Letter from the editor

Dear reader,

I’m not much of a believer in “cosmic power.” Psychics, horoscopes, and tarot readings have never been my thing—I’m a little too logic-based to enjoy them, always pulling off the cloth and checking up the sleeves for the proverbial trick.

But one slightly far-out idea in which I do put some stock is a collective unconscious, the premise that our minds are connected in ways we cannot fully grasp. This premise explains so much of the way that movements work—in art, in thought, in politics—and it doesn’t hurt that it’s backed up by a bit of science, to soothe my logical brain.

And it seems, as of late, that the collective unconscious is centered on tribes. Simona gives a great background on tribes in her short essay in this issue, but Seth Godin and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi are not the only ones talking about the importance of connection, collaboration, and companionship to creativity—the idea keeps appearing, over and over, from various angles of my life. Just recently, our friend Kay Kerimian came to us with her idea for an online community for artists, Other People’s Stories, which she calls a “tribe.” Chris Wells, director of The Secret City—who contributed to this issue—called his first upstate event TRIBES as a tribute to the way small communities work together. Just this morning, on NPR’s Weekend Edition, I listened to Son Lux’s Ryan Lott talk about discovering the importance of collaboration. That’s the collective unconscious at work.

I can’t say exactly why this is—I’m only one year into my sociocultural anthropology degree, after all—but it seems logical to hypothesize that as we shift into increased isolation in some areas of life (as more and more people work from home, shop online, and communicate primarily via e-mail and text), we naturally seek out connection in others. And so finding our communities, our “tribes”—whether they be artists’ collectives, writers’ groups, performance troupes, teams, or any other gathering of human energy—takes on new importance in our lives.

I also hypothesize—and hope—that this shift toward collaboration spells the end of ironic apathy in favor of unabashed enthusiasm for our interests and the interests of others. Because really, life is just so much more fun that way.

To connection,