Balkans during the 1990s (a serious case of suck) repeats itself again where I live in Occident? Forsake all my friends and acquaintances of different tribes (pretty much all of them), buy all your books about combat and learn to kill people in 1001 ways? :P Or learn how different people think, function and operate, view the world, etc. and adapt myself in consequence? Or a mix of both?

When the fecal matter hits the fan, a lot of people, who can, get the hell out. Which is often problematic because it means refugee camps, immigration refusal (like happened with the Jews pre-WWII) and problems socializing into new cultures (as happened with a whole lot of Serbs, Bosnians etc., in Europe.)

Migration and cultural fusion has always been somewhat of an issue. Taking generations and a whole lot of hard work by everyone. Fusion and integration becomes less likely the more entrenched the identities become.

For example, even though it was Yugoslavia, the different ethnic groups clung to their ethnic/religious identities and when Yugoslavia was no longer sustainable all the "I'm (fill in the blank), I'm (fill in the blank). You killed my great, great grandfather. I hate you. Let's kill each other." -- well it exploded.

This brings us to what I call 'The Narrative(s)." These are the modern stories, myths, legends that people believe and use to guide their lives. (Watch/Read Joseph Campbell's "The Power of Myth") In most ways myths, stories and tales are positive and useful. The help us define who we are, what we believe and tell us what is expected of us. Like culture, these change and what one generation 'believes' is -- and here is where it gets tricky -- totally different than what another generation believes, but both call themselves the same title and believe theirs is the TRUE narrative. (An example is the permutations, changes and manifestations of Christianity over the centuries).

Except now and then the Narrative takes a toxic turn. 'Someone hijacks the narrative' and spins into it hate and ignorance (passed off as knowledge)  This twisted narrative becomes the TRUTH(tm) for a group ... regardless how historically/factually/conceptually inaccurate, paranoid or out to lunch it is. Often these twists have very specific goals in mind or work as a justification for bad/selfish behavior.

The propaganda Goebbels did for Hitler against the Jews is a prime example. See there was a strong anti-immigrant element in the original Nazi Party platform. But originally it wasn't 'racism' as it is thought of today (a shining example of a fucked up narrative) nearly as much as it was Germany had lost manufacturing and industrial capabilities in the Treaty of Versailles. The country was utterly economically fucked when the Depression hit. The original Nazi platform was socialist. The few remaining industries in Germany (who had been hiring even cheaper immigrant labor) were MORE of a target for the Nazi agenda than any ethnic group. (Although they didn't end up completely taking over industry as they had planned, under Nazi regime industries and manufacturing were controlled by the party). When the Nazis got into power they suffered 'a little reality break' about how necessary the industrialists were and why they had to come to terms with them.

Oh shit, we can't blame the industrialists anymore. But we got into power by preaching hate and blame to people who were really suffering some bad times. They want someone's ass. Worse, we promised to fix this shit and it's way past our ability. We're in deep shit.  We've got to do something or the asses they'll be clamoring for will be ours. Hey I got an idea! Let's twist the Nazi party narrative  to target/blame the Jews. What was a smaller aspect of a bigger platform, became REALLY big target focus.  There were those evil Jews who were the ones really responsible for the economic woes they'd suffered.

And we all know how that one turned out...

You said you're black. I'm going to suggest you double check the narrative you're being told about 'racism.' There are people who are deliberately trying to twist the narrative. To blame all the ills visited down on 'their' people on another race. They're doing it for their own twisted and fucked up ends. Now the news flash, people doing this shit come in all colors.

See most people just go about their lives. They're too busy with their own daily struggles and hassles to really give a fuck about other people's problems or grand causes. It's not that they're heartless or cruel, the fact is they care about 'other people' about as much as other people care about them ... which is basically they don't give a shit. Different groups find a balance and things just go along.

It's when folks start listening to people who are preaching hate and blame that crap gets problematic, because someone is twisting the Narrative for their benefit. Look for how those who are promoting that shit are profiting... either out right making money, power or excusing their own fuck up shit.  

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Marc MacYoung


Street self-defense, crime avoidance and personal safety


I grew up in the streets of Los Angeles in 'situational poverty.' I have dealt with criminals and violent people all my life -- both personally and professionally. I have written 15 books and 6 videos on surviving street violence. I was originally published under the name Marc Animal MacYoung. (Animal was my street name). I've taught police and military both internationally and within the US. I've lectured at universities, academies and done countless TV, radio, newspaper and magazine interviews. I'm a professional speaker on crime avoidance and personal safety. And I am an expert witness recognized by the US court system. My bio is at My abridged CV (Curriculum Vitae) is at

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