As individuals we often feel alone and without purpose, this can be an extremely powerful force we have to deal with, so we are compelled to find some group to belong to, a place where we are accepted, but the cost of that membership usually has a price; we must conform with the group, it usually has some kind of leader who defines these parameters but they are generally a condition.
I’d say that it is a fear of isolation and a desire for belonging that drives us to seek such groups out and usually they have some kind of rival group or groups that are perceived threats or competition to be out done.
Nationality is one example; Patriotism is a very influential cultural trait, that your nation is the best in pretty much every way, and if they aren’t then it is either not worth being the best in or it was in some way an unfair move by another nation that made you fall behind. But really, nations are just lines that were drawn so that people within those borders are the responsibility or property of the state, and those outside cannot expect the same kinds of treatment.
Nations are also a great entity that people can assign debt to so that the business world can make large profits, but that is another story, albeit relevant to why nations exist in the first place.
So then you have some nations that have a high standard of living and nations with a low standard of living; people will naturally want to move from where there is less to where there is more, but the borders are clearly drawn, these people with less are not the responsibility of those with more, in fact those with more will not be able to stay people with more if they start giving everything to those with less.
So the borders are sustained/reinforced by yet another thing that we fear or desire. Are you starting to see how fear and desire are such an influential factor in how the world works? How it can be used to create categorical distinctions, borders between people? And when I say “borders” I am talking about more than nations; we do it with religion, race, sex, sexuality, politics, class, intellect.
Some things are benign, like you football team, you don’t go out and kill people because the Bears lost the Pennant (I really don’t know much about NFL :P) but when you can stir strong enough fears or desires about these other distinctions, people can start to do crazy things.
Islam is a good example; people think Muslims are dangerous, and some are, but generally they are just regular people who have dreams of a decent life for their kids, not excessive lives, just decent, safe, good education and food, a home, a family. But coming from countries that have Dictators taking all the resources and selling them to foreign powers and companies, making fat stacks but leaving all the people in poverty, these citizens can tend to feel a bit betrayed, and that is an opportunity for extremists to step in and promise things, like belonging and purpose, and then justice, you start to see this group thing, like Patriotism, start to kick in and other regular people all of a sudden are threats.
I can go on about how Islamic extremists basically pave the way for the Western Military Industrial Complex to move into these regions and ultimately exploit natural resources, and that would be fine IF the citizens gain a decent standard of living in return for the riches plundered from their lands, but then maybe it is just more of the same old shit; a few people getting rich off the back of human suffering.
But on the bright side :) we each have the power to resist the fears and desires that drive us toward these categorical distinctions that divide humanity up. I can tell you there are some good groups out there you can be part of; your family and friends, your community, humanity, Earthlings, or a new group that isn’t, it is called the Individual Being, we are all unique people who deserve self-determination, a culture of one, and we can see the beauty in others who are all each a culture of one without feeling threatened, the only time conflict really arises is when these other distinctions are indoctrinated into people, playing on those natural fears and desires, rather than providing a mechanism to keep these fears and desires in perspective.
@vovinawol, Generally, that’s the point. But some groups have the potential to be more democratic, due to a smaller size, and you can have a spit-balling session, throwing around ideas to address situations, leading is more about organisation that deciding the fate of others.