Waris Daris said it best ... "There is a proverb in my country, - the last camel in line, walks as quickly as the first ... whatever happens to the least of us, has an effect on all of us".
If I were GOD and I had a sense of humor, I would create a planet as a toy. I would then populate the planet with people, animals, trees and seas. My first man would be black in skin, then I would think, let me try other colours to beautify the landscape. My first flower would be red in hue, then I would play with the Kaleidoscope of colors to make my world a more beautiful place to see and to be.
Now this earth would be so complex, that I would have to store the knowledge of its Instruction Manual in different peoples. The Chinese would know one thing, the Africans another. The Europeans would be experts in still another field and so on.
However, then I discovered that I made the world so perfectly that everyone was just happy where they were, so I had to add a little struggle and strife to get the tribes to leave their home and mix. How could they understand that their power was in mixing, if they all stayed content in their corners of the planet? After all, I am God so I could do these things.
Then since no one brain can fathom the vastness of my creation, I invented a concept called critical mass. When many people are thinking about the same thing, their minds would link, linkerdin, and their collective brains would act like one super computer, each person acting as a brain cell - receiving and transmitting information. In this state of connectivity, mankind could make leaps in progress and understanding. The linked minds would increase the spiritual bandwidth, consciously or unconsciously, allowing the downloading of knowledge to those who would know what to do with it. In the 1980's, Peter Russell's book, Global Brain, accurately describes the world as it is today, with infinite connections between people who slavishly go through their days staring at a screen and texting. Ignoring the beauty of the moment, but mindlessly serving their role in the global brain - as a brain cell, creating infinite connections which Gaia, mother earth, uses to experience herself as a living being in the UNIVERSE, one song, while transmitting knowledge to the USERS OF KNOWLEDGE.
Ironically GOD designed critical mass and diversity into HIS/HER plan.
Critical mass requires ever expanding numbers of people and diversity requires mixing. The two concepts that modern man is weakest at are just the components we need to have complete knowledge of the Instruction Manual for the safe and Sustainable Operation of Spaceship Gaia.
To me, a tribe is a group of people with specific similar characteristics. So tribes can be a group of policemen, where what they have in common is their job. Then within the tribe, you can have a sub-tribe of the policemen from Ireland for example. You can have a tribe of Africans or a tribe of Native American Indians. We all have tribes, belong to tribes or change tribes during the course of our lives.
The concept of tribalmixing was always a part of my DNA - but I did not notice it till it was pointed out to me while attending UCLA. I had an appointment with my friend Freeman Mc Neil, former UCLA the NY Jets American Football star. I arrived at the meeting with one of my Iranian friends with me, a classmate from an advanced Economics course, Money and Banking. Freeman laughed when I introduced the two of them. His comment is as fresh in my mind today as when he said it in the 1980s. 'Men you are the only cat I know with such a variety of friends. You hang out with the top athletes, the president of the Alumni Association, Chinese people, Hispanics, Island people, Africans, you hang out with me and this dude from Iran'.
Instinctively, this was always my nature. I observed that each tribe had its strengths and its weaknesses. You don't ask the Jewish kid sitting in the corner to dunk a basketball, you ask him to explain the derivative markets and hedging to you. You don't ask the Italian kid to organise the meeting, but you ask him to have his mom cook for your party. You do not ask the rasta kid to meet you at 8 am, but if you need a loyal friend to go to into South Central L.A. at night, either him or the Mexican Essas (homeboys) are the right ...
So when you mix tribes, you get the best of all worlds: Unconsciously I continued this into my adult life. I played American Football in Milan on Giorgio Armani's team, the SEAMEN mixing with the jocks (athletes) in Milan. My day job was a photographer in the busy studio of Graziella Vigo where our clients were a Who's Who in international Fashion. Here I spent my days with the top models of the world, creatives, clothing designers and photographers. At night I hung out with Armani's business partner, Sergio Galleotti and his friends of creatives.
From time to time I did important advertising campaigns as a model, working on the other side of the camera. I was the model for an important advertising campaign in Zurich and the photographer could not get the lights right. Polaroid after polaroid he kept adjusting and readjusting the lights. In the late afternoon I asked him to describe the light he wanted in words. I asked them to remove all the lights and I set up the studio for him. He took a polaroid to preview the lights. He and the client were very happy and we started the photo shoot. That campaign resulted in my face being plastered all over Switzerland.
Years later on a photoshoot in Miami Beach, there was a black model on the job. He told me he was inspired to become a model by that campaign he saw with a black model as a little boy growing up in Geneva. I described the campaign to him in detail, he was shocked to discover that I was the model in the campaign who inspired him to pursue a career as a model. So not only must we operate in as many tribes as possible, but we must always be aware that our acts and actions are part of the whole and will either have a positive or negative impact on others, adding either in a positive or negative way to Critical Mass. (below: some covers i shot)
ALL these unrelated events and the tribes I met in those worlds contributed to making me who I am, so the influence of each tribe we come into contact with, adds to our experiences and skills set. Reflect on your tribes. What tribe do you belong to?
When my family immigrated from Trinidad to the USA and settled in New Jersey in the mid-60's, I had to join a fraternity that had the look and feel of a gang, in order to assure the safety of my family on those dangerous streets. They were called Kappa Beta Epsilon. They were the athletes, but they were not the undisputed toughest in the neighborhood. As such there were frequent fights among the fraternities to establish turf dominance. Within months of going through the hazing and hell week to become a member, I was elected President. I recruited all the lone wolves in the neighborhood and brought them into the group without the traditional hazing. These are the guys that were so tough, that they did not need to move in a pack for protection. After we did that, there was no doubt as to which group was the dominant force in our neighborhood. All the fighting stopped and crime was reduced. By association with this group, my family was safe.
I was the starting guard on a State Championship Basketball team while attending Jesuit Prep School and later did an extensive internship with an Economist specialized in Gas and Oil Regulations and who was a former advisor to both U.S. Presidents Nixon and Ford.
Your Tribes are assets that you can monetise one day in the future. They are an investment, so come out of your comfort zone and dare to mix with other tribes.
This is why you need many tribes so you can pull in all these skill sets and you can mix them, tribalmixing. Gaia my daughter is 9. Her friends include Italians, Americans, Moroccans, Nigerians, Tunisians, and Austrians. (above left: the face i wore in the 80's also Armani and Galleotti during the same time period). On one day Gaia and I may strole into an African shout and scream church and on another Sunday we go to an Islamic Mosque where she is studying Arabic and already knows how to read and write in Arabic. Gaia is comfortable with all these varieties and flavours of Tribes. When you mix, you will discover that we have more in common with each other than we have differences. Use my stories to trigger your stories. Explore the things we have in common. When I talk about my father, think about your father. My words should be used as your launching pad. I do not care if you believe me or not. This is not about belief, it is about preparing to take this planet in hand and to work with it on its terms, not our.
Tell me about your tribes and how they make you unique!