Since the day we’re born, we’re raised in a competitive world, divided by little choice of our own, into various groups and subgroups. The majority of our “teams” are chosen based on what teams our parents are on, what our parents’ parents teams were, and so on. We don’t even have a choice in many of our teams. For instance, our race and nationality are essentially chosen for us, though amazingly enough, those are two of the teams that seem to cause a large amount of the issues in the world. Another of the really big teams that we get put on, though as we get older we technically can choose to change sides, is religion. The reality is, for the vast majority, this is a choice that’s made for us, and few want to go against generations of their family members who are already part of one team or another. Again, a team that we’ve had little choice in is a factor in a large amount of the conflicts we see on a daily basis.
So, essentially, from the day we’re born, we start on at least 3 teams. Of course, we also divide ourselves into teams of boys and girls… later on there will be additional sub-teams of boys who like boys, boys who want to be girls, etc. Initially, however, it’s one of two teams, for a total of 4, without us having a single thought other than “Why is it so bright and why am I so cold all of a sudden?”.
Think about that for just a moment. Before even experiencing an hour out in the world, those decisions have been made, and they alone will shape much of how we view and treat those around us.
From that initial start of 4 teams, it only gets more complicated and complex as time goes on. We form ourselves into teams based on what State we live in, our county, city, even our neighborhood. We as a people divide almost every single thing we do into two or more teams. The US is divided not just by States, but by regions, North, South, East and West… and then even further, the Northeast, Southwest, etc. We group and categorize each other into teams and subteams in a mind-boggling manner when you sit back and look at it.
It doesn’t just apply to our location, one of the most divisive is our political team. This one can be a little more fluid than others, especially as we age, get some life experience, and gain knowledge of everything around us. However, it’s no surprise that a very large majority will be on the same team as our parents, and will do so for reasoning that uncannily matches everything your parents have been saying your entire lifetime. This fact applies to almost all the teams, we just assume our team is the best because of the reasons that our teammates (who didn’t choose the team either) are telling us, even though everyone is on the team “just because”.
I could go likely go on for hours about all the various teams we’re put on or choose to be on, and that’s without even mentioning the actual sports teams we join. Even with this huge list of teams that we attach to ourselves and others, there’s an unspoken but known hierarchy of what teams are more important than others. These change over time as various issues arise and the media, government, or other teams declare it’s time to defend your team as a priority over your others. The obvious example is when one nation-team invades another nation-teams field. The general reaction is for the team being invaded to put aside all their other teams and focus on their nation-team in repelling the invaders. Once that issue is resolved, then the nation-team loses priority and everyone goes back to other team competitions. (Not every team defense involves actual physical defense, sometimes it’s just yelling nasty things at the other team online or in the street)
With the hundreds of various teams that every single person on this planet is on, whether they choose to be or not, it does beg the question, why? I understand the evolutionary need to form teams or groups of people for the purposes of safety, providing necessities, and for growing the population. Why, however, do we as a people have the need to create so many teams and why do we stick with them even though we ourselves can’t explain why we’re on them to begin with?
I guess it will literally take an invasion of an alien race from some other planet for us all to come together and be on one single team. Sadly, the idea of one single team is so far-fetched, that even movies that deal with alien invasions, still portray us as sticking to our Team Country, while we all battle the alien invaders individually.
So what say you? Are people actually able to prevent themselves from forming teams, whether they be actual or perceived?