Society has always felt the need to pledge alliegance to one thing or the other as a way of validating a sense of belonging; First it was alliegance to the state in Ancient Rome, then it was alliegance to one’s god in the early middle ages, then it was alliegance to a monarch in the medieval/early modern ages, and finally alliegance to one’s nation and by an extension it’s government.
Truth-be-told, the conepts of “Nationality” and “Nation States” are fabrications – the meat that the bones of governance need to give subjects/elecorates a sense of order. What happens when people start to deviate from this illusion? We have many contemporary examples but I feel the one of Catalonia and Spain bears particular resonance here. Catalonia is an autonomous collection of provinces (Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona) in the north east of Spain that have separated from the nation as a whole because they no longer felt a sense of belonging.
This is what I think is going to happen on a much larger scale in future, and I feel the world will be much better for it.
This is what I think the next step in the evolution of society, despite how insane it sounds, is going to be: The definition of nationality and what it entails is going to be heavily challenged in the coming decades. What I mean by that is that the flow of immigration/migration between countries is going to reach such a state that it will become hard to identify members of your own ‘nationality’ and ‘culture’. Whilst those two concepts might be synonymous at the moment I seriously doubt they will be in the near future and I think this is for the best.
Historically, ‘nationality’ was a concept born in the medieval world and developed since then to what we call the ‘modern age’. It is an old concept not fit for the world as it is now; the map has been filled in, the limits of society’s development has arguably been reached, and thanks to innovations in travel people are no longer restricted to living in their homelands. And whilst it is good for some people to have a sense of attachment to a country too often ‘patriotism’ has become ‘hatriotism’ with really bad results (Nazi Germany, The Cold War, and The War on Terror). Think about it, how many times have the members of ‘hatriotism’ groups such as the British National Party (BNP) and The Tea Party been people who have never lived overseas or even left their native lands to see if the grass is greener or not for that matter? Blind national pride in today’s world is dangerous and should be consigned to the scrapheap of history – the old concept of ‘nationality’ is redundant and the sooner it is cast aside the sooner we can start moving ahead as a species.
The process will be painful but inevitable, letting go of something like national identity is never easy but is something I managed to do many years ago. Fair enough, I have a British passport with both Australian and New Zealand residency visas. However, when people ask me what nationality I identify myself with I reply with my tried and true: “I’m not British, I’m not a Kiwi, and I’m not an Aussie. I don’t belong to any single nation – I am a human being”.
I’ll wrap this up with a quote from the great George Carlin which I feel bears resonance here,
“Pride should be reserved for something you achieve on your own, not something that happens as an accident of birth.”