Stephen Kahn

Clan Cult (#2 in a series on cults)

In Hard to tell, Humor on February 20, 2012 at 5:24 pm

Among the earliest human social units were clans. Human beings are very social creatures. Even in the earliest days of human existence, it probably was not common to find just Mom and Dad and maybe Dick and Jane and Spot wandering around on the African Savannah by themselves. Probably there were at least a few aunts and uncles in the group as well. When one clan met another, they had to make quick decisions: Eat them? Kill them? Marry them and create in-laws? All of the above?

At some point, as humans began to reason, they began to rationalize and generalize. My clan is better than your clan. If times were difficult – food and water in short supply – vicious predators in abundant supply – they began to imagine better places over the horizon. They also began to imagine worse places over the horizon. (#1 – Belief in some things you cannot see or prove exists.)

“Let’s move over the hill!” Cried some. “Let’s flee over the hill!” Cried others. Eventually a decision was made, and the group – some happy and some not – went along with the clan, figuring there was safety in numbers. (#2 – Feeling of companionship, support …)

As the clan advanced or fled, they said to one another, “Hang on! We’re almost there. I can smell water! I can smell food. The grass is getting greener with every mile we advance.” Or, “Keep moving! I think we’re getting away! I think they’ve lost our scent! Don’t stop now; we’re almost to a cave where we can hide!”  (#3 Sense of purpose…)

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