Passionate sentiment for community-belonging and patriotism belies unquestioned conformism. This passion sells and affects through conditioned absorption of opinions and biases presented to you. The feeling persists across the military, Taliban, Antifa, and Lakers’ fans.
Nationalistic or tribalistic belonging can be a rewarding feeling if your happiness is contingent on other people in your group. That’s why you choose to fight your country’s war or paint your body the colours of your favourite football team.
Sacrificing yourself for your country’s military and political battles is selfless and irrational. It stems from a desire to make a difference for your community — to protect it perhaps because you want to be appreciated by your community. If you fight or die in war, you’ve shown how virtuous you are.
Many men are manipulated into the military, ask Singapore, South Korea, or Israel. An essential aspect of self-actualization is picking your battles. You’re compromising on your individuality by letting someone pick them for you. Patriotism is often a nation’s imposition of civic expectations.
Nationalistic ideals superimpose on individual ideals. Patriotism often promotes positive nationalistic ideals of liberty, freedom, equality, loyalty, and prosperity. “Liberty and equality are what it means to be American” may be true but it’s more accurate to state “Liberty and equality are what it means to be you.” You don’t need to be a patriot to have these ideals.
Peace and order are, in many cases, consequences of patriotism-fuelled wars. Sharing values with people promotes social cohesion and prosocial behaviour. Patriotism often nurtures acceptance, compassion, and equality. Humanism does the same without the arbitrary grouping and disproportionate allegiances that come with countries and groups.
You are fooled into belonging to a group you haven’t defined or you’re born or convened into. Why do you feel you belong to an arbitrarily demarcated group but not others? Because you want hence choose to. The other options are being alone or finding a new group to accept you. Patriotism is practical.
You’re accepting values and beliefs that come with the group with little questioning. You may be deceived into thinking that what’s best for your group is always best for you. Your futile ego gets so intertwined with that of the group, your group’s opinions become yours. You seek validation and attention from group-mates. Disentangling invites disagreements. This is a hurdle in self-maximization, independent thinking, consciousness-liberation, and the fuller realization of individuality, a personalized construction.
Realize you know little and always think with biases and limited knowledge. Paradoxical ideals can often guide life.