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Letter: Group think can work for society

Gerhold Lemke

I’ve been reading a 2016 library book, “Tribe” by Sebastian Junger, a journalist. It makes the point that we all lose in our modern, individualistic society — in so many ways — when cut off from close social contact and opportunities to contribute to a group. I found one incident, p. 58, that deserves to be known and remembered.

In 2015 in eastern Kenya, a bus was stopped by men wanting to kill all the Christians on it. The passengers, mostly women, were told to separate themselves. The Muslim women refused. “They told the gunmen that they would all die together if necessary, but that the Christians would not be singled out for execution. The Shabaab eventually let everyone go.”

Individuals in tribal societies — as in a “band of brothers” — live for the group and have the support of the group. This is good. It helps me understand why people such as myself would want to keep going to church on a Sunday morning — even if I’m out dealing with so many individuals during most weekdays. And don’t forget to leave yourself time to read.

Gerhold Lemke

Cedar Rapids

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