Reynold Ruslan Feldman, Ph.D. - Author, Editor, Nonprofit Consultant, Wisdom Coach

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Flagging Enthusiasm

It must be an allergy. Yet for whatever reason I have difficulty seeing national flags on cars, tee-shirts, hats, lapel pins, running shoes, even flagpoles. This goes for the Red-White-and-Blue, our Grand Old Flag. While helping to unite smaller entities, states or provinces, nationalism often does so at the expense of the larger whole. People wrap themselves in their country’s flags before going off and killing, or being killed by, other people wrapped in their country’s flags. Children get bombed and women raped with the justification that they live under the wrong flag, that of the enemy. Similarly, every nation seems to believe that God is on their side, whether my ancestors, the followers of Moses, as they conquered and despoiled the ancient land and peoples of Palestine, or the Kaiser’s minions in World War I, with their motto “Gott mit Uns!” [“God with us!"]. When indeed will we ever learn? As if a Creator God would want one of His/Her children killing another in the name of Divinity. Isn’t that the point of the Genesis story of Cain and Abel? Okay, so there are a few flags I don’t mind seeing, in part because I see them so rarely: The Earth flag, the Rainbow Coalition Flag, the U.N. Flag. In fact, I wouldn’t mind seeing a Galactic Flag, a God’s Eye Flag, or even a Big-Bang Flag. Let’s band together under symbols that are as inclusive as possible, celebrating Reality from the perspective of the Almighty rather than the Almighty Ego. Patriotism, Dr. Johnson rightly observed a quarter of a millennium ago, is the last refuge of the scoundrel. The Universe deserves better of us than our being all-too-human. Isn’t it time we strive to become truly and fully human—the sort of people who know that all God’s chillen got wings and then act accordingly?  

12 Comments to Flagging Enthusiasm:

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Amalia R on Wednesday, April 13, 2011 10:54 AM
Hear! Hear! In my case I wouldn't know which flag to wave other than some of those you suggest. Only once, last year, I allowed my cheek to be decorated by a waitress, with a spanish flag makeup stick while watching the world cup (football) sitting in the terrace of a café in Spain... where Spain won and we enjoyed the joyous occasion in a positive spirit of sport where it's all about (with a few exceptions) bringing out the best in a nation.
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Simon Dick on Wednesday, April 13, 2011 11:35 AM
But you forget that….. there is the human element of being part of a group. We humans look for inclusion; we are part of family (large and small), part a continent, part of a country, part of a culture, part of a team, part of a belief system (political or religious or a mystic experience)…that’s how humans are, we band together for similarities, for strength, for solace for intimacy and sometimes for protection.; Animals of all stripe band together for all those reasons and so to expect that we can shed that instinct and that cultural format of this world is not a reasonable expectation,… its like wanting to learn how to fly when we aren’t made for flying… we can invent artificial means of flying but we, who are not built to move by other means cannot fly. The Cain and Able story also tells us that conflict does arise and we must find ways of not shedding blood over the argument. So, yes, we can build organizations that engender harmony among and between diverse people and groups but to expect to take down all the group boundries, ain’t going to happen, cause we ain’,t from the beginning, built that way.
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Reynold Ruslan on Wednesday, April 13, 2011 1:31 PM
Thanks for your response, Simon. I take your point about inclusion. I accept that and am simply asking that we become more inclusive and less exclusive. You are also right that nature, not just nurture, needs to be considered. We all have reptilian brains as well as other, later, larger, more advanced versions. So, we can be more bestial and less angelic and vice versa. In Deuteronomy, God tells Moses and Aaron on various occasions, "I have put before you life and death, the blessing and the curse, choose therefore life. . . ." Apparently we do have behavioral choices as to whether to choose to be more or less inclusive, more on the side of life as against death, more like those ready to stone the woman caught in adultery or like Jesus, who told them that the sinless among them should cast the first stone, and they all went away. Then Jesus forgave the woman and told her to sin no more.

Reynold Ruslan on Thursday, April 14, 2011 11:35 AM
This just in from a reader in Indonesian Borneo, a very apt quotation from Albert Einstein: "Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind." May we one day find a cure! With thanks to Karim MacDonald, head of the BCU School in Rungan Sari, Central Kalimantan, Indonesia, Aloha and salam, Reynold Ruslan
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Elisabeth Smith on Tuesday, April 19, 2011 9:11 AM
I could not agree more with your article about the "Flagging Enthusiasm" . Being whole and inclusive promotes peace and harmony and that is what ultimately everyone seeks and wants. It is so near and yet so far.
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This goes for the Red-White-and-Blue, our Grand Old Flag.
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