Monday, August 20, 2012

Me, mine. Us, them.

I'm at Gasworks, standing atop The Mound (I'm sure it has a real name and that's not it). My companion says, "See that building there, the Columbia Tower? It's the tallest building on the West Coast."

"Huh," I say.

"Yeah, he says. "Taller than anything in SF, San Diego, or even LA."

"Huh," I say. And then an unexpected thing happens: I feel a flash of pride. As if this fact in some way reflects upon me personally, as a denizen of Seattle. As if I had anything to do with it.  Which I didn't.

And yet, there it is, the strange little beast, pinging up inside me, poking a little thumb toward its puffed up little chest, wiggling its hips and squeaking: "Yeah, uh huh, we did that! Us! Not them! Fist-bump!"

This, I gather pensively, staring at the tall building, must be what sports fans feel when their teams win: a sort of senseless, tribal delight that has absolutely no connection to anything they have personally accomplished.

We. Us.

Can't argue with how it feels: powerful, compelling, insidious, pervasive -- tribalism. Wikipedia says: "People have postulated that the human brain is hard-wired towards tribalism due to its evolutionary advantages".

Evolutionary advantages. We win.


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