04 July 2010


For many years I've thought about the evolution of human social groups -- from primitive nuclear family to extended clan, from tribe to city-state to nation. With each progressive step to a more complex level of organization (with attendant new rituals, laws and customs), all the preceding steps kept their integrity. Living in a certain town does not detract from my status as a family member. Being a resident of Montana does not mean I've sacrificed my identification with home town or family. And so on ....

Which begs the question, what is the next step in our progress? The United Nations came into being as an assembly of nations in 1946, yet it is not an over-arching governmening body in the sense that federal, state and local governments are. The UN has only limited powers for passing international laws, and for enforcing those resolutions. What would it be like to consider oneself a citizen of the world?

I've seen myself in that way for a long time, in this sense -- where war, slavery, famine, genocide, fear or poverty exist in the world, I do not consider myself to be entirely free. I yearn for that freedom, for myself and for everyone on the planet.

Today is July 4th, when the US celebrates its independence as a nation. Wouldn't it be an amazing feat if we were able to celebrate our independence as a global community? Howard Zinn, historian and human rights activist, makes a similar point in his eloquent article Put Away the Flags. So many people resist making that next logical step to a worldwide community, fearing that they will somehow lose their local, regional or national identity. But that fear is a fallacy. Our rich mosaic of cultures and ideas would remain intact, just as they do in the variety of cultures and ideas within the US. Even better, we would be in a position to learn so much from those of other lands, and to teach them as well.

John Lennon was thinking in a similar vein when, in his song Imagine, he wrote:

"Imagine there's no country
It isn't hard to do,
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too.
Imagine all the people living life in peace.
You may say I'm a dreamer,
But I'm not the only one.
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one."

At the top of this post, you will see one possible flag representing a world community. Here is another. I hope someday you'll join us .....

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