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New Tribal Revolution

Page history last edited by PBworks 14 years, 4 months ago

The New Tribal Revolution (often abbreviated "NTR") is a movement first identified by Daniel Quinn. He first mentioned it in his 1997 book My Ishmael. His stated intention for the NTR was for its adherents to change people's minds about tribalism and gradually "walk away" from civilization through incremental steps, each new generation building upon the knowledge base of the old. Quinn modeled it after the Industrial Revolution, which Quinn describes as a series of inventions, each one building upon each other.


The central tenet of the New Tribal Revolution is, "There is no one right way for people to live." This idea is the basis of the NTR, meant to contradict what Quinn perceives to be the basic tenet of our civilization, which is that there is only one right way for people to live--that is, in our civilization.




Not all people agree on what constitutes the New Tribal Revolution, or how best to undertake it. Some believe that the best way to "walk away" from civilization is to form actual hunter-gatherer tribes in what wilderness the earth has left. There is a widespread idea among new tribalists that such people are "dropping out" or "abandoning" society - and, therefore, the revolution. Others feel that one must simply adopt a new fundamental vision of humans and our place in the world, and let it take us in a more desirable direction (as Daniel Quinn stated, "beyond civilization is not some geographical space, but rather a cultural space"). Still others believe that civilization is going to collapse within our lifetimes, and that the best new tribalists can do is to learn survival skills, form a tribe, and be ready to escape to the wild when the time comes. These people tend to believe that any progress made by the New Tribal Revolution will be too late and won't do much good unless people are taught how to survive in the real world.


One of the most radical ideas about what constitutes the New Tribal Revolution comes from Jason Godesky. His theory is that Quinn did not invent the revolution, nor did it start with him. He merely gave a name to a wide group of previously isolated social movements. Godesky argues that the Cynics, Jesus, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Karl Marx, the hippies, Organic Flash advocates, open-source programmers, and bloggers each constitute a small part of the revolution, which has been going on in some form or another since the beginning of civilization. This opinion is not shared by most Quinn readers.


The Seven-Point Plan


Copied from My Ishmael, page 218 in the paperback edition.


  1. The revolution won't take place all at once. It's not going to be any sort of coup d'├ętat like the French or Russian revolutions.
  2. It will be achieved incrementally, by people working off each other's ideas. This is the great driving innovation of the Industrial Revolution.
  3. It will be led by no one. Like the Industrial Revolution, it will need no shepherd, no organizer, no spearhead, no pacesetter, no mastermind at the top; it will be too much for anyone to lead.
  4. It will not be the initiative of any political, governmental, or religious body - again, like the Industrial Revolution. Some will doubtless want to claim to be its supporters and protectors; there are always leaders ready to step forward once others have shown the way.
  5. It has no targeted end point. Why should it have an end point?
  6. It will proceed according to no plan. How on earth could there be a plan?
  7. It will reward those who further the revolution with the coin of the revolution. In the Industrial Revolution, those who contributed much in the way of product wealth received much in the way of product wealth; in the New Tribal Revolution, those who contribute much in the way of support will receive much in the way of support.

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