It seems to me that the most common and difficult obstacle a free individual will encounter in conversations with members of the mob is the collectivist mass hallucination called nationalism. There are boundaries – in this case ideological boundaries – one must not cross in respectable society. Not if one wants to be considered a respectable human being. In respectable society, one is expected to be a “patriot“, to be a member of good standing of the nation you belong to, or that belongs to you.
It is impossible for the collectivist mind to comprehend that the idea that you can draw imaginary lines on maps and call the land within those imaginary boundaries “countries” is as absurd as the belief in unicorns or leprechauns, and a compassionate mind can certainly understand why and how this has happened. Having gone through the same meatgrinder as everyone else – state indoctrination, i.e. public school, raised by parents who bought into the illusion, addicted, for a good portion of my life, to establishment media and entertainment – I do not consider myself superior for having figured it all out. It hasn't been an easy journey and there is still much to unlearn.
For those of us who hate the State, I feel it is important for this distinction to be made: there is only one State. Failing to recognize this, typically when we criticize the American – as one for instance and the one I am most familiar with – brand of the State, we are often told to pack our bags. “If you don't like it here, leave!” The “here“ which they speak of simply does not exist. The tyranny we wish to escape from is not an entity or a thing; it has no concrete reality. It is but a mental abstraction, an idea – a bad idea: that nations can be created and that the people who happen to live there, usually by “virtue” of simply having been born there, must live according to its rules.
For if I leave “my country” and migrate to another, I am still ruled. I may be more or less free, relatively speaking, but I will not be free. But “my country” is an idea in my head. Even if, per my example, America existed as a concrete object, my sole and solitary attachment to it is, by pure, dumb chance, it was the place my mother happened to be when I slipped through her birth canal. From that perspective, the immigrants many “patriots” loathe have more claim to pride in their “country” than anyone else; they actually chose to live here.
In our tenure on this planet we've accumulated dangerous evolutionary baggage — propensities for aggression and ritual, submission to leaders, hostility to outsiders — all of which puts our survival in some doubt. But we've also acquired compassion for others, love for our children and desire to learn from history and experience, and a great soaring passionate intelligence — the clear tools for our continued survival and prosperity. Which aspects of our nature will prevail is uncertain, particularly when our visions and prospects are bound to one small part of the small planet Earth. But up there in the immensity of the Cosmos, an inescapable perspective awaits us. There are not yet any obvious signs of extraterrestrial intelligence and this makes us wonder whether civilizations like ours always rush implacably, headlong, toward self-destruction. National boundaries are not evident when we view the Earth from space. Fanatical ethnic or religious or national chauvinisms are a little difficult to maintain when we see our planet as a fragile blue crescent fading to become an inconspicuous point of light against the bastion and citadel of the stars.
– Carl Sagan
Borders are not seen when Earth is viewed from space. They do not exist. They are a collectivist abstraction. And they are the root of much of the violence and scarcity (which drives much of the violence) in this world. The nationalistic ideology states that the people on one side of an imaginary line on the map are more important than those living on the other side of that line; their lives are more valuable. Oft times, they are seen as more human. Which side is the correct side varies according to which side of the line the person you're asking lives on. To the nationalist, there is nothing insane about this. Not even when men kill because of it. Of course, little if any energy is expended on the moral or intellectual value of this idea.
The time has come – and of course, this is already happening, and this is my contribution – for all men of conscience and sanity to reject notions of patriotism. The word is absolutely abhorrent to me. I belong to no country, and no country belongs to me. I swear no allegiance to country, or to any piece of colored rag commonly referred to as “the Flag”. As Thomas Paine correctly noted, my country is the world, and all Mankind are my brethren. I deem you free and equal to do what you will, so long as you reserve for me that same right.
When you call yourself an Indian or a Muslim or a Christian or a European, or anything else, you are being violent. Do you see why it is violent? Because you are separating yourself from the rest of mankind. When you separate yourself by belief, by nationality, by tradition, it breeds violence. So a man who is seeking to understand violence does not belong to any country, to any religion, to any political party or partial system; he is concerned with the total understanding of mankind.
– Jiddu Krishnamurti
It does not matter to me that others do not share my worldview. It does not matter that others see me as an American, and view me as their enemy because of it. If such a view should lead to my untimely death, I accept that. Take the first step. If you say, I can't, because “other people”, change will never happen. If you are waiting for some prerequisite before you can choose peace, no one will choose peace. At some point, people are going to have to forgive transgressions, and stop seeking retribution and reciprocity. That cycle is infinite. That cycle is based on the delusion that people of one nationality or religion or ideology committed a transgression against people of another group; these separations do not exist in reality. They are of the mind (this cannot be repeated enough).
The fundamental problem does not reside in any set of buildings, or any group of politicians, or any gang of soldiers or enforcers, The fundamental problem is not an organization that can be voted out, or overthrown, or “reformed.” The fundamental problem is the belief itself – the delusion, superstition and myth of “authority” – which resides in the minds of several billion human beings, including those who have suffered the most because of that belief.
Instead of fighting against a non-existent beast, what “freedom fighters” need to do is to recognize that it is not real, that it does not exist, that it cannot exist, and then act accordingly. Of course, if only a few people overcome the superstition, they will likely be ridiculed, condemned, attacked, imprisoned or murdered by those who are still firm believers in the myth, But when even a significant minority of people outgrow the superstition, and change their behavior accordingly, the world will drastically change. When the people actually want true freedom, they will achieve it without the need for any election or revolution.
– Larken Rose
This is a philosophical concept, which we must spread through education and enlightenment on a global scale. Many might agree that the world would be better off without nations, but assume that by abandoning the notion of nationalism, they would be left in a void surrounded by the enemies who still wish to conquer our land, kill its people and plunder its wealth. We must be careful not to suggest that, say, America should be abandoned as an idea, while the governments and nations of the rest of the world still exist, who many assume would simply fill that void by invading. Never mind that a land crawling with armed and empowered individuals could never be conquered – and no invader would dare try. The philosophy should be spread that the State, as a singular global concept, should be abandoned, that individuals must come into their own power and, rather than fight and defeat the State, simply turn their backs to it, and refuse to give it any intellectual authority over them again. For it is only the idea of the State, not the State as an actual thing, which doesn't exist, which is our enemy; the idea that men can put on costumes and assume control over the lives of others, the idea among the masses that this is a good and necessary thing.
As the State absorbs more power and control, as it ruins the wealth of the planet and creates more scarcity, thus perpetuating its justification for absorbing ever more power and control, the likelihood that this insanity will lead to the demise of civilization increases. Who can deny this? The individual must recognize his or her own contribution to this insanity, and decide whether to evolve and grow, or to continue polishing the brass on a sinking ship. As individuals, we may not live to see civilization's final demise, but we can choose to facilitate a future of freedom and prosperity, a future without the State. We may not see that event either, nor is our own liberation any guarantee for it, but that is not ultimately for us to concern ourselves with. We may destroy ourselves anyway, despite my best efforts. I accept that as well.