Ingroups, Outgroups, Group Cohesion And The Ilongot

I read a book about the Ilongot, a tribe in the Philippines whose young men gained honor by cutting off people's heads.19 Some of these beheadings were revenge killings, which offered Western readers a motive they could understand. But many of these murders were committed against strangers who were not involved in any kind of feud with the killer. The author explained these most puzzling killings as ways that small groups of men channeled resentments and frictions within the group into a group-strengthening "hunting party," capped off by a long night of communal celebratory singing. This was my first hint that morality often involves tension within the group linked to competion between different groups.


19. Rosaldo 1980.

-- Jonathan Haidt

from "The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion"

Quoted on Mon Mar 26th, 2012