Intellectually, the first world would say, we have a global economy,
shared responsibility for climate change and that every country has a sporting chance to compete in the World Cup.

I want to pose a simple question; can humans think globally? During the World Cup…

we have all been passed by cars sporting one or two polyester flags on plastic poles attached to their doors. This is a symbol of patriotism and national identity . This is evidence of people wishing to belong to a group. In this example, that group is their country.

Again there is a question; is there something for humans to think nationally about? Is a nation a useful or usable social unit?

I want to attack this from another perspective. If we look at history, maps and diversity then our understanding of a country being one fixed place with one fixed people falls apart pretty rapidly. 150 years ago Italy and Germany were not countries.  Belgium and Pakistan were made up.   In London, there are more than 300 different ethnic groups and a quarter of the children born now have parents who were born elsewhere. There is nothing very fixed about this.

An interesting reason for countries existing, is the need for us to feel we have something in common with those around us. The definition of the space around us various. 1000 years ago it would have been how far you can walk in the day. 150 years ago it would be how far you can travel by train in the day. Nowadays the BBC seems to report from anywhere and everywhere.

Have we invented countries to simplify and digest difference so that we feel safer; so that our fear and stress levels are reduced? Was not the EU and the “Eurozone” formed as an economic bridge of cooperation to foster the prosperity of people and therefore avert a repeat of the scarcity-based causes of World War II?

So the larger bodies – the EU, countries or the carbon space are a fiction that allows expression of our higher drives and goals.   Intellectually, we can talk about dollars and carbon but emotionally, we need to feel secure enough at home in order that this debate continues and does not become too selfish and nasty.

There are a lot of assumptions that must be made for this to occur and we must swallow and accept the fiction of countries in order to make progress.

Country theory is written by the winners and has been undermined by the sub-prime American banking crisis, which could still take us all down. When time are tough, we think more about ourselves and a lot less about others.

Even before America’s partial economic meltdown, most of the world could not participate in the economic prosperity that the few took for granted.

There is not one world. There is not a global anything and countries are an artifice, an idea, and a convenience.

Is there another way to promote healthy human behaviour by the “haves” and to protect the interests of the “have-nots”? And how can we avoid the negative basic drivers taking over; competition, domination, and war?

Food for thought.

by Matthew Hill

Matthew Hill trains groups in Raising Cultural Awareness and International Teamwork. 07813 760 711

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This entry was posted on Thursday, June 24th, 2010 at 9:38 am and is filed under about cross-culture, General, other interesting stuff . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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