It’s interesting, our obsession with lines. We extend great pride, empathy, and support when events occur on one side—and can hardly spare attention when they occur on the other.

Perhaps it’s a question of self-interest…we can afford to offer support within a single city, state, country, or continent, but we certainly can’t take on the problems of every impoverished nation.

Or, maybe it’s a question of proximity. When a natural disaster strikes close to home, we can imagine ourselves in the devastation—can see our families affected by tragedy. But, put few thousand miles between us and destruction, and the images begin to feel like fiction.

And, if we really look backwards, it may be nothing more than our genome. Lots of animals are bred in packs, and pack life might simply be an overlooked remnant from our unevolved past.

What’s most interesting, however, is how routinely we celebrate our various forms of exclusivity.

Being a “patriot” is expected of citizens in every nation around the world. We pledge our allegiance each morning, we all hail our various hometowns as “the greatest city in the world,” and we promise ourselves that local sports franchises are destined for greatness—all because they’re ours.

In the end, it’s loyalty that grows within borders…but the most primitive—and perhaps arbitrary—form of loyalty.