Kauth & Alowan: Why We Need Each Other

Following on our recent podcast with Sebastian Junger about our shared evolutionary programming for tribal living, this week Chris meets with community-building experts Bill Kauth and Zoe Aloman, co-authors of the new book We Need Each Other.

Many PeakProsperity.com readers know that Chris has long found value in his weekly men's group. That group spawned out of the ManKind Project, which Kauth helped found back in the 1980s.

In this week's podcast, Chris, Bill and Zoe discuss the best practices and critical success factors for how to create tribal ties in our own communities. The work is not easy, but nor is it impossible. And it is incredibly rewarding.

For those looking to develop more Social Capital in their lives, this will be a particularly relevant interview to listen to:

The alienation in our culture in general with the way the whole system is designed to keep us away from each other. It is actually designed that way. I do not think deliberately, but it in terms of the kinds of pathological values that too many of us hold, it is almost like it was designed to keep us apart and alienated. We are so swimming against the current in what we are doing. 

I've studied all the research on this. It is the question that people have been asking for years: What is it that you most want in your life? Most everywhere else in the world, they always say love, family, and community. But in America, what do people go for? Money, instead of what they really want. 

One of the big learnings we had was that you cannot call a group together and build a tribe. You actually have to start with one person at a time, which requires a champion or a founder, who then has the values and the structure ready to go, and introduces and invites the next person. Those two invite one more. It sounds slow, but it is actually not that slow. It is very deliberate and it is what works. 

Click the play button below to listen to Chris' interview with Bill Kauth and Zoe Alowan (46m:57s).

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://peakprosperity.com/kauth-alowan-why-we-need-each-other/

An opportunity for men to practice?
Hope it's not too presumptuous of me to promote a men's gathering coming up soon with John Guarnaschelli. If I'm not mistaken John and Bill known to each other well.

WHEN: Fri. Afternoon, Sat., Sun., Sept 23, 24, 25, 2016.
WHERE: CAMP HI-ROCK, Mt. Washington, MA. 2 hrs N of NYC.
Mailchimp link for complete invitation text and registration info:

I've spent a lot of time trying to make community, it has not succeeded. Our culture is no longer tribal, so when you are in a group of modern people you have all new personality types. You have the narcissist who if isn't the boss causes trouble for the boss. You have the people who make everything a committee decision so nothing gets decided. You have the sociopathic and the psychopathic. You have the people on illegal drugs, and you have the people who are on over the counter drugs. You have the person who waffles on in every meeting. And you have the people who value their precious life and walk away from community when they have to deal with all of the above.
You need a filter, want to be my friend or join my community, sure pass a drug test and a sanity check. Given our modern culture that filters out about 89%. And the ones left need to unlearn a lot of lessons. They need to know their opinion doesn't matter, only the hard facts of life matter. They need to learn you get respect when you make something, grow something, build something, raise polite children; don't talk ill of people; when you contribute to the real world, in a good way. Put me in a room with people who make something of themselves, not in a room with people who take something for themselves.

I'm not even sure I pass my filter, although I try to.


Okay, this podcast was different.  My husband and I are both INTJ's and getting together with a group of other people and talking about "feelings" would be shear torture.  We both know we are introverts and so we do go out of our way to connect with family, friends and neighbors.  The old adage "to have a friend, be a friend comes to mind". If we didn't put forth an effort to connect with people we would get lost in our projects and our work. Working full time and developing a farm/homestead leaves little time or energy for soul searching or pondering feelings, not that we are inclined to though.  If asked what are we really looking for or wanting the answer would probably be a nap or more time, a massage would be really helpful.  More intimacy - we are good.
I do wish those seeking connection much success and think their book We Need Each Other could be helpful.  This podcast wasn't my cup of tea but am sure it was exactly what somebody else needed.  Love the diversity of subjects though!



I attended a New Warrior Training Adventure in 1997 and like Chris, had a transformative experience.  For me it was life changing not only because of the intense workshop but also the ongoing men's groups and circles, of which I participate nearly 20 years later. The Mankind Project is still hosting these workshops and facilitating men's groups across the US and other countries.


There's something oddly "cultish" about this.  I guess it works for some but in any society you have leaders and followers and this system just seems open to abuse by strong or manipulative leaders.  We're all individuals and any coerced suppression of of our ability to express our individuality won't work.

I suspect some are missing the point here. Whilst a tribal existence used to equate to a magical / mythical world view (spiral dynamics) most of us have evolved way past this orientation - through the traditional / mythical level, through the modern / rational level to at least the post modern inclusive pluralistic level if not integral or super-integral.
To me the point of this interview is that we will likely be going back to a much more local orientation in our lives and how we handle this is key to our future wellbeing (and that of the species). My interpretation is that building local relationships is really important but until a significant change happens most people will not see the importance - nowadays most see themselves as part of a global community. That's fine - I'm not trying to convince anyone - but after any collapse it will be good to be well positioned mentally and physically.

And having a tribal orientation does not mean we have to take on the worldview that used to apply. Live locally and think integrally is my aim

My mother told me that her parents got all their friends from church - and the way she said it conveyed that it was certainly a wonderful thing. I thought about that. They all played the same card game (sheepshead). They drank beer and every Sunday they had a German language church service. Yeah, it was a tribe. 
Of course now we have a different world. We have multiculturalism as a dominant paradigm, even within most of our churches and other institutions. And I imagine the coast of Oregon to be completely secular so perhaps they do actually need intentional groups for people that don't go to AA or NA or other 12-step meetings, etc.

Abundant fossil fuels have made it possible for people to do their own thing in their own place and - as much as we like that - there is certainly a huge downside to it. I would have preferred to hear the guest experts to put some emphasis on getting to know your closest neighbors and to first work on relationships with people in existing unintentional groups, including church, work, any relevant support groups, etc. 

Granny nailed it. There was something a bit disingenuous about this whole discussion. Chris was poking in the right direction by quoting Mr. Eisenstein comment:

 “You cannot just have community as an add on to a monetized life. You have to actually need each other.” 
Peace and contentment come from a focus outside of self. We all have struggles and search in our own ways for solutions. However, when you look to the needs of others, emotional and physical health can be the result. But should we franchise it?
They found some real healing. We never charge for that. (Bill Kauth)
None of us have all the right answers and when we think we do, that's when we run into trouble.No one has a monopoly on truth.
The man who is certain he is right is almost sure to be wrong; and has the additional misfortune of remaining so. (Michael Faraday)
You only grow from humility! Another good podcast to elicit thought and discussion.


I really appreciate the self-awareness that Chris brings to this multi-faceted project of comprehending the end of human civilization as we know it.  Facts and figures are a necessary and powerful aspect of becoming able to see what's happening, but without some kind of inner strength and good self-and-other awareness skills I don't see humans being able to hold much of a focus on such difficult material.  So it's a relief to have a community leader who is developing character, connection, perspective and community along the way.  It's so good to have mostly civil and mostly intelligent discourse here as well.
A couple of thoughts about leadership - it can be understood as a latent ability in everyone.  It can be understood by a group that each person will end up leading some aspect of the community's life and that this is a net gain for everyone.  That leaves lots of room for skill development and reduces the tendency to compete habitually.  I've seen this approach bring forward new leaders who didn't know they had it in them and who made the group much more lively and productive. 

Another power that a group has is to decide to support those carrying a leadership function.  They will encounter difficulties, including their own wounds.  These factors can make them less insightful and more dysfunctional but if they have committed, clear minded support with good interpersonal tools, there is enough safety to face dysfunctions and outgrow them. I've seen leaders get better and better over the years with this kind of support team.

Just to say that leadership does not always have to deteriorate into a destructive or deluded power game, nor is it inherently exclusive.  Other models can work.

Thanks for the interview.  It makes me aware of how scattered my posse is these days…

Cheers All -



of cultural disintegration.  It was good hear about a group of people in a committed community, and very important work that is being done, but very sad in a way that we have come to this.  That we have had to completely reinvent our cultural structures, invoking tribe as a means to create community that has all but disappeared.
We are just starting to understand the violence that we have done to ourselves based on our current set of beliefs that currently masquerade as "facts", but are still clueless to the cause.  I have railed against our current paradigm so often here that I am being to dislike the sound of my own voice.  But alas, I cannot stop myself. Survival of the fittest, competition, monetization, all products of a twisted psyche, that projects our own disorder into the world and calls them natural, part of evolution, ecology, economics, and psychology.  All facts, "markets are self regulating, therefore corruption is impossible".

We are not immoral but amoral.  We have chosen the "rational" over the good, were are all Nazi experimenters on our future generations, fretting over our retirement savings and who did what to whom as the planet burns.  So our souls starve as we fill our bank accounts and become more insane.  Are we intimate with anything anymore, a friend, our own bodies, the earth beneath our feet, the wind on our face, the blue sky in the morning, a bumble bee resting in a flower as the sun sets, our own hunger, emptiness.

How far into the dark night have we come, have we lost our way altogether. In the darkness, even without sight we can feel the vast emptiness of the abyss yawning open before us.  We wake in a sweat in the morning before we drop off the cliff, but we lead the same life, day after day, as if we had all the time in the world.  The ultimate illusion.

It seems to me that the concept of tribe used to be a more spontaneous thing, not something we had to attend workshops and learn about.  It is a little disturbing to me that they implied that some had to wait until kids were grown.  (they did mention some also having young kids while in the tribe)  Why?
Shouldn't our tribe be those we already live with?  Our families, and our neighbors, our friends, our co-workers, our church or the people we work in community with?  If we are distant and non-intimate with all the folks already in our lives, why is it that way?  Have we lived a separate life from those under our own roof?  Does the father go off to football or hunting or fishing or golf all the time and leave his wife and kids?  Does the mother only work and tend to social functions and chores?  Do the kids retreat to their phones, their computers, and behind the closed door of their bedroom as soon as they are home from school?

Why do we not already have 'tribe' we can be our true, deep selves with?  Why the need to reach out to strangers when we've maybe made strangers of those living in our own house?  It feels like we shouldn't wait to build meaningful relationships we need until the kids are grown, or some chronological goal is reached.  If we are so lacking in human contact, we need to start these same practices of transparency and intimacy with our loved ones. 

Do you have estranged relatives?  Neighbors you've never spoken to?  Co-workers you never make eye contact with?  People you never talk to in church or whatever organization you're part of?  We need to use these skills in our daily lives first, not just with people we outreach to.  If we can't even have a meaningful, honest relationship with our family, starting anew with strangers isn't going to change our personal faults or disability to connect with others.   

There are the shadows that were spoken of.  When you meet new friends, you're in a 'honeymoon' period for a while, where everything is lovely.  Then the personality faults come out over time.  We all have them.  Our family, the people we spend the most time with, already knows our faults.  If we can't deal with personal faults in family and are estranged because of it, then establishing tribe with new people is only delaying the time until they see the faults too.   

We need to improve ourselves (our faults), heal our current relationships with those already nearest and dearest to us, and learn to accept other people's faults as we hope to be accepted ourselves.  Yes, we need tribe or family or community, but sometimes it can feel like an artificial construct or a cult when it's so premeditated and contracted.

I enjoyed reading the transcript, and am glad that others are finding what works for them in their state in life, but it kept striking me as too structured and controlling.  I suppose my perspective is different.

Tribe happens naturally when people are isolated in smaller groups and placed under stress. There's a reason why companies are formed up in military boot camp in groups of 60-80. Typically these are weaned down by 10-20% by the time boot camp is complete through a relatively stressful process. When you are done, you have a tribe. An armed tribe.
One that takes orders well. 

Wouldn't be good to have the populous all tribed up though. A lot harder to control that way.

WASHINGTON STATE CONSTITUTION, SECTION 24 RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS. The right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself, or the state, shall not be impaired, but nothing in this section shall be construed as authorizing individuals or corporations to organize, maintain or employ an armed body of men.

Translation: No armed tribes for you.

Armed female tribes seem to be OK though wink

I am a long time member of a group that could be considered a tribe, of sorts, but with a specific purpose/goal as the objective.  
What I seem to be lacking these days is face to face regular association with people who believe like the people on this website, people who understand what is happening and about to happen.

Talking about three e topics with uninformed people either shuts the conversation down and gets you ostracized, or occasionally results in extreme anger.

I could benefit from a local group of people who are paying attention to what's happening.

I feel like the child who sees that the king is naked, while everyone else sees it, but has convinced themselves they don't see.  The difference here is that, saying the king is naked, isn't working and the end result of this illusion is, well, not good at all.

Thought better of it.  :slight_smile:

The underbelly of the fragmentation of society is that it is being facilitated by Cultural Marxists. 
It is true that modern mobility destroys society and the Ideal of one World Government requires the obliteration of culture. 

Social Engineers have more hubris than Central Bankers They have scrambled the eggs but they will fail to make an omelette. They will sneak out the kitchen by the back door, leaving others to clean up

The invasion of Europe is their handiwork. 



I actually lost a bit of sleep last night thinking about where we are at in this story and the fact that there is no solution as long as the majority will not act, or change.
My thoughts wandered off into "1984" and "Brave New World," as well as the little boy mentioned above.

Where I wound up is, becoming comfortable or resigned to double-think isn't a solution, because our society is not steady state one sustainable as the dystopias are in "1984," and "Brave New World."

Hence the perceived need for some form of local sanity support community.

I wonder if there is a way to locate local members of this website and other sites with similar content?