Author Topic: Tribe by Sebastian Junger  (Read 2799 times)

scrubbyfish

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Tribe by Sebastian Junger
« on: July 14, 2016, 07:43:56 PM »
Among many other good things, this book provides interesting facts and perspectives on money, e.g. what many people crave more than luxury, the impact of the 2008 financial crisis, lives lost in that compared to Americans in two wars, the judicial response to war treason vs financial treason despite the actual impacts, etc.

I loved this book, and just blogged about it here: https://financialtipsforthebroke.com/2016/07/14/when-bankers-kills-more-than-wars-do/

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Re: Tribe by Sebastian Junger
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2016, 01:03:51 PM »
He was on the Tim Ferris podcast. Was about 2 hours and pretty interesting. I am looking forward to reading this book.

MustachianAccountant

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Re: Tribe by Sebastian Junger
« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2016, 04:48:13 AM »
I just started this book today.
Really thought provoking stuff - it starts out by asking why the English settlers who had been integrated into American Indian society would not return to the English settlements. Even if they had been abducted by the Indians, and "rescued" by the English.

And it just gets better from there.
I'd like to see some discussion -- there are some ideas in there that struck me as "anti-mustachian" in a way, and also some things that are very mustachian.
"If we wait for the moment when everything, absolutely everything is ready, we shall never begin." - Ivan Turgenev
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scrubbyfish

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Re: Tribe by Sebastian Junger
« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2016, 07:33:28 AM »
...it starts out by asking why the English settlers who had been integrated into American Indian society would not return to the English settlements. Even if they had been abducted by the Indians, and "rescued" by the English.

And it just gets better from there.

Exactly! Just delightful...  I don't know how to discuss books, and I mostly forget one after I've read it, otherwise I would do that with you :)

arebelspy

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Re: Tribe by Sebastian Junger
« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2016, 07:55:00 PM »
Put a hold on the eBook! Thanks for the recommendation.  :)
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with a kid.
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MustachianAccountant

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Re: Tribe by Sebastian Junger
« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2016, 01:32:49 AM »
Put a hold on the eBook! Thanks for the recommendation.  :)

You'll like it. It's a really quick read - more like 5 or so long-form magazine articles that all have a common thread.
"If we wait for the moment when everything, absolutely everything is ready, we shall never begin." - Ivan Turgenev
"As soon as you believe that something cannot be done, you will find that, sure enough, you cannot do it." -Me, to my children, all the time

MustachianAccountant

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Re: Tribe by Sebastian Junger
« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2016, 01:36:22 AM »
...it starts out by asking why the English settlers who had been integrated into American Indian society would not return to the English settlements. Even if they had been abducted by the Indians, and "rescued" by the English.

And it just gets better from there.

Exactly! Just delightful...  I don't know how to discuss books, and I mostly forget one after I've read it, otherwise I would do that with you :)

Well, for me, the "anti-mustachian" thought in the book has to do with resource sharing. In native American society, the whole community pitches in and shares everything from the hunt so that everyone is more or less equal.
This seems to go against the mustachian way of thought, which is for each individual to amass as much wealth for themselves as possible, so that they (individually) can "retire early."

Does this seem "anti-mustachian" to you as well, and if so, what should we do about that?
"If we wait for the moment when everything, absolutely everything is ready, we shall never begin." - Ivan Turgenev
"As soon as you believe that something cannot be done, you will find that, sure enough, you cannot do it." -Me, to my children, all the time

arebelspy

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Re: Tribe by Sebastian Junger
« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2016, 01:47:09 AM »
...it starts out by asking why the English settlers who had been integrated into American Indian society would not return to the English settlements. Even if they had been abducted by the Indians, and "rescued" by the English.

And it just gets better from there.

Exactly! Just delightful...  I don't know how to discuss books, and I mostly forget one after I've read it, otherwise I would do that with you :)

Well, for me, the "anti-mustachian" thought in the book has to do with resource sharing. In native American society, the whole community pitches in and shares everything from the hunt so that everyone is more or less equal.
This seems to go against the mustachian way of thought, which is for each individual to amass as much wealth for themselves as possible, so that they (individually) can "retire early."

Does this seem "anti-mustachian" to you as well, and if so, what should we do about that?

Resource sharing is much more efficient and Mustachian.

It just happens to be so easy to amass wealth in the richest nation in the history of ever that one can ER with relatively little effort.  But look at how Pete shares WiFi with neighbors, builds community, etc.

I'd say you have the two descriptions backwards--one amassing money selfishly, for its own sake, is missing the point.  One being efficient through building community is more Mustachian.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with a kid.
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scrubbyfish

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Re: Tribe by Sebastian Junger
« Reply #8 on: August 31, 2016, 10:53:18 AM »
Does this seem "anti-mustachian" to you as well, and if so, what should we do about that?

I share this concern to some degree.

I come from a community that is...extremelyaboutsharing, so hanging in Mustache Land involved an intense shift in my personal culture, as well as in how easily I can relate with my longer-time community. In the latter, ANY money that came in was immediately distributed amongst everyone. Not as a result of decree, politics, etc, but because this is what was natural for us. Each of us knew hardship, thus empathized with feelings around lack and feelings around relief, and we responded to those. That culture had pros and cons, as all ways do (I wrote a book and talk about this more in there).

Many Mustachians do ponder (and act on) how to share or give in effective ways, but it's still super weird for me to be hoarding money for my will. I continue to feel conflicted about it. My body feels compelled to distribute it all. I don't because I can't stand the thought of returning to my earlier life.

I guess the difference between cultures like Junger describes and our current one is that in the former, ones material needs will be met while in ours, they won't necessarily. Of course, today, some people attempt to recreate the intentional community life (see ic.org). My psyche is a huge fan of the concept, but my immersions in eight of these left me opting out and being careful to preserve Independence Funds. I'm sad about that though.

MustachianAccountant

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Re: Tribe by Sebastian Junger
« Reply #9 on: August 31, 2016, 11:24:16 AM »
...it starts out by asking why the English settlers who had been integrated into American Indian society would not return to the English settlements. Even if they had been abducted by the Indians, and "rescued" by the English.

And it just gets better from there.

Exactly! Just delightful...  I don't know how to discuss books, and I mostly forget one after I've read it, otherwise I would do that with you :)

Well, for me, the "anti-mustachian" thought in the book has to do with resource sharing. In native American society, the whole community pitches in and shares everything from the hunt so that everyone is more or less equal.
This seems to go against the mustachian way of thought, which is for each individual to amass as much wealth for themselves as possible, so that they (individually) can "retire early."

Does this seem "anti-mustachian" to you as well, and if so, what should we do about that?

Resource sharing is much more efficient and Mustachian.

It just happens to be so easy to amass wealth in the richest nation in the history of ever that one can ER with relatively little effort.  But look at how Pete shares WiFi with neighbors, builds community, etc.

I'd say you have the two descriptions backwards--one amassing money selfishly, for its own sake, is missing the point.  One being efficient through building community is more Mustachian.

I'm not sure I agree that this is the sort of resource sharing described in the book. Have you read it yet or is it still on hold?
"If we wait for the moment when everything, absolutely everything is ready, we shall never begin." - Ivan Turgenev
"As soon as you believe that something cannot be done, you will find that, sure enough, you cannot do it." -Me, to my children, all the time

arebelspy

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Re: Tribe by Sebastian Junger
« Reply #10 on: August 31, 2016, 02:55:03 PM »
I'm not sure I agree that this is the sort of resource sharing described in the book. Have you read it yet or is it still on hold?

Still waiting for it.

I was talking about your description, here:

Quote
resource sharing. In native American society, the whole community pitches in and shares everything from the hunt so that everyone is more or less equal.

That sounds extremely Mustachian, to me.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with a kid.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (occasionally) blog at AdventuringAlong.com.
You can also read my forum "Journal."

MustachianAccountant

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Re: Tribe by Sebastian Junger
« Reply #11 on: August 31, 2016, 11:49:36 PM »

Still waiting for it.

I was talking about your description, here:

Quote
resource sharing. In native American society, the whole community pitches in and shares everything from the hunt so that everyone is more or less equal.

That sounds extremely Mustachian, to me.

Yes, but (IIRC) the book also talks about how those societies viewed "hoarding" of resources, and they did not look upon it kindly. Whatever you had was for the good of the group. The Native American societies (as depicted in the book) seem very collectivist, which runs completely against the grain of modern American society, which is very individualistic. And that includes the mustachian view that you acquire a vast pile of your own wealth for your own benefit. Sure, sharing might get you there faster, but in the end, it's your own effort and your own pile of money.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2016, 02:25:52 AM by MustachianAccountant »
"If we wait for the moment when everything, absolutely everything is ready, we shall never begin." - Ivan Turgenev
"As soon as you believe that something cannot be done, you will find that, sure enough, you cannot do it." -Me, to my children, all the time

arebelspy

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Re: Tribe by Sebastian Junger
« Reply #12 on: September 01, 2016, 02:46:32 AM »
ER is a side benefit of Mustachianism, an inevitability given our society combined with Mustachian principles (efficiency, optimism, stoicism, anti-consumerism, biking, badassity) that leads to huge savings rates which leads to ER.  ER isn't the point of Mustachianism, it's a side perk that happens.

If we lived in a different society, Mustachian principles might look a lot more like that society.

Notice that they didn't waste resources. They weren't consumeristic. They shared them. Very Mustachian.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with a kid.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (occasionally) blog at AdventuringAlong.com.
You can also read my forum "Journal."

MustachianAccountant

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Re: Tribe by Sebastian Junger
« Reply #13 on: September 01, 2016, 03:09:39 AM »
ER is a side benefit of Mustachianism, an inevitability given our society combined with Mustachian principles (efficiency, optimism, stoicism, anti-consumerism, biking, badassity) that leads to huge savings rates which leads to ER.  ER isn't the point of Mustachianism, it's a side perk that happens.

If we lived in a different society, Mustachian principles might look a lot more like that society.

Notice that they didn't waste resources. They weren't consumeristic. They shared them. Very Mustachian.

Oh, I'm not saying that the whole book is anti-mustachian (you'll see there are some very mustachian things about it), but that one bit about hoarding resources has me thinking.

I suppose then, under the definition of mustachianism you've given, it's the combination of individualism with it that's "troublesome," at least when compared to a more collectivist society. That individualism (keeping the leftover money for yourself) is the assumed course of action on these forums and in the blog, for sure, which is why I would argue that it is also part of the mustachian ethos.

As you note, in a different society, the extra money left over from all the optimization and anti-consumerism might go to the good of the community rather than into my VTSAX account.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2016, 03:12:03 AM by MustachianAccountant »
"If we wait for the moment when everything, absolutely everything is ready, we shall never begin." - Ivan Turgenev
"As soon as you believe that something cannot be done, you will find that, sure enough, you cannot do it." -Me, to my children, all the time

scrubbyfish

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Re: Tribe by Sebastian Junger
« Reply #14 on: September 01, 2016, 07:47:25 AM »
I have a pretty stretchy brain, but even it's not seeing it.

I can't fathom any part of Mustachianism being like the collective approach. Again, that has some positives, but...   While some Mustachians might be sharing material resources in the sense of gifting some portion of their extreme excesses, I don't see an overlap. The only other sharing I'm seeing in M'ism is information. That's a good and extremely important share, but very different than pooling 100% of material resources each one encounters/gathers, with everyone having access to the same amount of material goods on any given day.

arebelspy

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Re: Tribe by Sebastian Junger
« Reply #15 on: September 01, 2016, 11:13:21 AM »
I think a commune full of frugal, efficient badasses who bike, DIY, grow their own food, and collectively share everything could be extremely "Mustachian" and following the core MMM principles, even if none are going to save up a ton of money individually and retire early.

We'll have to agree to disagree if you don't think so.  :)
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scrubbyfish

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Re: Tribe by Sebastian Junger
« Reply #16 on: September 01, 2016, 05:19:49 PM »
We'll have to agree to disagree if you don't think so.  :)

(Well, obviously, yes, lol. That goes without saying in a conversation.)

But, where are Mustachians doing this?

And, more relevantly, if eliminating the savings part of Mustachianism, how is it still Mustachianism? Then it's just all the communes that already exist, and that don't rely on, implement, or espouse FI or FIRE.

Are you saying that in your mind, Mustachianism doesn't have a whole tenet of saving up big dollars, investing in financial markets, etc? I agree that it involves other things as well, but to say it doesn't inherently include this...?

arebelspy

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Re: Tribe by Sebastian Junger
« Reply #17 on: September 01, 2016, 05:50:22 PM »




Are you saying that in your mind, Mustachianism doesn't have a whole tenet of saving up big dollars, investing in financial markets, etc?

Yup, exactly:

ER is a side benefit of Mustachianism, an inevitability given our society combined with Mustachian principles (efficiency, optimism, stoicism, anti-consumerism, biking, badassity) that leads to huge savings rates which leads to ER.  ER isn't the point of Mustachianism, it's a side perk that happens.

We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with a kid.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (occasionally) blog at AdventuringAlong.com.
You can also read my forum "Journal."

MustachianAccountant

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Re: Tribe by Sebastian Junger
« Reply #18 on: September 02, 2016, 07:13:34 AM »

Are you saying that in your mind, Mustachianism doesn't have a whole tenet of saving up big dollars, investing in financial markets, etc?


Yup, exactly

I'm going to respectfully disagree. Without counting blog posts, I'm going to say a good portion of the blog posts talk about investing what's left over after you save money from being efficient/badass in order to retire early. Or how to be more efficient and badass in order to save money. Ditto for the forums. It may not be all there is to Mustachianism, but it is undeniably a part of it. I have trouble with you saying that saving money is not a core tenet. For goodness sakes, the blog is called Mr. MONEY Mustache!!

I'll wait till you've read the book to discuss more.
"If we wait for the moment when everything, absolutely everything is ready, we shall never begin." - Ivan Turgenev
"As soon as you believe that something cannot be done, you will find that, sure enough, you cannot do it." -Me, to my children, all the time

arebelspy

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Re: Tribe by Sebastian Junger
« Reply #19 on: September 02, 2016, 02:00:53 PM »

Are you saying that in your mind, Mustachianism doesn't have a whole tenet of saving up big dollars, investing in financial markets, etc?


Yup, exactly

I'm going to respectfully disagree. Without counting blog posts, I'm going to say a good portion of the blog posts talk about investing what's left over after you save money from being efficient/badass in order to retire early. Or how to be more efficient and badass in order to save money. Ditto for the forums. It may not be all there is to Mustachianism, but it is undeniably a part of it. I have trouble with you saying that saving money is not a core tenet. For goodness sakes, the blog is called Mr. MONEY Mustache!!

That's fine, we'll agree to disagree.  Early retirement is the hook/draw, sure.  It's a lot of the discussion due to that.  But it's not a core part of what Mustachianism is, just an inevitable (awesome) side benefit of living as a Mustachian (which is more about less consumption, more efficiency, and badassity).

For example, I think someone in some random less developed country, who will never retire, and lives hand-to-mouth out of necessity can be extremely Mustachian in their behaviors (stoic, DIY, etc.).  This wouldn't be possible if Mustachianism was solely about retiring early.
« Last Edit: September 02, 2016, 02:03:08 PM by arebelspy »
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with a kid.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (occasionally) blog at AdventuringAlong.com.
You can also read my forum "Journal."

rudged

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Re: Tribe by Sebastian Junger
« Reply #20 on: September 03, 2017, 11:09:08 AM »
I have to share I read this book as espousing a Mustachian perspective as well. I find MMM's focus on reducing consumption (because the pursuit of material possessions for its own sake is a fundamentally mistaken approach to life) dovetails very nicely with Junger's core perspective - namely for most of human evolution, hominids existed in small, altruistic groups. Individuals in such groups did not and could not focus on the accumulation of personal wealth, if only because their possessions were limited to what they could take with them as they nomadically foraged for food. The survival of the tribe was paramount, and as such, the sharing of food and self-sacrifice were rewarded; hoarding and cowardice were punished. It's a very refreshing contrast to the way modern affluent societies venerate and celebrate personal fame and wealth. It's also interesting to consider that unemployment and its attendant toll on a person's sense of self worth, is a modern invention. I take MMM as advocating early retirement as a path to get out of the rat race and devote yourself to what you are truly passionate about when money isn't an issue. My dad really hit his stride when he retired early (not by choice) and devoted himself full time to volunteer work.
« Last Edit: September 04, 2017, 11:54:40 AM by rudged »

rudged

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Re: Tribe by Sebastian Junger
« Reply #21 on: September 04, 2017, 12:01:12 PM »
Junger interprets tribes in a fairly narrow sense to refer to a group of individuals living in close proximity to one another. I found myself wondering whether and how is analysis might be affected by a more dynamic notion of what it means to be part of a tribe in a modern context. His analysis all but suggests that internet communities whose membership is widely dispersed are not tribes, but this contrasts with the altruism members of internet communities often display towards members.

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Re: Tribe by Sebastian Junger
« Reply #22 on: September 04, 2017, 04:00:42 PM »

Still waiting for it.

I was talking about your description, here:

Quote
resource sharing. In native American society, the whole community pitches in and shares everything from the hunt so that everyone is more or less equal.

That sounds extremely Mustachian, to me.

Yes, but (IIRC) the book also talks about how those societies viewed "hoarding" of resources, and they did not look upon it kindly. Whatever you had was for the good of the group. The Native American societies (as depicted in the book) seem very collectivist, which runs completely against the grain of modern American society, which is very individualistic. And that includes the mustachian view that you acquire a vast pile of your own wealth for your own benefit. Sure, sharing might get you there faster, but in the end, it's your own effort and your own pile of money.

It's important to understand that Native American culture is not just a historical footnote. On modern reservations, the common good is a driving factor in a lot of what happens, and many things would blow the minds of the average outsider, who view life as a singular pursuit of self sufficient success. In the mid-90s, I helped build a new home for a family on a Lakota reservation in South Dakota, as a volunteer with an NGO. It was important to the family, and the leadership on the project, that we not only complete the home, but also to make the full basement as livable as possible. At first I though this seemed a bit extravagant, but it was for a very good reason. Over the next few years, during the long cold winters, up to eighteen people occupied that three bedroom, bath and a half home at one time.   The matriarch of the family was in her late middle age years, probably early fifties at the time. She was a tiny woman, who keep a family together on little but hope, prayer, and any money she could scrounge up. At one point she was raising a grand child, a baby who's mother was a junkie, while being  a caregiver for a young, developmentally disabled adult who lived with them. The disabled adult was not family, but a tribal member. There was no all encompassing social services network looking out for the disabled guy, no windfall check for being a "Foster parent" to him, but he was one of them, and somebody was responsible for keeping him fed and from not freezing to death in the winter. One of the most amazing parts of staying involved with the tribe and helping to ease some of the housing burden over the next decade, was knowing that the frail, little woman I spoke of, who couldn't afford to heat her own house, ran a soup kitchen, out of a local church, to help feed the natives that were worse of than she was.

She died a few years back. Chances are she didn't have a dime, and nobody close to her had  $8-10K for a fancy funeral. During her lifetime, she kept many people from going to bed starving, kept a few from falling asleep and freezing to death, and  even saved one or two from ODing, or swallowing a bullet, to end the endless pain of life on the rez. Nothing about her values was about getting ahead, or looking out for herself first. Would you rather be her, or fixating on how big your stash is, when the time comes to take your last breath?