The Intertribal Metahighway
NOTES / A character sheet for our real-world character 

What is this?

It’s an attempt to merge the memetic tribes spreadsheet that Peter Lindberg and Conor Barnes posted a while back with the work Deepa Iyer has been doing with mapping roles within the social change ecosystem, and then turning it into a real-world character sheet (madlib-format inspired by Quest) that represents our unique identity / contribution to the current problems of the world. 

What is the meaning of the intertribal metahighway?

I was thinking about how the interstate highways were one of the first innovations that connected people from disparate geographies, giving open access to cultures that they may never have run into before. With them, a “rules of the road” emerged that governed behavior and relations in this new liminal space. Much later, the “information superhighway” did the same thing in the world of information, but with fewer norms regarding helpful rules of the road. We haven’t built much infrastructure around actually traveling between tribes in a safe way, but if we did it would probably require a new metaphor for the kind of world we live in. If we more proactively and consciously developed “norms for traveling the intertribe metahighway” it might open up new ways to relate to people in different tribes, and new ways for groups to related to each other. 


Character Madlib

This madlib may be different for different tribes, but this one assumes you’re at least friendly with the social justice tribe. Feel free to modify if it doesn’t feel right to you.

Hello, my given name is _____ (pronouns: _____).
I’m _____ years old and stand _____ tall. 
When people meet me, the first things they notice are _____, _____, and _____.
I’m often wearing _____ and _____, and I always carry _____. 
My demeanor can be generally described as _____.
I’m from the _____, _____, and _____ tribes, and also lend my support to most people in the _____, _____, and _____ tribes. 
Within these tribes I act as a _____, _____, and _____.
I often disagree with people of the _____, _____, and _____ tribes.
And am particularly good at _____ and _____.
I’m not very good at _____. 
I want to believe _____, but fear _____.
On the intertribal metahighway, I go by _____.

When people meet me, they first notice my _____, _____, _____.

Borrowed from Quest’s character-building sheet…

  • Body
  • towering physique
  • barrel-sized belly
  • generous curves
  • sculpted hair
  • stout stature
  • freckled skin
  • lanky limbs
  • other: _____
  • Face 
  • gaunt face
  • fulsome cheeks
  • knee-length beard
  • devastating smile
  • windswept face
  • manicured fuzz
  • ridged forehead
  • timeworn face
  • romantic eyes
  • severe jawline
  • skeptical eyes
  • radiant smile