The magical powers of a tribe

When we talk about tribes, we don't mean the large masses, groups that look awfully like sects or a gang of mindless zombies that seem to follow each other unsuspectingly and aimlessly. On the contrary, tribes make the individual stronger and can mean a lot of good. From guiding behavioural changes to generally improving human well-being. So let's dive a little deeper into what we think are the magical powers of the tribe.

written by Tom | January 11, 2019


What makes us so unique?

Of course we are unique. But still.... Genetically, we are 60 percent equal to bananas, 80 percent to cows and 99 percent to chimpanzees. Why should the latter make so much of a difference? Has that ensured that we as humans have conquered the whole earth in only 0.05 percent of the history of life, from the coldest tundra to the hottest deserts? Or that in the last 0.00025% we invented agriculture, writing and the wheel and in the last 0.000005% we started the industrial revolution? Or that it was a human who was the first astronaut to land on the moon? But why us? Why was Neil Armstrong not a banana? Or cow? Or chimpanzee?

The smartest in the world?

Are we humans, the Homo sapiens the smartest in the world? At first glance, it might seem like that. Homo sapiens has a balloon of a brain that consumes energy like a sauna on the North Pole. Our brains only weigh 2 percent of our body weight, but consume 20 percent of the calories we get.

But are we really so brilliant? When a person makes a difficult sum or a beautiful drawing, we usually learn it from someone else. For example, I can count to ten. Very clever, but I doubt if I ever came up with a numerical system myself.

Genetically, we are 60 percent equal to bananas, 80 percent to cows and 99 percent to chimpanzees.Gaga

Human vs. primate

Scientists prefer to use toddlers when they want to compare our intelligence with chimpanzees and orangutans. Toddlers have had less time to plagiarize others. A team of German scientists developed a collection of 38 tests with which the participants were tested on spatial insight, arithmetic, causal relationships and social learning: the ability to learn something from another.

These were the results:

No graph that better sums up the secret of man. On almost every mental skill chimpanzees and orangutans score as well as children of 2.5 years old. But when there is something to learn, toddlers are totally superior. Most kids score 100 percent, most monkeys 0.

Hypersocial learning machines

Children are born to learn, connect and play. Actually, that is an old truth. It is a thought shared by hunters and collectors from all over the world, from the coldest tundra to the hottest deserts. Our ancestors rarely put the individual on a pedestal. They saw man as part of something much bigger, connected to all animals, plants, and Mother Earth. Read also the essay that South African poet Antjie Krog wrote about 'ubuntu', the deep sense of interconnectedness. They understood the human condition better than we do now.

Can it be coincidence that we literally fall ill from loneliness? That a lack of contact is comparable to smoking fifteen cigarettes a day? The fact that loneliness is so unhealthy is evident from research by Professor Julianne Holt-Lunstad, among others? Or that we become healthier and happier from a deeper connection with nature? The BBC recently published an interesting article about the effect of nature on your happiness and health.

People simply yearn for being together and playing together. Our mind needs as much contact as our body needs food. In the end it is that motivation, above all others, that has brought us to the moon.

People simply yearn for being together and playing together. Our mind needs as much contact as our body needs food.Gaga.

The good influence of tribes in recent campaigns

The fact that we can learn from each other has not escaped the attention of the communication specialists either. Campaigns that are based on the good of people and scientific insight are because of that work that we at Gaga greatly appreciate. In fact, it makes us very enthusiastic. Recent examples are the #LondonNeedsYouAlive campaign to tackle a very specific problem in a well defined tribe, and the example from Iceland that societal coexistence and interconnectedness can help reduce alcohol consumption among young people.

The bottom line is that by focussing on engaging a tribe with the right set of tools, a lot is possible. If a brand becomes a platform of exchange between these people in the tribe, the road is wide open for meaningful and effective communication, which is supported by the examples above.


Find your tribe.

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