COVID vaccines have become part of an elaborate group initiation, a hazing ritual complete with all the tribal bonding that an intense fear of death or pain can create. Where do you stand? Which tribe will you pledge your allegiance to?

I’ve talked in the past about tribal economics. How having all the money in the world is not enough to leave your life fulfilled if you don’t need anyone and if no one needs you. I want to talk a little bit about how a new kind of tribe is beginning to form and why the COVID vaccine may become an important mark for which tribe you belong to.

Whenever you meet a new person, you will likely begin making subconscious judgements about whether they’re someone that could help or hurt you. This isn’t usually a matter of life and death, but a low-level friend-or-foe meter that’s running all the time. Is this someone I can trust? Is this someone who might could help me? Is this someone who needs my help? You probably don’t even think about it, but it’s being calculated behind the scenes by the lizard part of your brain.

These sorts of judgements take place in our everyday lives because we live in what is called a “low-trust” society. Not only do we not know our next-door neighbors, we might not even speak the same native language. This is the price of living in a multicultural society where most people have little in common with many of the people they might interact with. In a tribal culture, where people have most everything in COMMON with each other, the baseline level of trust is much higher. People leave their houses unlocked. They let their children walk to the park alone. They share meals together—inside each other’s houses, rather than standing beside a food truck. The friend or foe calculations are minimal.

In a prosperous nation, with a future that feels stable, people overlook the negatives of a multicultural society and accept the loss of tribe as worth the cost. When the future of your nation begins to feel in question, the desire to reconnect with a tribe will grow. Where stability is gone, most people will start to look for a tribe to provide it for them.

I remember the story of a friend of mine who was a pastor. He had been visiting somebody in jail for a few months, trying to break through the guy’s anger and violent rage to explain the Gospel message to him. Nothing worked. It was like he was a total stranger, even after ten visits. He’d noticed a pack of cigarettes that were always in the guy’s shirt pocket and asked him for one. The guy’s demeanor completely changed. It was like they were sharing communion. His guard totally dropped, simply because this tiny bit of joy the guy had living his life in prison—smoking a cigarette—could now be shared with someone else. It was almost like someone needed him and their relationship immediately began to mean something to both of them. Only THEN did the pastor, despite having already visited him ten times, feel like someone he could trust.

On the opposite end of the scale, I remember a time when I was at a friend’s house after having worked for months on a challenging project. We were all in, throwing everything we had into finishing, despite all the odds being against us. A party was thrown to celebrate and the tribal bond between us was running strong. The feeling of camaraderie was intense—until marijuana made an appearance. I don’t smoke marijuana—I’ve never even tried it, and I wasn’t going to start. I passed them up on their offer, and immediately, it became clear I wasn’t in the same tribe as them. I’m not a prude, I have a good time at parties and will hop on the piano or jump in the pool if the situation calls for it. But that didn’t matter—the fact is they were bonding over a treasured pastime, and I wasn’t participating. And something changed. We still liked each other. We still hung out sometimes. But I wasn’t part of the tribe anymore. This wasn’t something where they excluded me from anything. It was just obvious to all of us—me included. I wasn’t part of the inner circle anymore.

Even now, from me sharing this story, you have subconsciously made an assessment about whether you and I are kindred spirits. If you are someone who thinks of marijuana as an important recreational tool, you likely feel like I’m not as similar to you as you once thought. You may be thinking there are probably OTHER things we’re different on. On the other hand, if you don’t use marijuana either, maybe you like me more. Maybe now you REALLY feel like we belong in the same tribe.

This might seem trivial but recognizing and maintaining these bonds is important. This is why hazing rituals and group initiations are so common—you are often forcing people to need help and to help others in such a way they bond deeply with the other people in their group. Hazing rituals work because one of the most intense things people can bond over is a shared fear of something. This is particularly true for women and feminized men. It’s natural for them to seek protection within the herd, and when a herd is afraid of the same thing you are, you’re going to feel like that’s where you belong.

As I said earlier, I think we can think of COVID vaccines as part of a group initiation, a hazing ritual with the intense fear of death or pain.

For those that take the vaccine, they have a natural bond from having gone through what amounts to bodily mutilation—not just on the physical level from injecting needles into their body, but on a more profound level by injecting something that is capable of re-programming their body to do something it was never designed to do. To go through this procedure, despite the physical revulsion it might cause, takes a bit of bravery, and it links those have gone through it together.

Many people take the vaccine because they are afraid of a coronavirus infection. It doesn’t matter that the virus has a 99 point whatever percent survival rate, they have allowed the media-induced hysteria to get the best of them and because of that, they have turned to a particular tribe for protection.

And what does that tribe require? An initiation ritual—several injections of a very dangerous substance. If there was no danger, you wouldn’t see people gleefully posting pictures of band-aids on their arms all over the internet. They do this specifically because they know the vaccines to be dangerous and they want to prove their loyalty to the tribe. No one would care about walking over room-temperature coals. But light them on fire, and then people understandably are excited about having walked over burning coals. They share pictures and tell everyone how much their life has been changed for it.

COVID vaccines are especially interesting in that they present a similar sense of bonding for BOTH groups of people—those who take the vaccine, and those who don’t.

For those that don’t take the vaccine, avoiding what others claim is necessary to survive ties THEM together. While the other side may ridicule their recklessness, they revel in their bravery. In fact, the more careless and dangerous the others claim it is to NOT get the vaccine, the more those who DON’T take it bond together. The more they are persecuted, the more they lose their jobs and livelihoods and relationships with friends and family who DID take the vaccine, the more connected they feel to those who DIDN’T. Who wouldn’t feel an immense tribal bond begin to form with those who have walked through such fire alongside them?

COVID vaccines come at a time when the stability of our nation—even our world—feels shaky. People are beginning to look for the comfort and safety of tribes in all kinds of places. And the vaccines—whether you take them or not—provide the perfect mark for determining which tribe you belong to. And that is my incredible opinion.

The author disavows all violence—political, racial, and otherwise. Do not use any My Incredible Opinion® material or videos to inspire you or anyone else to commit violence. Instead, persuade and convince with nice words.