Socrates Café Dublin Message Board › Citizen of the world - valid choice or mere idealism?
We started with trying to define citizenship and distinguish it from nationality. What's easier to change? Is citizenship all about your legal status while your nationality describes your feelings of belonging and association with a certain group? Is it about territory or community?
If someone thinks of themselves 'I'm a citizen of the world,' does it sound selfish, or can it be an expression of caring about what's happening to less lucky people living in a remote corner of the globe?
And can anyone aspire to feel a citizen of the world or is it merely a western utopia, a domain of wealthy, a little bored lucky folk? We agreed that it's not necessarily so. It's less a matter of money and more a question of AWARENESS. And awareness is something that can be spread - by bold international organizations, like Amnesty International, by good education, even by free communication, powered by electronic media, which took over a role once played by local libraries. Awareness can travel the better the more OPEN MINDED people are or want to become.
I was wondering how that notion of world citizenship depends on political views, and our group leaned towards a conclusion that there is no clear correlation between being 'leftist' or 'rightist' and being able to think globally. Some of us even rejected the traditional division of political scene to left and right side as anachronistic, and not describing any more real dimensions of world views.
How about such factors like religion or spirituality? Do they support or hinder this idea? They may support. But secular humanism or materialism can as well! It was quite a discovery to find out that so fundamentally opposite stances can share this idea of feeling responsible for and interested in the whole planet rather than only one's own town or country.
This idea doesn't collide with patriotism. It doesn't allow though to use patriotism as a bludgeon. I like to think that it's about assuming certain priorities. Socrates famously said "I am not an Athenian, or a Greek, but a citizen of the world". Saying this he was putting things in perspective, not understood nor appreciated by some people. Seeing the big picture doesn't blur the detail but it allows to focus on the RIGHT detail with greater confidence.