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Come on, Can’t those restricted clubs find a better term than Tribe?

Note: A re-edit of a 2011 article “What is this notion of modern “Tribe”? Is nomadic life-style back in favor?”

It appears that old terms for social organization are considered exotic enough to be used in order to effectively disseminate new concepts; as if languages are too poor to create new words for an evolving civilization, or maybe it is a sarcastic metaphor to mean that our social organization and social behaviors did not improve after hundred of centuries.

One of these most commonly adopted words is “tribe” to describe a collection of people with same shared passions and interests, intellectually or professionally.

We know that there are syndicates, associations, organizations (profit and for non-profit), collectivity, cooperative, community, gang, cartel, commission, political parties, “circle of friends”, sects, cult, castes, clans, classes of people (privileged, poor, elite…), club, strata, close-knit group, regiment, brigade, division, army, squadron, brotherhood, sisterhood…

But why selecting “tribe” among all these social terminologies for gathering in organized units?

Is nomadic life-style back in favor?

Sort of back to nature and retaliations and vendetta customs?

Why chose a term that carries heavy bad connotation of violence and prehistoric traditions?  Such as raiding another tribe, massacring all male members and saving only the virgin girls so that to secure no retribution in kind will happen in forms of vendetta, decades later, or even centuries later!

Obviously, before ransaking all their chattels and domesticated animals for the survival of the famished and unfit mentally.

For example, what is common among Meg Ryan, Debbie Allen, Brian Ray, Hellen Pilcher, Don Lipski, Matt Groening, Ewa Laurance, and Black Ice?

Ken Robinson in his “Element” would like us to believe that they all found their own tribes:  Each one of them, finally, felt part in their new career domain “tribal members in the field” and hit it well with the “field” colleagues.

They discovered that the tribe members validated their passions, passions they share in the tribe, they talked shop, bounced ideas around, shared and compared techniques, indulging enthusiasms or hostilities for the same things.  They were finally convinced that what they were doing mattered and was worth doing.

Is that how tribe members behaved in prehistory?

Working with your tribe, you receive inspiration and provocations to raise the bar on achievements.

For example, William Choukeir borrowed the term “tribe” in his blog to refer to “high-energy” gathering of people who join in demanding physical activities and converse on topic of  high quality intellectual level (no argumentations permitted for degrading the discussions).  This process within the tribe is targeted to recharge in energy.

Many professionals in math, sciences…poets, painters, athletes… might prefer to work alone.

Fact is, they are interacting frequently within their close-knit associations:  They publish and interchange ideas and comments:  They stand on the shoulders of previous giants in the profession.

Otherwise, no challenging problems are resolved.

Freeman Dyson says: “Up to a point, you welcome being interrupted because it is only by interchanging ideas with other people who you get anything of interest done.  When I write, I close the door; but when I’m doing science I leave the door open.”

Why using this cute term “tribe”?

Tribes were constituted of population over 150 members; consequently, tribes were split naturally to smaller units or clans for adequate communication among the members and remembering names and the family history of each member.

If the name “team” is too common or Unit is Not appropriate then, how about Tfield, meaning Terrific members (in a particular field of specialty), or Punit for pulsating unit, or RKteam for reversed karma team?

Do we have to win arguments? Do we have to avoid arguments?

How often have you heard “Please, I’m in no mood for arguing?” Why arguing has acquired such a terrible connotation? I read an article on the blog a lengthy post on how to avoid arguing sessions, strong with minute technical details to follow, a step-by-step road map to discourage another party in resuming his endeavor. And yet, Dan Rockwell is very pleased to extend his “The Top 25 Ways to Win Arguments”

  1. Don’t focus on winning or losing; focus on achieving objectives.
  2. Interrupting to make your point is pointless.
  3. Be smart not right. You aren’t finding the right answer; you’re searching for the better alternative.
  4. Focus on progress rather than perfect solutions.
  5. Trying to solve the past is futile; you can, however, move in better directions.
  6. Give ground on peripheral or non-essential points.
  7. Keep things simple. Complexity stalls solutions.
  8. Never tell someone what they think; ask them.
  9. Never let someone tell you what you think.
  10. Your “opponent” will use over-statements and unrealistic conclusions to invalidate your goals.
  11. Your opponent will make you angry. When they do, you lose.
  12. Keep an open posture.
  13. Remove barriers and obstacles. Create a clear path across the table or desk. Better yet step away from the desk.
  14. Physically align yourself with them. Rather than face-to-face, stand beside.
  15. Talk while taking a walk.
  16. Be pleasant but not jovial.
  17. When they raise their voice, lower yours.
  18. Use “and” more than “but” because “but” is an eraser. For example, I agree with you but…, diminish agreements.
  19. Show respect; don’t get personal.
  20. Identify your opponent’s objectives and agree where possible. Help them win before you win.
  21. Explore your opponent’s options.
  22. Address your opponent’s fears.
  23. Use experts and research.
  24. Speak to the heart – if they have one.
  25. Stay on point. Distractions are normal.

Bonus: Solve issues before arguments erupt.” End of tips for winning an argument.

These tips are pleasant and very refreshing: I was expecting aggressive tips. What come to mind was “are those tips related to argumentation”?  For example, are those tips targeting candidates running for election to a public office? I had a feeling that the tips were more related to having productive conversation, a give and take swapping of ideas, concepts, facts, ideas… Sort of getting the most from investing time into talking with another person… How do you feel?

The first tip is “Don’t focus on winning or losing; focus on achieving objectives”, thus, engaging into argumentation implicitly is related to a set of objectives that you want to “relay, win over people, disseminate…”  Does that mean, the other party in the arguing, necessarily has another set of objectives, or he is just reacting to a preempting “invading” opponent who takes pleasure in harassing you and wasting your precious time, and taxing your solid nerves?

Almost every tip is ground for a short essay to build upon.  It is a shame that the fashion is list of top this, top that…

Why should we avoid arguments, or learn Argument Avoidance Techniques?

Is a friendly conversation supposed to be reduced to an exercise of “I poke you” and you poke me back?  When engaging in a conversation, it is fitting to clearing our time schedule, and focus on what is discussed.  All kinds of conversations are opportunities to picking up bits of valid information and ideas:  It is one of the mechanism of restructuring our models on how we view the world, the surrounding, and dealing with people.

Otherwise, all the ideas and information will be stored in the labyrinth of the memory and not available to be used immediately.  Body language, voices, emotions, and heated arguments are expressions of some form of experiences.  Even when we tend to ejaculate truths, we are expressing implicit experiences of society’s  ”stick and carrot” control mechanisms.

Incoherent conversations are expressions  of incoherent mind structure, a state of chaotic sentiment related to the topic under discussion.  Argument Avoidance Techniques are ways of imposing our logic for understanding a conversation; thus, we are robbing the talker his right for his own logic and rational system and diminishing our database of diversification on how the mind works.

It is far more exciting and remunerating if we manage, amid incoherence and mind-sets, to asking pertinent questions that would demonstrate our honest disorientation. Argument Avoidance Techniques are short-term victories that leave bitter tastes after the conversation is over:  We were impressing on the other talker that we are “professional” in conversation but not necessarily interested in learning anything on the topic and kind of disrespectful of emotions and subjective ideas.

Most of us are shy engaging in discussions for many reasons.  I was shy for most of my life, and still is very awkward handling discussions:  My surrounding was not of the talker type and we barely discussed in the family any worthy topic.  Fact is, my ignorance of the world and society and my introvert attitudes were stiff barrier into exposing my ignorance any further; it was better keeping silent so that the audience might be fooled that I am wiser than what I am.

Effectively sharing in a conversation requires practice, a level of learning, and knowledge.  Even asking pertinent question require a good level of knowledge, intelligence, and training.  Thus, expecting people to applying “Argument Avoidance Techniques” and keeping a certain control during conversation is robbing us from valued opportunities coming from people who are knowledgeable but not “intelligent verbally” or trained in confronting audience.

It is not pertinent focusing on diagnosing the structure of the conversation while the topic is ignored or the confused experiences of people are not attended to.  We might as well learn to accepting the facts “as is” and as they come and then remodeling what we have learned into a valid model that suits our logic and rational mind. A conversation is an oral outlet to another perspective in intelligent thinking, of what is rattling our life and concepts.

Argument Avoidance Techniques are great for introvert people:  they initiate them to navigating into uncharted territories and a good training to getting more sociable, openly expressing their ideas (as good as the others’), positions, and emotions.

“I am what I am”? What that mean?
Virginia Satir (American psychologist and Educator, 1916-1988) wrote: “I am Me. In all the world, there is no one else exactly like me. Everything that comes out of me is authentically mine, because I alone chose it — I own everything...”
I have read this quote in the About of a reader who subscribed to my blog. The About resumes:
“My body, my feelings, my mouth, my voice, all my actions, whether they be to others or myself. I own my fantasies, my dreams, my hopes, my fears. I own my triumphs and successes, all my failures and mistakes. Because I own all of me, I can become intimately acquainted with me. By so doing, I can love me and be friendly with all my parts. I know there are aspects about myself that puzzle me, and other aspects that I do not know — but as long as I am friendly and loving to myself, I can courageously and hopefully look for solutions to the puzzles and ways to find out more about me.
However I look and sound, whatever I say and do, and whatever I think and feel at a given moment in time is authentically me. If later some parts of how I looked, sounded, thought, and felt turn out to be unfitting, I can discard that which is unfitting, keep the rest, and invent something new for that which I discarded.
I can see, hear, feel, think, say, and do. I have the tools to survive, to be close to others, to be productive, and to make sense and order out of the world of people and things outside of me.
I own me, and therefore, I can engineer me. I am me, and I am Okay.”
I am not sure if the entire About is from Virginia Satir, but I felt my chest compressing and suffocating: Do all these things belong to me? 
Am I responsible for all these potentials and the duty to care for them?
Shouldn’t liberal capitalist systems ease up a few of the burdens off my shoulders and offer me a few affordable social facilities?
I read a post on titled “That’s how I am. I can’t do anything about it. I’m sorry.”
(Why people have to insert the term “I am sorry”?. It make no sense to me. Nobody is sorry, otherwise they should have changed their behavior prior to saying they are sorry)

The post read: “There’s no “That’s how I am.”

There’s how everything around you made you without your awareness.

And there’s how you consciously made yourself. These are the two things that most make you.

I was having a dream.

I’m in a little cabin with a nice lady. A male friend of mine is there too. The lady is standing just outside the door on the porch. My friend is standing a the door, leaning left on his hand.

I’m watching them from inside, the light from outside glows her golden hair, and makes a silhouette of the rest of them.

My friend is telling the lady, just out of nowhere:”Warm Italian spaghetti topped with a lush tomato sauce and a hint of basil. A cold glass of wine, and strawberry cheesecake for a sweet end.”

Her face lights up, “I’m starving!” she replies.  I never did that. Well maybe when I’m asking a girl out the first time. I usually shout out to the girl from one corner of the studio “I’m hungry, you?” That’s not how I am.

That’s how everything around me made me. I can change that. I like the approach of my friend in the dream. I’ll change my habit. I’ve done that countless times. How I am right now is not how I was 10 years ago.

Ten years ago, 80% of me was because of how everything around me made me. Today 80% percent of me is how I consciously made myself. Habit change is all it takes. One tiny habit at a time.

I like today’s me better. You? Twitter @williamchoukeir”  End of quote

Four years ago, I wrote my autobiography, the biography of someone not glamorous or famous, and the last chapter was nature versus nurture, sort of chronological timeline of “What if this didn’t happens…What if I didn’t make that decision…”, would I have been a different person?

You judge, decide, and send me feedback.

When to have great sex? Or How to have great sex?

I have posted many articles on sex and seduction: You might check the category “sex, seduction, love”. I stumbled on a link that is more of the inspirational kind than describing reality. You judge. posted this, titled “When to have great sex”

It goes: “In the animal world males respect females. At least when it comes to sex. Males wait until the female is in heat. She then gives them the signal. They approach. She picks one (or more of the males) And they have great sex (Would skip the great). All the other days of the year, males respect and wait.

Most human males aren’t as courteous. Some are. Males want sex all the time (not sure. Probably many females do).

Sure animal males want sex all the time too (not sure of that proposition, even male cats are not constantly engaged in that exercise) .

Yet, they don’t pressure the females. And believe it or not, although human females can have sex anytime, they too go into, and I’m carefully using the word, ‘heat’ for a few days a month.

Human females concede to the male a lot of times. Because they love the guy. Because they pity him. Because they’re afraid of the consequences. Because they don’t mind. Sure they’ll both have sex. It might feel like rape. It might suck. It might be ok. It might be good. But it won’t be great.

Male? Want great sex? Show some respect. Wait until she gives the signal. She’ll love you for it.

Female? Point your partner to this note. Twitter: @williamchoukeir” End of quote

My comments:

First, our close relatives the monkey-kinds do sex all the time, and many times per day, with many females in the tribes.  Many insects behave the same. Rats too…Is it because the females want sex more often than males?

It is not a matter of respect of the male mammals for the “second sex” that the males are perceived by men in animal documentaries. Males have comprehended that it is useless to force females into copulating…It is hard work chasing after, and receiving bad injuries by forcing the matter.  Large male animals have got to wait, be there all the time, showing urgency, and readiness to satisfy the partner as females are in heat…

Male animals are less agile than females, and they just like to strut and fake combativeness with competitive males…They have trees and other gentler males to do the thing…

Second, animals have not lost their powerful smell indicator: Mankind sense of smell has been deteriorating and they have to rely on their eyes and hearing to get it…Sex for male mankind is more in the brain than in the sensory urgency.

It is not when to have sex, but rather how to have great sex! Great sex in mankind is hard work, time consuming, plenty of foreplay, extremely expensive…And the male genders always pay the price for not understanding that “doing sex” is accepting slavery conditions…

Let us not romanticize the physical sex engagement…It is awfully exorbitant, if you are not mentally ready to pay the price.

Actually, having less than great sex is far more profitable in the long-range: Males can sample the females until he settles down on the one he wants to be her slave…her shadow, kissing the ground where she steps, her dog, her purse…

You want to institute a family with kids? Do it early on as your testosterone level is in the explosive range…

Marriage should be a contract with specific climaxing date, to be renewed if both couple agree for extending the family life…

Note 1

Note 2: You may read this sample post

Is it just a flea taunting and nagging at me?

This essay on fleas, flies, mosquitoes, flea-types of connotations, “flea-regret”,…was inspired by the post of under “How opportunities flea

The post says:

“A flea just like the one above, kept bugging me all night. It was somewhere in my cloth, jumping around, biting on occasion.

After a long and painful night of searching and looking, I find it. Sitting there on my leg motionless. Finally! This is my opportunity to end this nightmare. I hesitate for just a moment.

If you know fleas, you’d know that they’re very elusive bugs. They don’t stay put for more than a fraction of a second. And when they jump… You may never spot them again. They’re gone.

In that moment of slight hesitation, the flea jumps.  I’m sure that at some point in your life, you’ve lost an opportunity you’ve long been waiting for. And I can bet that it’s more likely than not, that you’ve lost that opportunity by inaction. Take a minute now to remember that opportunity lost by inaction.

Next time you spot a golden opportunity, be quick. Don’t hesitate. Take immediate action. Don’t let the opportunity flee”.  End of quote, Twitter: @williamchouker

Fleas are tiny creatures, almost invisible. You cannot just take them by two fingers: You have got to use two sharp nails and hear “crush” before you assume that the flea is probably dead.  It is hard work and requires sharp vision, dexterity, patience…all the prerequisites lacking in older people…

You can watch flies when you eat meat outdoors (or indoor). Flies can be cajoled: Just leave them a dish of meat, treat them as guests, a collective guest, a cluster guest…

Mosquitoes are a different story: They much prefer fresh and hot blood, particularly your blood-type. You may take a few seconds to decide on killing the first one:  You quickly learn the first principle of dictators and absolute monarchs “kill with utmost prejudice, immediately”

The number One nemesis among the flea-types is “flea-regret“.  Flea-regret is immortal as long as you live.  It reincarnate newborn, exactly the same spectrum and gamut of regrets that you suffered in your limited life.  A few are more virulent: They are commun to all genders, cultures, civilization, work-types, colors, ethnicity, climatic regions…

It does not matter how dumb you are, you eventually learn the only two truths in life: Death and regrets.

The problem with the kinds of “flea-regret” is that the older you get the faster they procreate: You just keep committing the same kinds of regrets, and you are not the wiser.  You think that you cornered one regret and want to have a sensible conversation with it, but it is a flea and hop! It was just here and was replaced by a nastier “flea-regret”.

The “flea-regret” always sit on the front voluptuous seat and nag you, silently screaming: “And me; and me! I dare you to eliminate me” 

All you wanted is a rational discussion, but regret denies you this luxury, no matter how determined and tenacious you think you are.

Occasionally, I hear someone say: “I feel great. I have no regrets”, and I understand what he means: “I would feel great if I had no regrets”.  Others would say: “I managed to survive against all odds”, and I translate “I managed so far to ward off the onslaught of thousands of regrets. I was not talking of famine or accepting an undignified life…I survived my demons…” 

Another says: “I am under pressure. I feel down. I am kind of depressed…”, and I interpret “Regrets are constantly nagging at me.  Can’t shake-off the “I should have…”

Flea-regret? More accurately, virus-regret!

Note 1: Can you imagine million of soldiers cramped in ditches, and not able to take any decent shower for weeks?  Do you think this soldier has time to think about imminent death when he is constantly itching and fighting off the bites and diseases of all kinds of small creatures? 

More people die of diseases after soldiers return home than during the war, including “collateral civilian damages”.  Over 30 million died in the US and Europe after WWI from the flu epidemic and related diseases. How could any warrior leader claim that he won a victory overseas, when half his population will die of diseases as the warrior return home?

Note 2: William was worried that his concept of opportunity might be taken out of context.  You may read

Is Imagination a better quality than Smart? Comparing TEDxRamallah and TEDxBeirut

Note: I have attended both events of TEDxRamallah (last summer in Beirut) and TEDxBeirut (this summer). My comparison will focus on imaginative thinking and smart processes. TEDXRamallah was organized by Palestinians in Ramallah and Jordan, and shown direct in a small theater in Beirut. This event was a catalyst for a group of Lebanese to try their hands at organizing the event in Beirut. TEDxBeirut was a huge success attracting over 750 people in the auditorium of a high-tech institution.

Does an Imaginative person refers to someone who can do things in a different way than the “masses” do, (people being carried away by the common sense dicta)?  Is a smart person someone who comprehended the customs and tradition of his community and is capable of emulating their methods of thinking and satisfying the community wants and desires?

For example, Steve Jobs claimed that “consumers have no idea what they want” and went ahead and set a trend. Is that what we call a tendency for imagination?  But then, when Steve Jobs and Apple emulated all the other companies in turning a blind eye on sweatshop factories that manufacture their product, are we within the Smart-ass side of vision?

Does the difference between Imaginative and smart extends to the technical matters?  For example, can we say that a smart person accepts the consensus standards of methods and logics and is capable of applying them in his field?  Is the imaginative person someone frequently looking at a problem from different perspectives in order to discovering a shortcut or a better way of resolving a problem? Is looking at various perspectives a one time shot or it might generate into a trend in handling problems?

Could we extend this concept into groups? For example, we say this community is imaginative because it considered alternative solutions, while that community is smart for taking advantage of knowing the system and working a solution within the system from “Ine to2kal al katef”?

Would you be wasting time and resources if you do things just like everyone else is doing? Does investing time and energy to find a shortcut in order to figure out a way to do things differently a worthy endeavor?  Does a smart person necessarily lack imagination?  How would you define a person who is frequently looking t problems from different perspectives in order to resolve the difficulty? Is this characteristic of considering problems from various perspective resulting from Smart or Imagination? Does mankind needs more of the Smart or the Imaginative kinds of people?  To doing what? Toward which goal and objective?

Let us read this inspirational post from (a main organizer of TEDxBeirut) and analyze what behavior (smart or imaginative) transpires. (Words and sentences in parenthesis are mine).

Under the title “How TEDxBeirut showed me that you can handle much more than your wildest dreams” William Choukeir wrote:
“This is not a story about me. It’s a story about YOU (meaning the team of volunteers). Through my eyes.
While organizing TEDxBeirut, I had so much to do that I barely had 3 hours of sleep even night, for 1 month straight. I barely slept a single hour during the last week. I was eating in the car while driving. I also made most of my phone calls in the car.

During all this time, I was still running my design studio, at a reduced load (personal enterprise), but it was still running nonetheless. We were still working on the time-sensitive projects (that we had contract on).

At the studio, we were also doing everything (related) to design and communication for TEDxBeirut. The website, T-shirts, emails, event catalog, banners, sponsor kits, business cards, invitations, etc.

In addition to that, I was meeting TEDxBeirut speakers, almost on a daily basis, starting at 3 or 4 pm, and coaching them, and refining their talks.

I was receiving around 300 emails a day. Toward the last 2 weeks, I was clearing my inbox every other day. I was taking and making so my phone calls that my phone bill surpassed $300 that month.

I also spent time supporting Hanane in her times of crisis. Because without her, I and everything around me would crumble. Hanane is my partner in life and in work. She’s the pillar that supports me. I stand in the spotlight, but she deserves all the credit. I’m just a facade.

In addition to all of these (tasks), I was still sitting with my thoughts every day. I was still writing my notes every day ( Even on event day. I was still showering and brushing my teeth.

And yet, I didn’t crack. I didn’t crumble. Not that it was easy. On the contrary. Not that I wasn’t on the verge of collapse. I was. But I didn’t. I hung in there. I saw it through. I realized that I am capable of handling far more than I ever thought possible.

But this isn’t my story. This is the story of Patricia, our curator. This is the story of Ziad. This is the story of Aya. This is the story of Sandra. This is the story of Joseph. This is the story of Farah, of Fatimah, of Rytta, of Marc, of Zeina, and of every single person that was at the core of TEDxBeirut.

I’m not the hero. We all are. I’m not the only one capable of handling much more that I ever thought possible. We all are. And that’s how I realized that anyone, yes anyone, can handle much more than we all ever imagined.

YOU can handle much more than your wildest dreams. Just throw yourself out there. You’ll see. You’ll come through.We all did.” End of quote.

Could you deduce from the previous post whether TEDxBeirut was driven by imaginative thinking or pure smart hard work?

For example, candidate speakers were to submit a one-minute video.  Candidates didn’t receive any feedback for the reasons of declining their candidacy. Is this attitude a smart behavior for organizing events.  Suppose the organizers used the video as an excuse to meeting face to face with candidates and investigate the range of limitations and inspiration of the candidate, would that decision be within the imaginative behavior?

Why do I have this strong feeling that TEDxRamallah had a stronger impact on me?  Is it because it was the first event that I attended live?  This event was held in a small theater (barely 300 attendees) and it lacked the technical power that Beirut organizers managed to install and run; and yet, I felt sweet vibrations that have nothing to do with feeling amazed by technology. The Ramallah event was well-organized in its simplicity, and I enjoyed the compact atmosphere of engaged people to listen to “what’s going on in Palestine and in the Arab World”.

Can TEDxBeirut organizers claim that the audience had this feeling of “What’s going on in Lebanon? What’s going on in the Arab World after the spring upheavals?”  Did the audience appreciated the potentials for change and reforms? I had the net realization that women speakers tackled Lebanon socio/political problems, and actually offered tangible, pragmatic projects and programs to resolving our problems.

I sincerely wish the TEDxBeirut organizers refrain from throwing in this statement: “We were shooting to be global”.  That would insult my intelligence and imagination.

How can you think global if you are immature in comprehending the limitations and needs of your own community? Worst, lacking the desire to get engaged in changing Lebanon rotten political/social structure?

Note: Attached are links to the first session of both events and you may take it from there




May 2020

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