Australia Day 2021 and I’m asking myself a question, being passionate about one's country is seen as a very good thing around the world, but the question is does it divide us, is it exclusionary?
Human beings are tribal or social by nature. We see outsiders as competitors as possible threats, this evolved condition has got us to where we are today: survivors, firstly, as a means of alertness and defense, and secondly by way of competition.
Today we follow sports teams, we love our own geographical area above another, and we feel we belong when we ostracise others from a group. We thereby form a bond with each other at the expense of outsiders. It can even give us a reason for being in the group. This is a primal natural state of being for a group of humans. So, the sooner we acknowledge this and act within it, rather than against it, the better. This sense of belonging can motivate people and, properly managed, we can see many groups competing and improving.
But belonging can occur at many levels at once. We can be interwoven with multiple issues and places at the same time and still be friends. We can be a member of many groups at the same time and still distinguish between somewhat opposing priorities. There’s a difference between the cognitive abilities of our primal urges and our consciousness, we need to recognise this and exercise it.
Communities competing against communities and companies competing against companies can see great progress and shared benefits from the increased efficiencies. Opening markets in global trade has been a great example. But when you change the issue or the boundaries, the opposition changes, and your parochialism changes. Smart leaders recognise this and act accordingly, reminding all involved of the bigger picture and that in the end we are all on the same team.
This is a great example of managing the primal nature of humans and at the same time exercising consciousness or self-awareness.
I've been watching the Australia day citizenship ceremonies today and I must say that none of the words used were exclusionary in fact very inclusionary but by the mere fact you become a group within the world population, then others are not included .
Maybe one day in the very far future the human race can be as one but as far as the political landscape goes today, we are divided into slightly over 200 different countries around the globe. These human-made boundaries provide opportunities for competition improvements in efficiency and the possibility of world peace. However, to achieve world peace we all need to be conscious of our emotions towards our country, conscious of each other and respectful of the allegiances of others.
This will take discipline and control over the way we act and react especially on the part of our leaders. Fortunately, we are quite capable of this and World Peace with healthy competition it's quite possible and in fact the 21st century so far has proven this so far.
So, the answer to the above question, is patriotism just exclusionism is yes, but with caveats, those being that we can chose to include at different levels, multiculturalism and acceptance are proof. Not being blind to the control we have over our emotions is the power we have to live together in peace for ever.