Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging

Book review time.

Today I read Tribe by Sebastian Junger, and it resonated with some of the thoughts I’ve been having about modern life and how technology is carrying us further away from the way we evolved to live. The premise of the book is that hunter gatherer tribes offered many advantages to mental health that modern societies lack. As a member of a tribe you were around many others at all times. Everyone shared their resources and relied on one another. Class distinctions could not afford to exist, people were judged purely by their contribution to the group. Life was less complicated and one spent less time working overall. People trusted each other and worked for the benefit of the group. Liars and cheats were dealt with harshly.

Skip forward to the future, and for all of our material wealth, rates of depression, PTSD and other mental illnesses are on the rise, presumably due to the loss of such communities and the support they offer. People now spend much more time alone, often rely on the government instead of on each other, feel utterly unneeded when they are unemployed, and have less shared experiences that they can relate with. We have strangers looking after our kids and grandparents. We seek individual wealth at the expense of others. We talk contemptuously about others instead of trying to understand them. We let political leaders turn us against each other over small differences, even though most of us agree about most things.

There’s a lot to sift through there and the solutions aren’t obvious. But in general the message is to strengthen family and community bonds, focus on the many things we agree on, and to be vigilant against those who try to take advantage of the group – bankers, frauds, polarising political speakers and others. I feel like these issues will grow in severity as technology leads to more unemployment and more isolated lifestyles.

Anyway. Tribe is quite short and is an accessible read, but if you don’t like reading you can also get a gist of it from this interview with the author.

There’s a lot of food for thought in there.

EBF5: Map Blog

I’m really happy with some of the maps I’ve made lately. But it’s frustrating not being able to show them yet. I’ll make some more gifs once the foes and NPCs are placed, but even then I’m not showing off very much.

I’ve got the first two premium dungeons done. The first one is super pretty and has some reasonably challenging puzzles, and an interesting gimmick for the boss: you can choose which weather you prefer for the fight. The second one takes things in an even more experimental direction…. It’s the “get the paper out and take notes” type of puzzle solving. I’m sure some people will hate it, but I look forward to the reactions.

And finally, I often get asked how big the world map is compared to EBF4, and it’s looking like it’s going to be roughly double the size, on account of each map being 50% bigger and also building interiors increasing the size a lot.

Anyway, I’ve been trying to buy a house the last few weeks. It’s a very competitive market at the moment, with everything decent having around 5 people fighting over it. I’m not in a hurry yet, so I’m not going all out with my bids. It’s kind of fun looking at houses, but also sad when you get somewhat attached to them and then get outbid later. Oh well.