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"We Didn't Start the Fire!" or what is the psychology behind 'Us vs. Them'?

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posted on Jul, 13 2009 @ 12:00 PM

We didn't start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world's been turning
We didn't start the fire
No we didn't light it
But we tried to fight it
We didn't start the fire
But when we are gone
Will it still burn on, and on, and on, and on...

Billy Joel: We didn't start the fire

Republicans vs. Democrats, Blacks vs. Whites, Gays vs. Straights, Protestants vs. Catholics, Allies vs. the Axis, Creationists vs. Evolutionists, Atheists vs. the Religious, East vs. West, North vs. South... and the list goes on and on to the begining of recorded history and beyond in the myths of yore. All with the same theme; Us vs. Them. And as a species, we can pick some of the stupidest things to divide ourselves by! Some try to push beyond the psychological need to do this and have lofty thoughts like "United we stand. Divided we fall.", but in reality, we are never really united. We may come to a consensus on some things, but there are always the divisions. Now like minded people do tend to seek each other out, after all, you have to have an 'Us' to begin with. Cultures form clusters in urban areas, minorities tend to avoid rural life, you can see like minded clustering where ever you look.

So why is this? What psychological need do we have to make us do this? And what is it's cause? Is it an old left over instinct from our caveman days? To instill the desire and drive to protect the tribe? Can we and will we ever evolve out of it?

Your thought are always appreciated!

posted on Jul, 13 2009 @ 12:56 PM
reply to post by JaxonRoberts

There is a survival value in conformist behaviour.

It takes less energy to imitate than to innovate, and in a world comprising of "other" groups , social cohesiveness improves competition for resources.

Our success as a species has made us rather "docile" and we are certainly more receptive to social influences than humans of other eras.

Its just the scale of everything has expanded exponentially since those simpler times. With so much information and so many choices, the incidents of disagreement increase in tandem.

But ultimately, as a social animal ...... we like to belong ..

[edit on 13-7-2009 by UmbraSumus]

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