Tribal membership meant survival.
We are drawn to our group identities in part from a place of belonging, and in part from a very real evolutionary need for survival. Human beings are not built to survive without group support. Human babies take many, many years before they can care for themselves. From the time of earliest human history, living as part of a tribe was beneficial — there was safety in numbers and a division of labor so that food could be procured by some, while others were caring for the young. Due to minimal geographic mobility, most tribes were built with people who were similar and related. This learned survival through tribal living, while not necessarily genetically programmed, was built on enough generations to be a strong part of our cultural ancestry as human beings.
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