The Next Step?

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.”

 

6 comments

  1. Catalonia isns’t autonomous, none of the regions of Spain are – that’s what ETA is/was all about. The divisions have been healed somewhat since Spain won the World Cup in 2010 – that might sound facetious, but sporting achievement has a history of doing this (short term at least – see also: Honduras). You make an intersting point, but I think what we’re seeing is not the decline of nationality so much as the expected impact of the various ills the world is currently suffering, particularly economically and militarily. The Nazi rise to power was predicated on a weak Weimar democracy being apparently incapable of resolving German economic problems such as hyperinflation and the impression that they’d sold out the German people. Fringe extremists are invariably given to hijacking the terminology of patriotism or religion as applicable. When times are tough, they tend to get more traction and airtime. It’s pretty despicable, but likely to be a permanent curse.

    1. I was considering mentioning ETA, thanks for doing so yourself! I was considering using the current political situation in Scotland as an example as well, do you think that might hold more ground?
      I’d be more inclined to think that Spanish dominance in football is only a temporary fix, an effort to paper over the cracks if you would. Still you are right here again.

      My brief mention of Nazi Germany is pretty much what you elaborated on as well, the comparisons that can be made to it’s rise in power to that of modern fringe groups are alarming. The results of this trend are horrifying and is the biggest reason why nationalism promoting a sense of entitlement and supremacy needs to die.

      I’d like to see people have more faith in their fellow man rather than blindly hate them because they think their instilled sense of nationality makes them superior, I really think we could start achieving more as a species if we do this.
      Idealistic maybe, but I’d like to have some measure of hope for the future!

      Cheers for the input as ever’

      1. You’re not wrong about what we could achieve as a species if we collectively dropped all the dogma. There’s nowt wrong with a bit of idealism. Cheers

  2. Thought Provoking – What would happen to flags, passports and national costumes?

    1. Hmmm… not really sure. Throwing them all away would be silly and there would need to be a period of transition. I suspect that what I am predicting is what might become of the European Union if it survives long enough to see out the next decade and is frankly what I admire the most about it.
      I cannot fault the EU for trying to promote a sense of unity, even if it is just continental unity – it is still the first step on what I think could be be something much greater.

      I think that the essence of “Culture” will survive; things such as British pubs, the royal family, native cuisine and so on. There really is a big difference between “Nationality” and “Culture” despite the two frequently being used in conjunction with each other – “Nationalism” needs to fade out leaving “Culture” to flourish.

  3. PhantomTrigger · · Reply

    Glad to see university has been thought-provoking for you, thus far. Very interesting article; it will be interesting to find out if you are right (I think if it happens, it may well be in our life time).

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