End Your Illusion

Nationalism is sophisticated tribalism. The same ingredients are always present amongst two foes: Pride, tradition, attitude of superiority, patriotism, national security, military buildup, defensiveness, armed borders, enemies real and imagined. One nation’s particular mix of these ingredients will be different from another’s.

People would like to believe that there is a big difference between nice nationalism (our kind) and nasty nationalism (their kind), but the disease itself is the real problem.

Albert Einstein said, “Nationalism is an infantile disease. It’s the measles of humanity.” You and I must keep in mind that even without cynicism, nationalism is a false way to view reality, and breaking through its illusions is crucial to the way of peace.

The illusion is that nationalism helps to free people. The reality is that nationalism is now the same as militarism.

The illusion is that other nations are inferior, misguided, and wrong in their ways. The reality is that every nation struggles with inner conflicts.

The illusion is that God favors one country and supports its destiny. The reality is that God has never expressed an opinion about any nation, and never will.

The illusion is that national boundaries make us secure. The reality is that we live in an open world where boundaries mean less and less.

The illusion is that your country defines who you are. The reality is that finding out who you are requires self-searching and self-knowledge.

Each of these pairs shows a way for consciousness to grow by facing reality. Every illusion was once true, or at least had the weight of truth on its side. But consciousness is always on the move. Liberating ideas change into shackles unless we change them.

Adapted from Peace Is the Way, by Deepak Chopra (Harmony Books, 2005).


Anne Woods
Anne Woods4 years ago

always look on the bright side, nuf said

Elena T.
Elena Poensgen4 years ago

Thank you :)

Mari Garcia
Mari Garcia5 years ago

For once you wrote something that makes sense.

Zee Kallah
Helen Porter5 years ago

But I like my illusion.

End your own illusion if you choose, or create an illusion you like better.

My illusion keeps miracles flowing through my life. Yep, miracles that
others can see and be aware of and remark on.

I like it like that.


Mary L.
Mary L5 years ago

Careful the one world is a conspiracy nuts land of milk and honey.

Milan L.
Milan L5 years ago

Re: Jean W. - I am very much in agreement except for one little thing ... Call it "nitpicking" but - we do not create resources, either individually or in cooperation with others. Resources are there ( or are NOT ). Therefore I would have inserted a few words to read: " Cooperation to produce greater WEALTH FROM AVAILABLE resources rather than competition for existing resources ... "

Come to think of it - There is a second "nit" - Patriotism. While it is rather high on my List of Virtues what I feel for many of my compatriots is just the opposite of Love. But I do love the Country I was born in and grew up in . I love all that it represents for me. Warts and All! And - as I recently wrote in another of my humble comments - loving your own does not mean hating anothers. Quite the opposite: through respecting and loving your own Heritage, your own Country, can you learn to appreciate , respect and love other parts of this beautiful precious world of ours.

Jean Wall
Jean Wall5 years ago

love of some unreal hyper-idealized notion, it is ripe for exploitation. When it remains grounded in the reality of another human being, even if that human being does not particularly inspire love,
then you have the makings of a more sound culture.

" Humanity, I love you
For you are forever taking the secret to life,
Putting it in your pants and forgetting it's there,
And sitting down on it."
e.e. cummings

Jean Wall
Jean Wall5 years ago

We as humans, individually & collectively must contend with a swirling tide of internal impulses that arise from our most primitive, instinctual core. These are not merely habits of mind, they are not conditioned in by culture, they are the foundational mechanisms of survival and they are part and parcel of our make up.We cannot be rid of them.They are a vestigal organ like an appendix, their function has been superseded , but they remain hidden, relatively unproblematic until... An unflinching read of human history and psychology shows that violence has been the primary survival mechanism. The idea that we "prefer peace" is incomplete. We prefer survival. If peace secures that, we do peace. If violence secures that, we do violence. Culture, which is inclusive of nationalism, can act to dissipate the need to resort to violence to survive. Cooperation to produce greater resources rather than competition for existing resources (agrarian vs. hunter/gatherer culture) produced more sustainable lifestyle for larger numbers of people and agriculture remains the underpinning of a functional modern society. Unfortunately, the "vestigal organ" can be easily irritated . Any intrusion on our peace, whether geopolitical or egoic (the 'nation of one") can elicit an over wrought response as though it were an existential threat.Canny politicians and despots know implicitly how to exploit this.Love of country is love of countrymen. When 'patriotism' becomes love of some unreal ,hyper-idea

Ken W.
Ken W5 years ago

To End the Illusion you must end the gop !!!!

macarena rivera
mac riv5 years ago

thank you for the article.