One nation, one world

I’ve often wondered during our travels to international destinations why the concept of my country is so important to us. In a networked age where the world has been shrunk to fit into an iPod shuffle, why are we still tied to the notion of our motherland? Isn’t it just by accident of birth that some geographical location becomes “yours”?

Why do we live in one country, but are “loyal” to another? Why do we want to use our skills and our money for “our” people first? It’s obvious that you’d feel attached to the people you grew up with, be more familiar with the customs and traditions of the region (not nation) you spent your childhood in, but as adults who have spent a significant amount of time outside of the country we were born in, why do we still hold a candle for “our” country? I fail to understand why we defer to the default in this case.

When you help the needy anywhere, it’s appreciated the same. A hungry child in India is the same as a hungry child in Ghana. A home built with love is home no matter the turf it’s built on.

I guess I’m challenging the notion of patriotism, but seriously do these possessive definitions really hold any value in today’s impoverished world? Shouldn’t one care more about the cause of humanity than the idea of nationalism? People at the very basic level are the same everywhere, with the same needs, the same desires, the same emotions … then why do we discriminate?

Why can’t we buy into the idea of “this is our world” — this is where we were born, this is where we live, and this is where we’ll help those who can’t help themselves. Period.

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “One nation, one world

  1. Bill DeVincenzi

    Mansi

    You bring up one of the two essential issues that separate peple on this planet – nationalism. The other is religion. I totally agree with the concept of Global Citizenship. But there is a much more fundamental reason and relationship. We human beings tend to look at each other as different from each other, different for all other life on this planet. In fact, we are all intimately related. We occupy the same interdependant, interreated living system on this planet. Our DNA is 90% compatible with all other life on this planet. It is esential for our survival to understand this fundamental relationship, that we are coinhabitants with all life on this planet, and that we depend on each other for our mutual wellbeing. As the earth “flattens” as Thomas Freidman states, and populations grow, and resources diminish, this fundamental relationship becomes ever more important.

  2. Vaishnavi Misra

    Strangely I have been giving this some thought recently.It is quite a coincidence you brought this up.
    Seeing a child dying in an earthquake in Haiti pains me as much as a child being orphaned in India . I would certainly have to agree with Mansi on this point that we actually should take in effect what affects us rather than where it has its roots. Patriotism has become an excuse for keeping the unwanted out and reigning over your own.

  3. So, I wish!

    You presented a problem, i.e. why we humans are bound to lands of our birth. You are seeking for a solution. Once again I do not know a unique universal answer to this. But, I think in order to appreciate any answer, we need to spend time in thinking about what created this problem. I think this attachment to birth place is a very psychological and slightly social construct. I am just thinking out loud here. We are not robots or computers, we are not always guided by logic. Because what you said it totally logical but surely not a human thing to do. This i can say based on a time history of a couple of thousand years.

    What you are asking is: so what if we are brought up with a set of predefined notions, now we are educated enough to think rationally and logically. If we find a few predefined notions to be illogical and irrational then it is the time for us to jump out of the set of the people who follow predefined notion and try to educate others (sounds like I am plotting a sketch for Matrix 🙂 I guess I will watch Matrix now, it is a fantastic fantastic movie trilogy.

  4. Rohit

    Taking this argument further would say : the world should be homogenous. Why have different languages, different food, different lifestyles ? We all value different things because we think our way of doing it is better than others. We take those values, those habits and those prejudices with us wherever we go.

    Diversity makes the world a much better place to live – and maintaining this diversity without the idea of nationalism is not possible.

    ps : Humanity and nationalism are orthogonal, and you will easily find lots of examples of people being inhumane to their “own” kind.

    • I see your point of view, Rohit but what I’m suggesting stems from the idea of one’s “patriotism” preventing serving the underserved. Poverty is a global, not local, phenomenon and yet when we think about doing something to uplift the downtrodden we tend to think of “our” people first. Who are these “our” people? Aren’t they as unkown to us as those below the poverty line in other nations? We keep waiting for the right opportunity, the right means to be able to assist those in “our” country while ignoring those who may be in the same zipcode as where we live currently.

      • Rohit

        >> “what I’m suggesting stems from the idea of one’s “patriotism” preventing serving the underserved”

        I think this is the wrong way round. Id flip it on its head and say that patriotism causes a lot more charity than it prevents; albeit for a narrower target audience – “our” people.

        Most people who use the excuse of not doing something because they are waiting for the ‘right opportunity in their country’ are really acknowledging that the only reason they will do charity is when it helps their own people. While that may not be truly altruistic, is it so bad ?

      • I’m not saying it’s bad. All I’m saying is that the notion of “our” people is just that — a notion. They’re no more “our” than the homeless guy on the streets of San Francisco.

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