The third tier of Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is to “love and belong”.

For hunter-gatherers this manifested itself in tribalism.

It was Seth Godin, in his book “Tribes”, who connected that to the growth of the world’s most powerful brands.

We define ourselves by the tribes to which we belong:

  • Omega/Rolex
  • BMW/Mercedes
  • Apple/Android
  • Manchester United (ouch)
  • Oliver Sweeney/Jimmy Choo
  • Bowie/Lemmy

The outpouring of emotion around the passing of Bowie is partly due to the loss of a decent human being with talent – we extend our sympathy to his family, because they alone can experience the loss of the person.

Our loss – the one that has us gather in Brixton, New York or on Facebook – is the loss of a tribal leader.

We reminisce about who WE were and where WE were when we saw him live or heard his music for the first time.

The genius of Bowie/Mercury/Lennon is that they connect us for a moment as a community.

We can forget, temporarily, that we are actually existentialist survivalists in the madness.

We mourn the passing of another tribe and, this morning, feel just that little bit less loved and less belonging.

David you leave us lonely.


Published by

Chris Barrow

Chris Barrow has been active as a consultant, trainer and coach to the UK dental profession for over 20 years. As a writer, his blog enjoys a strong following and he is a regular contributor to the dental press. Naturally direct, assertive and determined, he has the ability to reach conclusions quickly, as well as the sharp reflexes and lightness of touch to innovate, change tack and push boundaries. In 2014 he appeared as a “castaway” in the first season of the popular reality TV show “The Island with Bear Grylls”. His main professional focus is as Coach Barrow, providing coaching and mentorship to independent dentistry.