Consider the question "To what do I belong?"
It has previously been indirectly considered with respect to
generally deciding whether you: 1) go along with the crowd, trust the
authority of someone else, or are self reliant (theme #15 vs. theme
#35A), and 2) trust the collective wisdom of the people (theme #20A vs.
theme #21A). It will later
be considered with respect to your belonging to 1) family (theme #38),
and 2) co-operative efforts in the community (theme #48). But here we consider it at a higher (ethnic, national, or
#37A: Do you feel loyalty to a particular nation or
While many would privately answer "yes,"
some make public affirmations. Everyday,
millions of American school children face the flag and recite "The
Pledge of Allegiance." And
many adults proclaim "I'm proud to be an American!" (Figure
In daily conversation people often use the term nation when they
really mean nation state. The
former are defined by ethnic and cultural (which can include religious)
ties, the latter as a sovereign political unit with full authority over
its internal and external affairs.
For example, the Navaho nation exists within the USA nation
state. A nation is not
something that can form when a large group of ethnically / culturally
connected people get together (like the self proclaimed "Woodstock
Nation" of the 1969 rock concert), but rather has long history,
traditions, and national homeland.
A person exhibiting extreme loyalty and devotion to a particular nation (or
nation state), who places its interests above interests of other nations
is said to be a nationalist. The
feelings of such people are referred to as nationalism, of which two
types can be distinguished: ethnic nationalism and civic nationalism.
The former builds on hereditary, cultural, and
language ties and tends to be exclusive; the latter on the voluntary
participation of the citizens of a nation state (regardless of
ethnicity) and tends to be inclusive.
If an ethnically defined nation is not a nation state, then
attaining such politically sovereign status, or in general more self
determination, may be the overriding focus of the associated ethnic
nationalism. The Middle
East provides two such examples. 1) People of the Palestinian
nation—many living in two enclaves in Israel, others living elsewhere
in Israel, in Jordan and nearby—hope for their own nation state.
2) Kurds living
in northern Iraq have their own semi- autonomous Kurdistan, technically
still a province in Iraq, while those in southern Turkey, Iran, and
elsewhere long to enlarge the territory of Kurdistan to include all of
the traditional homeland. Their dream is to become a truly independent
Nationalism is related to 1) patriotism and 2) ethnic (or other) pride. While nationalism and patriotism invoke similar feelings, they are distinguished as follows. Unlike patriotism, nationalism defines itself by putting down other potential rivals —evoking "an aggrandizing tribalistic sentiment" in the words of Benedict Anderson—and can involve territorial aggression.
(or other) pride, in contrast, typically involves ethnically (or
otherwise) connected people (living within a nation state whose dominant
culture, lifestyle, language, etc. generally does not reflect theirs),
celebrating their heritage and common bonds.
The terms black pride, brown pride, Asian pride, etc. celebrate a
common ethnicity, whereas gay pride celebrates a common sexual
orientation and lifestyle. Such
things as sovereignty, nation status
or territorial acquisition are typically not on the agendas of
"pride" movements. Still,
to the extent that they include members of minorities who have suffered
or feel persecuted, they can pursue educational and political activity
to rectify what they perceive to be wrongs.
Here, gays and lesbians would cite laws banning homosexual
#37B: Citizenship refers to membership in a (local,
state, national, etc.)
community that brings with it certain rights and privileges and can
involve meeting certain duties. Being
a good citizen typically means working for the betterment of the
community. For a "Global Citizen," that community is the one of all
human beings and their planetary home (Figure #37b).
Many years ago, feelings of global citizenship & community
did not come as naturally as they do today.
With the dawning of the Space Age came a new
perspective—provided most famously by the "Earthrise"
image captured by Apollo 8 in December, 1968 (Figure #37c).
Such pictures help people appreciate various things: the unity of
all the life that calls this planet home, its beauty, its fragility, its
something else: there are no boundary lines dividing nations!
Many take national boundaries very seriously.
Thousands of job
seekers annually die attempting to cross the 2000 mile long
U.S.—Mexico boundary. Armed
American citizen vigilante "patriot" groups guard the border
against illegal immigration. And the U.S. government spends $ billions
building a border wall. "Global Citizens" in contrast, point
out that boundaries are manmade lines that otherwise divide those united
by a common humanity. Extending
"Global Vision" (theme #4) so this could be seen required
human technology progressing into space. Back on Earth, technological
developments drive globalization and people, information, and capital
increasingly move as if national boundaries are irrelevant.
Global Citizens dream of what some call the global village. They
imagine all people living peacefully under the authority of a world
government: nation states & boundaries no longer exist. "Proud
Identification" issues that once divided people—often so
bitterly, with such tragic loss of life—no longer do.
Global Citizens' sense of belonging
puts them at the top of the ethical behavior evolutionary pyramid.
Their global village would be founded on feelings and principles
stated in "The Golden Rule," "Valuing Human Rights,"
Orientation," "Ethical Globalization" (themes #16, #32,
#42 and #51 respectively), and other themes.
Like, John Lennon, they ask us to "Imagine..."
#37a: Contrasting Songs
of a Global Ethic
Each of us depends on the well-being of the whole, and so we have
respect for the community of living beings...Opening our hearts to one
another, we must sink our narrow differences for the cause of world
community, practicing a culture of solidarity and relatedness.
We consider humankind a family... Earth cannot be changed for the
better unless the consciousness of individuals is changed first...
Therefore we commit ourselves to this global ethic, to
understanding one another, and to socially beneficial, peace-fostering,
and nature-friendly ways of life.
the 1993 Parliament of the World's Religions, Chicago,
famous Earthrise over the lunar horizon photo was taken by the Apollo 8
crew shortly before Christmas, 1968.