Nationalism, Internationalism, or Universalism?

Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam”, meaning ‘the world is one family’, (Vasudhaiva is a compound of Sanskrit ‘vasudha’,  meaning ‘the earth’, and ‘eva’,  meaning ‘indeed is’; ‘kutumbakam’ means ‘family’; conjoined, it translates to ‘the world is one family’) is a Sanskrit phrase occurring at beginning of a verse in the Upanishad exhorting humankind to live in the consciousness of oneness, as an extended family drawing on shared resources, devoid of discrimination and affording equal opportunities, nurturing all legitimate aspirations in the true spirit of universal oneness. The entire verse, engraved at the entrance hall of the parliament of India, translates to, ‘The world is a family / One is a relative, the other stranger, / say the small minded. / The entire world is a family, / live the magnanimous./ Be detached, / be magnanimous, / lift up your mind, enjoy / the fruit of Brahmanic freedom’. Such lofty thoughts guided earlier generations of leaders, not only within the country but across geographies, resonating in words such as Harambee and Ujamaa (Swahili, meaning ‘pulling together’ and ‘extended family’) in the African continent, in The Declaration of the rights of Man and of the Citizen, in the slogan liberte, egalite, fraternite enshrined as the national motto of France, and subsequently that of American revolution,  propelled by inspired visions of Lafayette, Jefferson, Adams, Hamilton, Washington, and, nearer home, Mahatma Gandhi.

From the visionary heights of those revolutionary years that gave rise to newly independent democratic governments in several countries, with USA and India at two ends of the spectrum respectively as the world’s oldest and largest democracies, it may be worthwhile looking at current scenarios as played out in various parts of the world. On the one side is the burgeoning communalism, with organized religions ostensibly involved in the task of refining lives of people but actually machinating as power centers seeking to divide societies and exercise influence over as large swathes as possible. On the other side is the spectre of communalization vitiating and hijacking the democratic process, with political parties readily willing to appease religions by dispensing favours in return for votes. In the emerging situation, nationalism is not a glorious ideal as widely believed to be, but another garb of communalism when it is used as vehicle to advance a communal agenda.

Nationalism and communalism are thus turning out to be the ominously unpalatable flavor of the times, not merely in India but in many countries of the world, if the deep and atavistic passions that are being whipped up in the name of religion, politics, culture, ethnicity and regional affiliations are any indication.

Nationalism is the belief that one’s own country is better than all others. It sometimes leads people into a xenophobic disinclination to work with other nationalities to solve shared problems or pursue common endeavours.

It is important not to confuse nationalism with patriotism. Patriotism is a healthy pride in your country that brings about feelings of loyalty and a desire to help other citizens. Nationalism is the belief that your country is superior, without question or doubt. In some cases, nationalism can inspire people to break free of a foreign oppressor, as in India’s independence movement or in the American Revolution, but nationalism can also lead a country to cut itself off from the rest of the world.

Nationalism is a shared identity in the significance of a geographical and sometimes demographic region seeking independence for its culture and/or ethnicity that holds a particular  group together; it can expand as an expression of a belief or political ideology involving  individuals identifying with or becoming attached to a larger constituency of nationals and consequently a nation. Nationalism involves national identity in contrast with related concept of patriotism which involves the social conditioning and personal behaviors that support a state’s decisions and actions.

The political convulsions of the late 18th century associated with the American and French revolutions massively augmented the widespread appeal of patriotic nationalism. Ultra-nationalist parties sprung up in France during the French Revolution. Johann Gottfried Herder, the prophet of a form of this new creed, originated the term nationalism. Herder gave Germans new pride in their origins, and proclaimed a national message within the sphere of language, which he believed determines national thought and culture. He attached exceptional importance to the concepts of nationality and of patriotism  – “he that has lost his patriotic spirit has lost himself and the whole worlds about himself”, whilst teaching that “in a certain sense every human perfection is national”

From a political or sociological standpoint, there are two main perspectives on the origins and basis of nationalism. One is the primordialist perspective that describes nationalism as a reflection of the ancient and perceived evolutionary tendency of humans to organize into distinct groupings based on an affinity of birth. The other is the modernist perspective that describes nationalism as a recent phenomenon requiring the structural conditions of modern society in order to exist.

According to social scientists, the alternative perspective to both of these lineages comes out of Engaged theory, which argues that while the form of nationalism is modern, the content and subjective reach of nationalism depends upon ‘primordial’ sentiments.

There are various definitions for what constitutes a nation, however, which leads to several different strands of nationalism. It can be a belief that citizenship in a state should be limited to a single ethnic, cultural, religious, or identity group, or that multi-nationality in one state ought to necessarily comprise the right to express and exercise national identity even by minorities. The adoption of national identity in terms of historical development has commonly been the result of a response by influential groups unsatisfied with traditional identities due to inconsistency between their defined social order and the experience of that social order by its members, resulting in a situation of anomie, or social normlessness,  that nationalists seek to resolve.  Anomie results in a society or societies reinterpreting identities, retaining elements that are deemed acceptable and removing elements deemed unacceptable, in order to create unified and harmonious communities. This development may be the result of internal structural issues or the result of resentment by an existing group or groups towards other communities, especially foreign powers that are or are deemed to be controlling them.

“Nationalism is power hunger tempered by self-deception”, opined George Orwell. Jiddu Krishnamurti expanded the thought further in stating that, “When you separate yourself by belief, nationality, tradition, it breeds violence. One who is seeking to understand violence does not belong to any country, to any religion, political party or partial system; he is concerned with the total understanding of mankind”. Elaborating the observation in greater clarity is Rabrindranath Tagore, “There is only one history – the history of man. All national histories are merely chapters in the larger one…. I am not against one nation in particular, but against the general idea of all nations. What is the Nation? It is the aspect of a whole people as an organized power. This organization incessantly keeps up the insistence of the population on becoming strong and efficient. But this strenuous effort after strength and efficiency drains man’s energy from his higher nature where he is self-sacrificing and creative”.  Almost echoing the sentiment nearer time is the statement of Daniel Fried, an American diplomat, “Nationalism is like cheap alcohol. First it makes you drunk, then it makes you blind, then it kills you.”

With such a multiplicity of profoundly perspicacious views overwhelmingly weighing against nationalism, it prompts the question as to why there are so many nations on the face of the earth? A hundred and ninety-five sovereign states, according to recent count of the UN. The list can expand to 201 if another six partially recognized states that include Taiwan are added. The obvious answer is it stems from the basest human lust for power and pelf, in addition to the primordial and modernist theories cited as causative factors giving rise to formation of nations, virtually ring-fencing planet earth into innumerable borders, enclosing nation states of various sizes, engendering the apparent feeling in smaller states of being stymied by larger countries.  With the end of Cold War a quarter century ago, the predominant feeling was that the world would trend towards greater coalition and unity, setting the stage for confederations and liberal democracies to flourish.  Glimmers of hope were seen in demolition of the Berlin Wall culminating in unification of Germany, and in the grouping together of disparate countries across Europe into EEC. The salutary effect of these developments started wearing out with parochial considerations  dictating division of few countries in eastern Europe and the air progressively filling up to gathering beats of Grexit, Brexit and other discordant sounds. The largest two democracies are witnessing surges of nationalistic passion and ‘trumped’ up demands in support of racial purity and supremacy, and protectionism. Large sections of population are feeling isolated, unable to come to terms with higher levels of competition in a globalizing world, unable to reconcile with mass migration of humanity from war torn regions to havens of safety, unable to perceive that real strength lies in inclusiveness and diversity. Some of the monotheistic religions are finding it difficult to reconcile with erosion in larger numbers of followers drifting away, disenchanted by too much ritualistic sermonizing and dogma and too little spirituality. Yet others are intent on wreaking havoc using religion as camouflage for nefarious activities of crime syndicates, calculated at building territories of power and riches.

A doctrine that a particular national culture and interests are superior to any other, or that nations should act independently, rather than collectively, to attain their goals, can only be borne out of divisive mindsets which over a period of time assume the forms of chauvinism, jingoism, super-patriotism and ultra-nationalism militating against the aspirational concept of a closely knit world of increasingly closer associations and information highways, where the need to work co-operatively on common goals assume greater significance than obsessions over narrow differences and vested interests. Today the world is on the cusp of what can really be considered to be the fourth industrial revolution, that is changing lives everywhere with all speed. Billions of people are already linked like never before through electronic devices enabling unprecedented connectivity and access to information. There is a staggering confluence of emerging technology breakthroughs, covering wide ranging fields such as artificial intelligence, robotics, the internet of things, biotechnology, 3D printing, nanotechnology, energy storage and quantum computing, to name a few. Many of these advances are reaching an inflection point as they build and amplify each other in a fusion of technologies across the physical, digital and biological worlds, resulting in profound shifts across all industries marked by emergence of new business models, disruption of incumbents and transformation of production, consumption and delivery systems. On the societal front, a paradigm shift is changing lifestyles, behaviours and attitudes where the only compulsion is growth, consolidation, and further growth. There is a steadily expanding tribe of global communities focused on driving growth and prosperity and building sustainable environments.

Given the trend towards higher scales and globalization, and the need for stable environments to sustain it, the ideal solution would be for the smaller nation states to dissolve their identities wherever possible by consolidating into lesser number of larger countries, resulting in reduced number of borders, facilitating easier movement of people between regions. It is indeed wonderful to visualize a prospect of the seven continents progressively reducing to lesser number of countries in turn distributing resources across wider arcs, dissolving more borderlines and minimizing prospects of skirmishes and warring across borders. Reduced conflicts enable diversion of huge resources towards development and welfare measures. Sustainability of such larger confederations over long term is dependent on governance ensuring that all communities across its jurisdiction are recipients of fruits of development, also enjoying equality of opportunities. Hence let boundaries be eliminated, let the small be abandoned for the vast, as life dwells in expansion, not in contraction. As long as the feeling of nationalism remains alive, conflicts are inevitable. There are heritage monuments in India carved out of entire mountains over several millennia, the construction of which is believed to have happened with participation of extra-terrestrial intelligence, lending credence to the possibility of civilizations in planets other than the earth, also pointing to potential inter-planetary conflicts in future, narrowing down the scope of nationalism and internationalism. Our perspectives, therefore, need to widen to transcend nationalism, resting not in internationalism but universalism. The cosmic power that permeates the universe did not envisage a divisive perspective. Every event and form of life in nature is all encompassing and sustaining of a larger order; the cosmic sentiment is the true unifying force that shall strengthen humanity to overcome bondage, tear down narrow walls of fissiparous tendencies. The cosmic ideology is based on the absolute truth, which is not confined to time, space or any individual. When the limited mind accepts the infinite principle as its goal, it undergoes a 360 degree expansion in a psycho-spiritual progress attainable through regular spiritual practice. The cultivation of a spiritual outlook will not reinforce boundaries between nations but will lead to the establishment of a universal state, a borderless world bound by a common thread of benevolence and unity.

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47 thoughts on “Nationalism, Internationalism, or Universalism?

  1. I love this quote:

    ‘The world is a family / One is a relative, the other stranger, / say the small minded. / The entire world is a family, / live the magnanimous./

    You’re lucky to have that carved on your government entrance hall — that place of transition.

    Over here in the US most of us are hoping to avoid ending up with a government leader who holds the opposite view.

    And these small minded people don’t realize that seeing and treating others as strangers ends up backfiring on them.

    • Thanks Georgia for giving your views. Please be discussing these issues at various fora in your circle to ensure right message informing public opinion… Happy Easter to you and yours.

  2. Raj, what a fantastic read. Your quote “Nationalism is like cheap alcohol. First it makes you drunk, then it makes you blind and then it kills you.” speaks directly to my American nation. I’m proud to be an American, but I am disappointed with where we are going as a society. America is in the blind stage rapidly heading towards death because of the entertainment masquerading as the media and vice versa. Generations of people remain uneducated, blindly being lead by the powerful and wealthy influences they aspire to be in order to feel superior. This downward spiral will continue and we’re slowly killing large portions of our society, mainly the poor, by restricting access to basic human needs such as access to healthy foods, clean energy, safe, affordable housing and higher education. We continuously tell generations of Americans that we as a nation are superior because we have the means to consume everything with luxurious abundance and with the attitude that says that poor societies aren’t worthy of existing because they cannot afford the latest and greatest. Ultimately the idea of nationalism needs to change to the concept of humanism in order to transcend into universalism.

    • Thanks very much Erinn, for your informed response capturing the essence of it all. America is going great guns on several counts. The main issue seems to be that governance is increasingly under the control of upper crust of society, which is the bane of other democracies as well. There has to be a policy framework in place to ensure elections are insulated from the influence of big money. It is bound to happen in the not too distant future.

  3. Such an interesting read, Raj. The verse you shared at the start is something positive, something hopeful and above all, fact. The entire world is indeed family. We all long to live in peace and harmony and get along with our neighbours near and far.

    Thanks for sharing the difference between patriotism and nationalism. I’ve always confused the two, but you put it so plainly. Agree with you nationalism can be a bit of a complex term. I think the latter is more associated with politics and how we see ourselves as a country.

  4. A thought-provoking, elegantly-argued, and astute analysis of the divisiveness of nationalism, Raj. Yet I wonder if it is really possible to unify the world without profound shifts in consciousness.

    My concerns arise from an admittedly narrow view of history (https://carolahand.wordpress.com/2015/05/18/differential-power-and-indian-child-welfare-part-three/). When I explored the mechanisms and consequences of colonial oppression for Ojibwe people in the United States, it was clear that imposing political structures based on differing values and beliefs actually intensified factionalization at all levels. It leads me to believe that a sense of oneness can’t be imposed from outside, particularly by a dominant religious or political power. The question for me became at that point how to raise awareness about our oneness, like the cells of a body, different but all essential for the health and survival of the body.

    Each culture evolved in a unique environment and the lessons learned about life and the world are all essential to the well-being of the whole. How do we raise awareness and each find our own connection to source so we can live in peace with each other, expressing our full potential for the well-being of all? This was one of the fundamental beliefs of the Ojibwe. The ceremonies that sustained that knowledge and practice for millennia were outlawed to homogenize a melting-pot nation. All I can do is to try to live in accordance with this knowledge to the best of my ability and be grateful for those who raise the crucial questions you have posed here, Raj.

    • The world has grown with nationally divided mindsets, over several centuries of social and political conditioning. As a result, the idea of nationhood and the compulsion to fall in line with such patterns have almost become part of our psyche. Hence there is no possibility of sudden shifts in deeply entrenched perspectives and attitudes. That does not mean such a scenario is bound to continue for ever. It may probably remain so for the near term with someone ‘trumping’ up proposals for a wall across US-Mexican border and elsewhere for every Berlin Wall being torn down. Over the long term, however, no force can stop the transformation to accommodate aspirations of humanity for inclusiveness and security. The advances in technology, forging connections and enhancing the reach of people everywhere, are speeding the world towards a situation where barriers of geography and culture are dissolving to the extent of integrating instead of dividing people. The smaller states will have to perforce merge with bigger entities and the bigger ones will have to further consolidate into still larger formations. We will not live to see it, but future generations appear to be set for it. With Easter greetings to you and yours, Carol, and many thanks for your observations.

  5. This is a marvellously comprehensive and erudite essay, Raj; so much so, that one hardly knows how to offer a general comment. Let me just pick up on your exchange with Errin in which you say: “There has to be a policy framework in place to ensure elections are insulated from the influence of big money. It is bound to happen in the not too distant future.” Now, here is the central issue to my mind, as I see no way that the corporate sponsorship of political agendas is going to be overcome. The legislators are the elected, and the elected are so due to their power to influence the electorate (obviously), and which is expensive to do, even with Social Media. That expense is met by overt or covert corporate donations. There is a circle of influence here, such that gaining the necessary legislation “to ensure elections are insulated from the influence of big money” would demand the breaking of this circle. This clearly would not happen as a gesture of goodwill from either the corporates or those holding power in office, as it would destroy the very reason for, and actuality of, their current state of existence. It can only therefore – I think it true to say – be opposed in disobedience, or (hopefully not) violence (which would fail). This is loosely the theory put forward by Chris Hedges in his book Death of the Liberal Class, and which I think I have mentioned before to you. My question then, is how is the influence of what you call ‘big money’ going to be stopped; what is the mechanism by which corporate entities and their servants in public office will be distanced from influencing the democratic process?

    • Glad that you grasped the central point at issue here, Hariod. For elections to be fully free and fair, the nexus between politicians and big donors, be it corporate or any other vested interests, has to be broken, and irrevocably at that. That prompts the question as to wherefrom will political parties source the huge funds required to fight elections? Well, the funds must be provided by the state in proportion to size and representation of the respective political party. Also, the election expenses of all candidates must be closely monitored and audited as it is already happening in India, whereby there is a limit on the amounts candidates can spend. There is also state surveillance keeping an eye on black money during the run up to elections. The only thing that needs to be in place in India is state funding. This issue is part of the current discourse in India. It may not happen tomorrow. But it will surely fall in place in due course of time. And once it does happen in the largest democracy that is India, other democracies around the world will take the cue and follow suit. The point I like to stress is that nothing is impossible. Today’s world is nothing more than a global village, where territories and identities are increasingly irrelevant and anachronistic. Amidst all the chaos that are the handiwork of a few extremist fringes, there is a groundswell of harmonising influences expected to attain critical mass and accelerate proceedings towards larger concerns of mankind. Do nurture such hope and direct your thoughts and actions into those frontiers…best wishes… Raj.

    • Wonderfully written response Hariod. I too had the same questions that you mentioned. I think one way to help influence future change is to decrease our reliance on big corporations for basic needs like food. Strange concept, I know, but when people commit to supporting local family farms and small co-ops, they become part of a caring and informed community that can be used for policy education and action. We all know that the main media outlets have their own political agendas, so we must move on to the next thing that occupies most people’s time and that’s eating. More and more people are looking to eating higher quality foods for health reasons and this fact can be used as a way to get the word out about the social and political changes that will benefit us all.

      • Thankyou very much for reading my brief thoughts, Errin, and may I say I both enjoyed, and benefitted from, reading yours – I too am a humanist, and whilst largely a pragmatist, to some extent share Raj’s idealism. Now, I very much applaud the idea you put forward of spurning the corporates when it comes to food – albeit not so easy with other public goods such as energy, finance, transport, and so on, all of which I believe should be embraced with Nationalised [i.e. publicly owned] entities as a counter-balance to rampant Neoliberalist corporatism. Your idea has echoes of Consumer Co-operatives and even, perhaps, Anarcho-Syndicalism. One problem that may be faced here in England is that small, family-owned farms are increasingly becoming subsumed within larger agri-businesses, and so the options for supporting the former are diminishing. That said, then farmer’s markets are very much on the increase in a bid for small-scale food-producers to remain viable, and this is a very positive trend, I think. As always, major change comes from action down at the grass roots level, and it is encouraging that the public are supporting small food producers in this way. Just on a related note, have you seen the film Food Inc.? I suspect you may have, but would highly recommend it if not, in light of your apparent sphere of interests. All best wishes, and many thanks, Hariod.

      • Hariod…Your suspicions are correct. I have seen Food Inc. I saw it in 2008 when I, and the rest of the world, were struggling through the global financial crisis. Food Inc. inspired me to take control of one aspect of my life when I was feeling helpless and frustrated. Eight years later, I have a indoor and outdoor garden that produces most of the vegetables and fruit that my family consumes everyday. Additionally, I share my crops with neighbors and friends which gives me the opportunity to educate them on the topics Raj wrote so eloquently about. I too agree that the trend of small scale food producers is positive. My co-op that is made up of “backyard” farmers that sell at farmer’s markets. We also donate our time to teach others how to set up a small scale garden, how to compost and why it is important to decrease our dependence on corporations for food. Referencing the global financial crisis causes people to listen and support the change due to the fact that most have struggled tremendously during the global crisis. Our little neighborhood of small scale farmers is steadily growing each year with workers from all walks of life needing to gain control of a part of their lives when government takes it away.

      • Your set-up sounds idyllic Errin, and I shall subscribe to your blog to perhaps learn more about your work and philosophy there. In the meantime, I send you and your family my very best wishes, as well as my thanks to you for this exchange.

      • A word of thanks to Hariod and Erinn, for being inspired to expatiate on a few other social concerns arising out of unbridled spread of consumerism driven by market economies as tellingly depicted in ‘Food Inc’. The only way out is to curb consumption by switching to simpler and sustainable lifestyles, encouraging farmer co-operatives, egging households to grow their own organic vegetable gardens, and, wherever possible, promoting products of local entrepreneurs instead of those of mega corporates and multinationals. The practice must extend to all FMCG items, not just limited to branded food products. The idea is to reduce the stranglehold of big business as much as practicable. In all these contexts, the ideals of simpler lifestyles, prudent consumption, organic farming by households and local co-operatives, shift to healthier vegetarianism, electing socially committed leaderships and eliminating all possibilities of big money influencing the democratic process, are all imperatives whose time has come. Please start being these changes at your individual levels. Those ripples will become huge waves of societal transformation…best wishes.

  6. Ragagopal,
    Thank you again for an article that engenders much thought on the part of readers such as myself. Universalism means to me the recognition that humans everywhere have the same basic needs and desires, and that every person is obliged to acknowledge this and support a system that functions to provide these throughout the globe.
    There are those who seek power and prosperity by sowing seeds of fear and insecurity among those who would benefit most from a move toward universalism. Fear mongers encourage people to believe they need to protect privileges they can only allegedly continue to enjoy by strengthening their borders, maintaining a national economic system that favours a particular race and/or religion, and adopting a militaristic form of policing. What many of these people don’t understand is that fear makes puppets of them, causing them to advocate a reduction of their own rights and liberties with means such as the so-called “Patriot Act” in the USA.
    With Easter combining historical pagan beliefs with Christian beliefs to celebrate awakening and the arrival of light around the time of the vernal equinox, perhaps we can all reflect on this day the deception fear mongers perpetrate and awaken to the truth that we are all one family.

    • Great summation of salient points discussed in the post, Connie. In your own way’ you will make a difference when you shun parties with divisive agenda and objectives, and promote those favouring inclusiveness and development in every election. The concerted action of every citizen counts and will drive transformation in the long run. Otherwise the world will continue to be stuck in the morass of anachronistic conventions like nations and nationalism, which Einstein dubbed as “an infantile disease, the measles of mankind”. Thanks for dropping by and joining in the discussion.

  7. A great post Raj it says so much and there is much that needs saying.
    Right understanding,as you are aware, is a Buddhist concept, with understanding of the true nature of things a lot of our problems would diminish.
    Your explanation of nationalism and patriotism I thought was a good point.
    Like a walled garden, this is mine keep out, as apposed to I love and am privileged to live in natures lush garden.
    This poem is patriotism https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o5bNhQrKay0
    You writing I agree with, if I am right, it is along the lines of
    John Lennon’s song ‘Imagine’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t_YXSHkAahE
    I have not the ability or the dedication to clearly explain as you have in this post.
    Like Arnold Schwarzenegger ” I’ll be back to reread this post and all peruse all the thoughtful comments it has provoked.
    As for dedication I am off to the Gym Health and happiness, but contentment I will settle for, is my dedication.
    If I do not look after myself I will become a liability for others to have to care for.
    I always manage to fine an excuse for being selfish. 🙂 _/\_

  8. Thanks for coming in, jack. Taking care of yourself is liking yourself and your others at the same time. By staying well, you are making yourself available to your family and your wider circle, while also exemplifying as an epitome of good and right living…best wishes.

  9. “The world is one family.” Would we be too naive or unrealistic to believe this is possible? What a great, informative post, Raj! When my husband and I were married in 1989, as much as we wanted children, we debated whether or not to bring a new life into our crazy world, even back then. Needless to say, we have a son and daughter, both in their twenties, and now with the way violence is dominating life (with no geographical place exempt), I feel bad for their future and the future generations to come. On the flip side though, they’re both “good young adults” so maybe they can make a difference, provide some calm to outweigh the craziness. That is the bright side I hold onto.
    As we know, there is always something significant to deal with in each generation; war is not a new concept to our world, but these times right now seem scarier than past tragedies, not to negate those memories though. Social media, I believe, plays a large role, as well, and offers a vital impact, positive or negative. I can’t comment on everything you touched on here because I’d have to re-read this many more times. 🙂 But these thoughts came to mind right away. My family tries to keep the faith and hope alive in all aspects of life. Wishing you a peaceful and fun weekend…

    • Glad to read your thoughts on the subject, Lauren. The world is more than the illusory definition provided by sensory perceptions. The bottomline is only the history of man and the family of man.

  10. Raj what a timely and eloquent read. Like Mabel I didn’t have a clear understanding of nationalism vs patriotism. Thank you for explaining it. We are bombarded with media in Canada of the US election. Frankly it seems frightening some of the things that are said. ‘The world is one family’-what a beautiful thought. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if that truly could be embraced?

  11. It amazes me that human beings had such wisdom and knowledge in the past, and that somehow, we managed to forget it. Everyone is so busy looking ahead to the future, if they would only take some time to look back to our roots, they might see the answers are already there. I despair, watching the circus in the US, and the terrorism unfold all around us. How can people really believe that such things are right, or their only option? The world is one family… Yes, but you know what they say about that, you can pick your friends but you can’t pick your own family, and that is how I feel sometimes, when I see what people are prepared to do to each other. I would not choose them to be part of my family. A very interesting and topical post Raj, thank you.

    • Thanks Ali. There is, unfortunately, not much of learning from the past, resulting in a world with greater knowledge but lesser discretion, too much of material comforts and too little happiness, more selfishness and acquisitiveness and less of love and accommodation, destined to live in conflict, having ignored the lessons of history and wisdom of the past.

  12. It that were to happen, i would be the happiest person on earth. The reason being, i could move around freely, without the need for any Visa (or at least not as stringent as it is right now for some countries). What a bliss for my global travels 🙂

    Jokes apart – this is a grave situation. Unless we as individuals think about what we are doing or how our actions impact others, we can’t work in harmony. So, the onus is on us!

    • Thanks Alok. To repeat the view mentioned in my response to earlier comments, the world needs to grow in the consciousness of oneness, to a point that made Isaac Asimov proclaim several decades ago, ‘I never considered myself a patriot, I like to think I recognize only humanity as my nation’.

  13. Dear Raj.. I am much later arriving here than I intended.. Apologies

    What a very profound post.. With so many wonderful quotations..
    I particularly was drawn to this quote of
    Rabrindranath Tagore,
    “There is only one history – the history of man. All national histories are merely chapters in the larger one…. I am not against one nation in particular, but against the general idea of all nations. What is the Nation? It is the aspect of a whole people as an organized power.
    This organization incessantly keeps up the insistence of the population on becoming strong and efficient. But this strenuous effort after strength and efficiency drains man’s energy from his higher nature where he is self-sacrificing and creative”.

    I quite agree… Along with your following quote from Daniel Fried.. As it makes us drunk and blind then kills us..

    You go on to further explore the ” Glimmers of Hope” when the Berlin wall came down and Europe started to merge as one.. It now begs the question at what stage does a ‘Nation’ get too big.. And lose sight of their citizens within their countries.. As you rightly bring to light the Brexit now being discussed..

    I loved how you spoke of
    ” a paradigm shift is changing lifestyles, behaviours and attitudes where the only compulsion is growth, consolidation, and further growth. There is a steadily expanding tribe of global communities focused on driving growth and prosperity and building sustainable environments.”

    This is what gives me hope for communities of tomorrow Raj.. Despite what our Media shows us of our separate divisions giving us our various labels.. At the grass roots when people are thrown in the thick of surviving we do all learn to pull together..

    We are brought up divided and controlled into thinking we can not share.. And if we do we will go wanting.. Countries are no different.. And what is happening right now upon the Bulgarian boarder with refuges is awful to witness.. As if these people who seek refuge have not suffered enough along their long journey to get to some safe haven.

    I echo your visualisation of reduced boarders ‘minimizing prospects of skirmishes’..

    You are such a wise man Raj.. Understanding so much..
    And this paragraph is just wonderful Raj..

    Our perspectives, therefore, need to widen to transcend nationalism, resting not in internationalism but universalism. The cosmic power that permeates the universe did not envisage a divisive perspective. Every event and form of life in nature is all encompassing and sustaining of a larger order; the cosmic sentiment is the true unifying force that shall strengthen humanity to overcome bondage, tear down narrow walls of fissiparous tendencies. The cosmic ideology is based on the absolute truth, which is not confined to time, space or any individual. When the limited mind accepts the infinite principle as its goal, it undergoes a 360 degree expansion in a psycho-spiritual progress attainable through regular spiritual practice. The cultivation of a spiritual outlook will not reinforce boundaries between nations but will lead to the establishment of a universal state, a borderless world bound by a common thread of benevolence and unity.

    I can not end on a better note..

    I am pleased I waited now to really read in depth all of your post Raj..
    I was so impressed with your thoughts..

    Blessings to you and yours..

    Sue

    • Immaterial whether you are here early or late, Sue. What matters is your viewpoint on the subject, which is exactly in line with my expectations. These thoughts must move forward with full thrust to transform societies everywhere. Thanks for your time.

  14. Hello Raj, In particular I was struck by the differences you pointed out between nationalism and patriotism. I believe we are all one nation under God and that He loves us equally. As you explain, nationalism comes with many risks and superiority is not the humane answer… Your posts often leave my mind thinking deeper and this time is no exception! I mean that as a compliment 😉 Thanks for always being open to share your thoughts with us!

  15. A thought provoking post. We live in a world divided by borders, and sometimes what is patriotic on this side of the border is classified as anti-xyz country on the other side of the border. Wiping borders drawn on a piece of paper is not possible, but peaceful co-existence is the need of the hour. But for that to happen we need to find peace within ourselves, and with our immediate family members.

  16. I really enjoyed reading your post. I strongly believe that what the world needs to be unifies, now more than ever. For so long we’ve all done “This is mine and I’ll kill you to protect it”. Its ridiculous. We’ve come to such a beautiful era of globalization. Yet we’re going back in time and repeating history – one filled with just blood, hatred, and war. I recently wrote a piece on nationalism too (https://thesocialmatter.blog/2016/12/02/nationalism-is-here-to-haunt-us-again/).
    I would love for you to read, share, and express the idea of one world, before several nations. Cheers

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