On Being A Global Citizen

I recently read an article from Tristan Jakob-Hoff titled “On Being A Citizen from Nowhere“.  While it’s focus was on the Brexit and the current political climate in the UK – one of bigotry and xenophobia, seemingly – it made me think about my status in the world.

Having lived in over a dozen countries, being Canadian born and migrating to New Zealand in my teens, I often pondered about my place – our place – in this somewhat bizarre system of Nation States.

Have you ever wondered?

I mean, does is seem strange to you that we identify ourselves as where we were born?  We identify ourselves with a group of people based in the same geographic location?  We then use these arbitrarily drawn lines on a map to dictate the lives of our neighbours, other human beings, by what they can and can do.   Where they can and can’t travel.  How they conduct their business and how much of their earnings they must pay to an agreed institution, with an agreed expenditure.  How indebted you are, collectively, from the spending choices of your distant (and not so distant) predecessors.  Do you ever think about that?

I know I do.  I remember being a teenager and thinking how strange it was that we as a species have come so far, yet struggle with the most basic of concepts – self-governance.  Whether by design, or by default, we’ve evolved our systems to this Nation State concept in the 1800’s, in large part thanks to the French and American Revolutions.  We haven’t moved from them since.

We all share an innate human core

The more I travel, the more I realise that humans aren’t all that different.  By and large, we’re an optimistic species.  We want the best for our families.  We care about the people around us.  We’re nurturing to our children.  We care for our parents.  We all have our passions that we live for – whether we’re lucky enough for these to be our vocation or not, we all have dreams, hobbies and passions that give us purpose.  This is nearly universal in our species.

These fundamentals haven’t changed too much over the past 100,000 years of human evolution.  However, what has changed, exponentially so, is our social structures.  Our technologies.  Almost everything around the core of what I would argue is the crux of being human.

Think about how much has changed in the past 200 years.  We’ve gone from Monarchies to Nation States.  We’ve seen the emergence of democracy, communism, socialism and most recently, oligarchies (shout out to Uncle Tom and his billionaire buddies).  Technology has exploded exponentially to democratise, demonetise and equalise our social class stratosphere.  We have gone from telegrams to iPhones, from carrier pigeons to Facebook Chat, from muskets to automatic weapons, from disease and shorter lifespans to the safest, healthiest standard of living we’ve experienced in human history.  Collectively, we have done some pretty amazing shit!

I would make the bold statement that humans have collectively been working towards an existence where we no longer have to toil and slave in mediocre lives so that we individually can focus on our passions.  Our families, our hobbies, our education, our philosophies – our vocations of choice.

Never so far, never so close

We’ve come such a long way, seriously, high five fellow human!  We are an awesome bunch of people, when you look at it.  Sure, we’re still figuring things out – how to be in balance with nature, how to exist in equality with each other, how to truly democratise our social structures.  We’ve come so far.  We are closer than ever to completely automating our entire way of life and freeing up the entire world to pursuing a life of true meaning.  Yet, we seem to be stuck in old ways and focused on all the wrong areas – is that intentional?  I think it could be.

What’s holding us back?

Let’s imagine a scenario together.  Let’s imagine you’re an incredibly wealthy person, with hands in almost all industries and a firm level of control in the global economy.  You have the best team of people around you – the smartest, best educated and skilled people on the planet – advising you on the future of these industries you control.

You’ve been given a report that says in the next 20 – 40 years, technology will make working obsolete, allow every human need to be fully provided for and to allow us all to live in harmony with nature and each other.  This same report says this technology will completely replace our economic structures and eliminate the need for trade, money and corporations.  This is everything you have worked to create for yourself and your family.  This technology threatens your very existence!  What do you do?

Well, this is the situation our global elite are in right now.  They have all the right connections, the wealth and control to choose how this scenario plays out.  Trust me, they will not allow that to happen without a fight.  Power corrupts, when you have security, wealth and power, I imagine you would not be willing to give that up in a hurry.

So the tactic that they are using, in my mind, is divide and conquer.  It has worked for the Romans, why not use it today?  Then it’s distract and provide misinformation.  When you control the media, this isn’t hard either.

Moving forward, together

Whether you believe that we are being controlled by a strategy of divide and conquer or not, it doesn’t matter.  The point is, by focusing on what divides us we are holding ourselves back from our true collective potential.  We are delaying the inevidable; that we as a global species are moving towards an equalitarian society where technology allows us to have true democracy, abundance and equality we have never seen before.  It’s not an utopian dream, it’s a near reality.  It’s a cultivation of thousands of years of gradual improvements towards a contstantly improving structure of human existence.  How cool is that?

Any divisible factor works to our collective disadvantage.  If used as a tool for control, they can keep us in a state of fear, hate and division.  Race, religion, gender and nation state.  

I’m not for a second stating that there is a group of individuals using these to illicit control and domination for a new world order.  The jury is still out on that one.  What I will say, is that these divisible barriers do not serve us.  Not one bit.  At our core, we all want the same things.  To focus on our passions, our families and make a better world for our children.  That is our underlying and unifying principle.

So let’s start asking more questions, together

The best way to deconstruct a dividing barrier is to question it’s existence.  To start a conversation about it and to deconstruct it in the mind, then by action.  Questions I’ve pondered are:

Why am I still labelled by my Country of birth, when I associate more with being a human being that’s part of our collective species?  

Why do we continue to keep up these walls of nation-state, when these rules only apply to restrict human beings, not corporations?  

Why are our ruling class so against immigration?  

Why do we not have a digital form of government yet?  

Why can’t I vote on every bill passed through my government?  

Why aren’t there more players for international government than the corporate class?  

Why aren’t we more active on the global, national and local levels?  

Why are all “democratic” nations around the world becoming more like propagandising police states?

When so much has changed since the 1800’s, why do we still cling on to these “walls” that only exist in paper and in our minds?  When are we going to realise that we’re all in this together?  Perhaps more of us need to travel and see just how similar we are, not despite our differences.  We are all citizens of a geological resemblance; this fragile little space rock we call earth.

So let me say it proudly: I am a citizen of the world.  

Our societies have changed!  My generation are bouncing around from Country to Country like never before.  We associate more with each other – fellow human beings wanting to make a life for ourselves – than the politicians back home.  Well, except for Justin Trudeau, he’s amazing.  We are passionate about our communities, our societies and our fellow humans.  We want to be involved in the decisions being made for us.  The fact is, often we can’t.

The only constant is change

The world is changing so rapidly in almost all areas.  With that in mind, it’s a much crazier idea to think our governments, our structures of governance, will never change.  We collectively give government a permanence it doesn’t deserve.  It’s an illusion folks, it’s a social structure our forefathers agreed to that we were born into.  Just like our Countries.

We forget that all of our systems were made and created by someone – by us.  Nothing is permanent.  We as a society should be working together.  We should have a direct say in our lives, not as citizens of a country but of the world.

I am a citizen of the world.  You are too.  Let’s start thinking, discussing and acting together.  


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