Summary Of Sebastian Junger's Tribe: On Homecoming And Belonging

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“There are many costs to modern society…but the most dangerous loss may be the community,” wrote Sebastian Junger in his book Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging. The genius of Junger reveals that even with all of its benefits, modern society will crumble from lack of a community experience. “The beauty and the tragedy of the modern world is that it eliminates many situations that require people to demonstrate a commitment to the collective good,” he writes.

But the most disturbing part of this book is not that it shows that we lack community, but that we are so far gone from any real community that we need pain and suffering to suffice. Junger points to instances where people have been far happier under prolonged situations of extreme hardship, like in warzones and during natural disasters. Often after things had turned to normal, people wanted those hard times back. People become like a tribe during those situations; they share food, sleep near each other, and depend upon each other for preservation of their lives. He points to the way physiological disorders and suicide rates have gone down in a community when a situation of physical duress occurred. “I miss being that close to people…We were the happiest,” said a Bosnian civil war survivor, quoted in the book.
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Junger, one himself, writes that when they come home they come from what is essentially a brotherhood into a society in which only immediate families have communal relations to each other. Junger claims individualism robs people of a sense of belonging. In modern society people work for their own food and sleep in separate houses; however, this is not how humans have been geared to live. For most of human history people shared basic necessities with their people groups or tribes. People worked together to gather food, and slept in a
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