“It was all dark, gloomy and sticky. I was floating around in a desolate place with barely enough room for me to crouch and fit into the small confined place. During my entire stay I was fed using a tube and had to survive – without even a touch of sunlight. When I finally made my way out, I chose to land in the country of my choice.”
Well, this is obviously from a tale which never happened, simply because none of us got to choose where we popped up; and yet we always tend to have this sense of pride hovering around the location of our birth!
There more I think about it, the more it fascinates me; When humans stopped foraging and instead started farming and as a result began settling down instead of wandering- the first thoughts of association based on settlements started to appear. Along with civilization, which has evolved and still continues to evolve exponentially, the notions of patriotism and nationalism have grown too.
Right from our schooling days we are taught to love our country, to love those who fought for the freedom of our country, those martyrs who died waging wars for the country- and often unknowingly and perhaps unwillingly most of us tend to develop a sense of patriotism; a sense of nationalism, which prevades through the rest of our lives. Many of us thus tend to become obstinate and refuse to, even question the ideologies instilled inside of us.
There are many other hidden factors which begin to surface as people grow up and are exposed to more truths; There are two routes from here. Prejudice towards citizens of other countries without basing their views on facts, is one option. This is like choosing to live in the dark, gloomy place, even when we could be exposed to bright sunshine. The other option is inculcating a tradition of understanding that, behind the uniforms of every military personal, there is a human being, just as you and me. Unfortunately however, the trend today seems to be set by those choosing the former option and as a result waging wars in the name of countries, religion and what not?
Given that humans are indeed animals, and that animals tend to be social, I wouldn’t be wrong if I posited that humans too, have this underlying desire; one of wanting to feel a part of a larger social group, be it a group based on the race, the nationality, the language, the community, the religion, the sex, and this list continues to grow.
So it brings us to this question, “Is patriotism still relevant in this age of ever shrinking globalism?”.
The sense of belonging to a country/region came up as soon as humans started to civilize. This sense of association began to rise exponentially after the Industrial revolution; with so many new powerful countries capable of producing and procuring machines and goods, and hence with a flourishing economy, it would have made sense to associate with the country states. It reached it’s peak in the 19th and the 20th centuries, and that it is already on a decline.
There are thousands of other like minded people all over the world, who are increasingly beginning to voice this very opinion. It does not make much sense for us to take pride in something, where we did not have any role to play, does it? You could be proud about creating some useful tool, or perhaps helping out someone you love in a small way, or perhaps be proud of not doing anything at all the whole day(Oh wait, that’s just me! ); but the moment someone takes pride in say, being an American, I can be sure that he has not seen this post.
This issue dwells dangerously close to those of racism or sexism, just that enough light has not been thrown on this … yet. With the human race finally calming down after major wars and with all the independence struggles coming to an end, and people flying around and settling in other countries more than ever before, people have begun to realize the foolishness in discrimination solely based on the location of their birth. However, many people simply find it tough to not relate themselves to their countries. This is amusing in more ways than one. Just watch any fanatic sport fan, and you will know what I am talking about.
In India, the irony is almost comical; most of the North Indians relate more with the Pakistanis, in terms of language, culture and ancestral roots, than their fellow Indians from the South; and yet, there is an ever prevailing tension between the people of the two countries and hence the countries itself, or to the East, most of the Bengalis probably could relate better with the Bangladeshis, or perhaps if we travel further East, the locals might be able to identify themselves with people from across the border better, but the patriotism as strong as it is, prohibits them from doing so.
But is there any upside to this at all? Interestingly, many believe so, why else would such a notion have a ubiquitous presence? Consider Israel: with a population less than that of many moderately sized cities, the country; backed by probably the strongest sense of nationalism, continues to make technological advances at a much larger pace than many other countries, of course here the saying “Necessity is the mother of all inventions” does apply really well. Israel arguably is an example of what could have happen if people of a nation work as one.
Well, this seems fine, right?
Hopefully you nodded: saying “no” to that rhetorical question. If a sense of belonging is all one craves for, I only wish that he/she begins to look beyond the boundaries of the physical world. Technology has played a huge role in aiding this thought; with technology penetrating into our lives like never before, it is fading the threshold between the real world and the virtual world, and as a result, more and more people are feeling excited just to be living in today’s world, one full of opportunities, full of advancements, but most importantly- full of great humans. The sense of patriotism began to rise exponentially after the Industrial revolution, but as a result of the Internet revolution, this thought is past it’s prime and will be outdated in the centuries to come.
I know I am right in concluding that the boundaries are already fading; the notion of relating to humans as whole instead of those based on other external factors is increasing steadily. We are certainly heading towards a global civilization; one where boundaries are just what they are meant to be – markings on the ground and not in the minds of the people.
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