Sonic the Hedgehog and Thalidomide

The film Sonic the Hedgehog and the infamous medication thalidomide seem to have no correlation, yet there is something to be said about the two and that is the problem of wanting to be loved. In a world where tribalism is becoming all too common as the film Sonic the Hedgehog addressed the issue of isolation and needing acceptance is palatable. While the medication thalidomide was once touted as a miracle cure, it instead left the legacy of when a good reputation bypasses proper vetting as a cautionary tale. Together the two thoughts bring up a major problem in the world today; tribalism.


For those that have not seen the movie, the plot of Sonic the Hedgehog is basically that Sonic is lonely and eventually makes friends with the townspeople he felt isolated from. The film is an example of slowly becoming accepted by those around you by familiarity or is a classic example of why people join cults. In many ways, it all goes back to tribalism or wanting to be apart of a group where similar thinking is paramount. Tribalism can also be described as a form of compliance culture, in which members are in a constant state of proving their willingness to yield to the collective ideologies of their group. Outwardly it all seems like a warm hug bringing in the newbie, but tribalism can lead to some dark places.


To find the benefits of rejecting tribalism is to look no further than the case of Frances Oldham Kelsey a pharmacist who pushed against the entry of thalidomide into the U.S. market. She faced immense pressure from the pharmaceutical giant of the time Richardson-Merrell Pharmaceuticals Co. Had Oldham Kelsey valued being accepted and loved more than hundreds, if not thousands of lives would have had suffered for it. Wanting to be loved can be a poison with catastrophic effects when that love becomes unquestioning compliance.


The conclusion is this, value quality within your personal relationships and not quantity that involves pleasing the masses. Otherwise risk becoming a part of the wrong side of history. Humans need love, but they also have reasoning and intellect that should be exercised as often as possible in order to continue to evolve within society for the greater good. Be the Frances Oldham Kelsey in your own life, never let others exploit personal insecurity or fears of rejection to exact compliance. Tribalism is a step back in many ways from the advancements of our time. It must not become all that we are, because is selling out for a few high fives really worth it in the end?